Fill Cuba with
yellow ribbons on September 12
• Address by René
González, anti-terrorist fighter and Hero of the
Republic of Cuba, on Cuban television, September 3,
• Dear compatriots,
FIRST of all, please excuse me for
interrupting at this moment. I know what this space
means to Cuban families and I promise to be brief,
but it is important that this message reach the
largest audience possible.
we know, this September 12 is the 15th anniversary
of our arrest. Every year, there is a national and
international demand that justice be done in our
case, but we want this year’s event – from September
5 through October 6 – to be a unique event, a
special one, led by you.
Fifteen years in the life of a human
being is a lot of time. Children grow, become adults,
adolescents; family members die and are no longer
with us; and part of the Cuban population has been
born during these 15 years.
I completed my sentence in full, but
we must prevent that happening to my four brothers,
given what that implies. Although it is hard to say,
we must remember that for Gerardo [Hernández], this
implies that if the designs of the United States
government are fulfilled, he will die in prison.
Over these years, the affection of
the Cuban people has played a leading role. This
affection has been expressed in all possible ways:
in letters, messages, in children’s drawings, and
this affection is what we want as protagonist in the
I have had occasion to feel it, to
live it, to palpably feel it, to experience in it
the streets of Cuba in all possible forms and at all
geographical points on the island, and this is the
affection that we are asking you to display on this
occasion, wherever you do it and in the manner you
choose, with all the diversity that characterizes us
as Cubans, and in the best way that each one of you
thinks it can be displayed, in your classroom, in
your workplace, in your neighborhood, in your
Initiatives being planned for the
day will be announced, but we believe that the most
important thing is that each of you join in these
initiatives in your own way, in the manner you
consider most appropriate.
I have only one personal appeal for
the people, which requires a story. This September
12, I would like an earthquake to happen in the
country, a beautiful earthquake, an earthquake of
love, a message from the Cuban people to the
American people via a symbol which, in the U.S.
environment, is a symbol of love, a symbol of
affection, and a symbol that they can understand in
their own language; and this symbol is a yellow
On September 12, I want this country
to be filled with yellow ribbons, so that visitors
and foreign correspondents in the country cannot
ignore them. That on this day, Cuba is shaken and
yellow ribbons appear on trees, balconies, on people,
however it occurs to anyone to use them, on pets, as
you decide, but that these yellow ribbons fill the
country and cannot be ignored, that it cannot fail
to be reported in the world that the Cuban people
are waiting for four of their sons who are prisoners
in the United States.
The yellow ribbon is a symbol which
has entered into U.S. culture, one which began
during the War of Independence when wives of those
fighting waited for them with yellow ribbons.
Then it was transmitted to the
American Civil War and over time, with ups and downs,
has gradually changed its meaning until, in the 70’s
of the last century, a song which became a landmark
once again, placed it within American culture.
The song is a beautiful story of a
prisoner who is about to leave prison and the only
thing he asks of his sweetheart, is that, if she
still loves him, to tie an yellow ribbon around a
tree. Through the words, the song’s lyrics, one sees
the growing anxiety of this man who is going to
leave prison and must wait to see if the yellow
ribbon is tied around the tree. When he reaches the
place, what he sees on the tree are 100 yellow
From that time on, this ribbon has
become a symbol for Americans waiting for someone on
a mission abroad, waiting for a soldier, waiting for
a loved one, and this is the message which we want
to send to the American people: so that they know
that the Cuban people are waiting for four of their
sons unjustly incarcerated in the United States.
We are counting on you for this, we
have confidence in you. We want this to be a
different event and we want it to be the last event.
I believe this is the moment to bring them home and
for that, we are counting on your support.
Thank you very much.