A new standard-bearer
could have taken advantage of the same pretexts used
by those who very quickly decided to plead guilty
and cooperate with authorities. After long years of
separation, he finally had Olga and Irmita at his
side, and was able to enjoy the newborn Ivette for
barely four months. What to do? Hold firm to his
principles, leaving the three of them alone in a
foreign country and once again confront years of
separation? Or ‘negotiate’ and give them what they
asked in exchange for a pardon and a new life? There
was never the slightest doubt in his mind, nor the
slightest vacillation in his conduct.
prosecution lawyers knew that they had very little
against him, and tried to get him out of the way
with offers. It pained them that he sung “El Necio”
[The Fool, Silvio Rodríguez] to them and they vented
their anger on him. Nobody saw him weep when they
separated Olga from the girls and threw her in a
cell. He would have done it in silence, as we all
did out of indignation and pain when the news hit
us, but we never noticed in him the least weakening.
He served every day of his sentence with dignity and
came out with his head held as high as when he went
in, but would still have to suffer alone the loss of
his brother and his father.
Today we heard that René is in Cuba, to stay. Today,
each one of the Five is somehow freer. Part of us is
walking through the streets of the island, and we
can almost breathe its air, burn ourselves with its
Somebody has asked me what we will say now that we
are not five, but four!
are five and will continue being five!
today we must continue the struggle it is not only
for the other four, it is also for René, because we
know each other and know that he will not really be
free until we are all back in the homeland. The
difference is that this battle, which will be for
the Five to the end, now has a new standard-bearer.
Congratulations René! Your four brothers are
celebrating with you, with pride!
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo
Victorville Penitentiary, California
May 3, 2013