The following is a letter from Maruchi Guerrero, Antonio Guerrero’s sister. We urge you to read it in its entirety. Let us commit ourselves ever more to fight for the Five’s immediate freedom. A letter from Antonio Guerrero’s sister Maruchi.
Dear friends of solidarity:
Once more we witnessed the risk that our Five unjustly-imprisoned brothers face in United States prisons.
My mother and I returned on Apr. 28 from Colorado, where we were for 21 days. We had plans to visit Tony in prison nine times, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, which are the visiting days in Florence U.S. Penitentiary, where he is imprisoned. Unfortunately, we were not able to make the planned visits because on Sun., Apr. 13, at about 12:30 pm, while we were visiting him, a very grave disturbance occurred which interrupted our visit and resulted in a lockdown.
While we were sitting in the visiting room, we thought we could hear a quick succession of gunshots and shouting. At that moment my mother was in the bathroom and my brother asked me not to tell her that we heard shots. The guard received a call and announced that the visits were terminated because of a disturbance in the prison. My mother returned and we gave her the news but right away we could hear many more shots. They told us not to move; it was aljost 3:00 in the afternoon when about 10 guards entered and ordered us to leave, three of them accompanying the families who visited.
Going through the door, outside the room we had to press against the wall to let guards pass by with stretchers. We realized it was a very grave situation.
Upon leaving the building, in the outside area there was an ambulance, emergency cars and many vehicles. There were perhaps more than 60 officials who responded to the emergency call.
We were barely able to say good-by to Tony, while he remained composed and asked us to be calm. He told us a lockdown was certain and we would lose communication with him. That is what happened.
On Monday, Univisión network gave the announcement that a serious incident occurred in the U.S. Florence Penitentiary, that two prisoners were killed and several were wounded by the guards’ shots. On Tuesday, The Gazette newspaper of Colorado published the news on the front page: more than 200 prisoners were involved in a fight; a group of them were celebrating the birthday of Adolf Hitler and other racial groups got into the fight, the article explained. Two prisoners were killed, five wounded and the prison was placed in lockdown for an indefinite period of time.
We were only consoled in knowing that at the time of the incident my brother was together with us in the visiting room, but we are much more aware of how much our five brothers risk their lives every day.
They are serving sentences in those prisons, never having harmed anyone, with unjust convictions on charges that were never proven, in a trial that was manipulated by the Cuban-American mafia interests, who are in turn supported by the U.S. government.
A similar situation occurred last January in Beaumont federal prison, where Ramón is imprisoned. His oldest daughter Aily had traveled there to visit him. Just days before she arrived, there was a fight that caused the death of two prisoners.
Aily remained in that city for 30 days according to the time allotted on her U.S. visa. She had to return without being able to visit her father because of the prolonged lockdown due to that grave disturbance. She was never able to communicate with him.
Ten years of prison and we are still waiting the decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Atlanta, in the third appeals process of this case. Yet, our brothers remain courageous, optimistic and full of dignity, using that time in other useful actions. They are dedicated to painting, reading, responding with letters to all their friends in diverse parts of the world, offering love to their mothers, children, wives and family members, and with the conviction that they are defending a just cause to prevent terrorism and death, and to guarantee a world of peace.
As difficult as it is for my mother to live these moments, she too is dignified and courageous, strengthened by the comfort and hope that her son gives her. But she is worried that, because of her age-76 years-she is also struggling against time, trying to stay well to see her noble and loving son return.
Friends of solidarity, it is already ten long years, you are our hope in assuring that the Five return to their homes.
*With all our affection and appreciation from the families of the Cuban Five,
Maruchi, sister of Antonio Guerrero*