Washington Admits that US Officials Hindered Consular Visit to Gerardo Hernandez
July, 16 2012
Havana, Cuba, Jul 16.- The US administration admitted the obstacles imposed by its officials, which did not allow a consular visit scheduled for Gerardo Hernandez, one of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters held in the United States since 1998.
US Department of State’s spokesperson William Ostick said the situation occurred last July 7 was the result of an “administrative mistake.” Cuban diplomats from the island’s interest section were not allowed to visit Hernandez at the Victorville penitentiary center, in California, under supposed argument that the memorandum of the Chief of the penitentiary, authorizing their entrance to the prison, was not available at the reception desk.
The Cuban diplomats had the federal authorization to visit Gerardo, imprisoned since 1998 along his countrymen Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino and Fernando Gonzalez for having prevented terrorist actions against Cuba by Florida-based violent groups.
Rene Gonzalez was released from prison in 2011 after he met his 12-year sentence; however he has been forced to stay in US territory for a three-year probation. The other four anti-terrorists are still imprisoned in US jails.
Ostick told reporters that his office will take measures to rectify the situation and considered it unfortunate the fact that the Cuban diplomats were not able to make the visit as expected.
Cuba’s Foreign Ministry considered the incident as a new arbitrary act by US authorities aimed hindering the legal process of Gerardo Hernandez and deprive him of the few rights he has as a prisoner.
“Interesting enough in this incident is the fact that parallel to the proceedings by the Cuban Interest Section in Washington to get the authorization for the visit, Gerardo himself had confirmed with the US authorities at the prison that everything was appropriately settled,” said the Cuban Foreign Ministry.
The Ministry said “that last July 9th, lawyer Martin Garbus, member of Gerardo´s defense team, who had scheduled a legal visit to review, together with Gerardo, the documentation related to the current collateral process of appeal, was not able to do it with the same pretext that the memorandum of authorization of the chief of prison was not at the reception desk.”
Garbus could finally visit Gerardo, thanks to the fact that his name was on the visitor´s list; however, and given the conditions imposed to the type of visit he was authorized to, without a legal character, he could not bring in the documentation our Hero should read and sign, and neither met with him under the appropriate conditions,” the text pointed out. (Radio Cadena Agramonte).