Five Cuban men are in U.S. jails, three of them for the rest of their lives. Their “crime” was defending their country from terrorism by monitoring the activities of violent, right-wing, anti-Cuba groups based in Miami.

The Cuban Five have been kept from home and family. Their spouses and other family members have been denied visas to visit them. Five years of jail and abuse have gone by, but their spirits remain unbroken.

Send them your greetings over the holidays. Michael, a neighbor of mine here in rural Maine, has been writing to them regularly and says the following:

“For almost two years I have been writing to the five Cuban heroes, and my life has changed. I urge others to write them, especially now when holidays are here and families are together.

“A seemingly insignificant act, writing letters, has brought about long sought after rewards — rewards in patience, tolerance, solidarity, friendship, compassion, learning, living, understanding, humility, and love. The simple act of writing to the five Cuban Heroes has given me all this and more.

“In the beginning, I sent a card to each one of them in solidarity. They responded with letters, pictures, and hope.

“So give it a try. Go back to a time in your life when something other than instant gratification was the norm, when anticipation and waiting had meaning. Make that time now. Don’t wait until there’s no one around to speak for you.”

Here are the prisoners’ addresses:

René González, Reg. #58738-004, FCI Edgefield, PO Box 725, Edgefield SC 29824.

Gerardo Hernández #58739-004, USP Victorville, PO Box 5500, Adelanto CA 92301.

Antonio Guerrero, #58741-004, USP Florence, PO Box 7500, Florence CO 81226.

[For Ramón Labañino] Luis Medina, #58734-004, USP Beaumont, PO Box 26035, Beaumont TX 77720-6035.

[For Fernando González] Ruben Campa #58733-004, FCI Oxford, PO Box 500, Oxford WI 53952-0500.