The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five put out an urgent appeal Nov. 6 for action to secure visiting rights for the family members of the five Cuban men unjustly sentenced to long terms in U.S. jails. The committee, based in San Francisco, has been organizing a nationwide struggle on behalf of the prisoners, who were arrested for trying to foil terrorist attacks on Cuba emanating from Miami.

The U.S. government has several times denied entry to Olga Salanueva, wife of René González, and Adriana Pérez, wife of Gerardo Hernández. Olga and René have a 6-year-old daughter, Isette, who is a U.S. citizen. René has seen neither wife nor daughter for almost five years. Adriana has been kept away from Gerardo for more than six years.

Mirta Rodríguez, mother of Antonio Guerrero, last visited her son in November 2003. Rosa Aurora Freijanes, wife of Fernando González, has seen her husband three times during six years of imprisonment. Ramón Labañino’s wife and three children have visited him four times in the past six years.

Attorney General John Ashcroft has the authority to grant entry visas to Olga Salanueva and Adriana Pérez, as well as to facilitate visas for the other family members. The Free the Five Committee is asking supporters to fax or e-mail letters to Ashcroft (fax: 202-307-6777, e-mail:, calling upon him to act.

The committee is calling for delegations to congresspersons, urging them to sign a letter to Ashcroft in support of the families’ visiting rights, and asks that organizers keep it informed about upcoming visits. For more information, visit

— W.T. Whitney Jr.