Political Prisoners of the Empire  MIAMI 5     



Havana.  May 15, 2013

René no longer a U.S. citizen

Claudia Fonseca Sosa

SINCE Thursday, May 9 at 2:00pm, René González Sehwerert is "just a Cuban patriot." At that time, in Havana’s U.S. Interests Section (USIS), he received the document certifying his renunciation of U.S. citizenship, a procedure which will allow him to remain in Cuba.

René displays the loss of U.S. citizenship certificate at the International Press Center. (Photo: Juvenal Balán Neyra)

"Now I am simply a Cuban citizen, a Cuban patriot, something which, in any event, I have always been, without that implying any antagonism whatsoever toward the American people, toward the country in which I was born," the anti-terrorist fighter stated in a press conference, after displaying the certificate he had requested from the USIS on May 6, with his lawyer Philip Horowitz.

René explained that the request to renounce his U.S. citizenship had to be made outside U.S. territory and that he had previously lodged this petition, which had been rejected by the prosecution on the grounds of "lack of credibility." When he came to Havana on April 22, because of the death of his father, he lodged it again.

He noted that the process of applying for and receiving the certificate was characterized by "the cooperative attitude of both parties, but this does not mean that the petition has been granted as a humanitarian gesture, but that they had run out of excuses for denying it."

The next legal step is that René’s lawyer must present "a status report" to Judge Joan Lenard of the Southern District of Florida – the same judge who sentenced René to 15 years’ imprisonment in 2001 – and then wait for her to modify the conditions of his supervised release.

"However, I will not feel completely free until my four brothers are in our homeland with their families," he said, affirming that from now on he will devote himself to promoting the case. "I am in Cuba, but we are still the Five," he stated.

"I should like to reintegrate into society as a useful man and be part of the process of socioeconomic updating underway in the country," he added.

In response to a question on how he felt being back with his wife Olga Salanueva, his daughters and grandson, René affirmed, "Love conquers all," and that despite having lost important moments in his family life, little by little he will recover what was taken away from him.

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