Although the encounter had been months in the making, actor Danny Glover’s visit August 8 with Cuban Five Prisoner Gerardo Hernandez at the Victorville, California, maximum security federal prison came at just the right time. Gerardo, one of five Cuban men jailed for efforts in the late 1990’s to protect their homeland against U.S.- based terrorist attacks, had been released from a punishment cell – the so-called “hole” – on August 2. He had been there 13 days. His prison disciplinary record is spotless.
Danny Glover’s visit to a prisoner carrying two life sentences symbolized the high level of worldwide solidarity for Hernandez that observers say was instrumental in securing his exit from the ‘hole.” Additionally, by lending his prestige to the cause of alleviating Hernandez’ persecution – and to that of the Cuban Five – Danny Glover provided witness, this time unspoken, to injustice against Hernandez and the others.
Glover has in fact been far from silent, especially in regard to the U.S. government’s indecency and violation of human rights evident in preventing wives from visiting their husbands in jail. Gerardo’s wife Adriana Perez has not seen him for almost 12 years. Nor has Olga Salanueva been allowed to visit husband Rene Gonzalez. In March, Glover wrote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting that the wives receive visas so they could visit. Danny Glover speaks out clearly and strongly in recent YouTube readings accessible at these Internet sites:
Letter from Adriana to Gerardo, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwKnIglro6A
Letter from Gerardo to Adriana, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P78k8deuW4
“The Bird and the Prisoner,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYQ_Fk5s6Sc
A day after release from the “hole” Gerardo Hernandez spoke to the world:
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
I am dictating these words via telephone, which is why I must be brief and I will not be able to say everything I would have liked. Yesterday afternoon I was removed from “the hole” with the same speed in which I was thrown in. I had been taken there supposedly because I was under investigation. These investigations can take up to three months, sometimes more, but I was there 13 days. As a known Cuban journalist would say, “you can draw your own conclusions”.
I want to express to all of you my deep gratitude. You know that they were particularly difficult days due to the excessive heat and the lack of air, but you all were my oxygen. I can’t find a better way to summarize the enormous importance of your solidarity efforts.
Many thanks to all the compañeras and compañeros from Cuba and around the world, who joined their voices to condemn my situation. Thanks to the institutions, organizations and individuals of goodwill that in one way or another worked to bring an end to this injustice.
To our President Raúl, that so honors us with his support. To the Cuban National Assembly and its President Ricardo Alarcón, a tireless fighter for the cause of the Five. To my four brothers, who sent me messages of encouragement, and who have also suffered and lived under constant risk of suffering similar abuses. And of course, to our dear Commander in Chief: Thank you for so much honor! (I don’t know if I should say it, but just the privilege of hearing my name in Fidel’s voice makes me feel like thanking those who put me in “the hole.”)
Thank you, Comandante, for the joy of hearing you and seeing you as great as ever!
Thanks to everyone for having demonstrated again the power of solidarity which, without a doubt, will one day make us free.
The struggle continues!
A big embrace,
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo