In a statement released by the Foreign Ministry, the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, told his Cuban counterpart, Raúl Castro, of the joy the Venezuelan people felt for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, which had been broken for 53 years.
Maduro also celebrated the release of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero, three of the “Cuban five” who were unjustly imprisoned in the U.S. for stopping terrorists.
The remaining two had been previously released: René González Sehwerert on October 7, 2011, (with three years of probation) and Fernando González on February 27, 2014. They had spent 13 and 15 years in jail, respectively.
The following is an unofficial translation of the Foreign Ministry’s statement:
Office of Communication and Institutional Relations
Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs
Official Statement of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on the Reestablishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Cuba and the United States of America
The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, conversed with Cuban President and Commander in Chief Raúl Castro and spoke, on behalf of the Venezuelan people, of the great joy felt for the just liberation of the three Cuban heroes who had been illegally imprisoned in the United States, as well as for the new path being taken in relations between Cuba and the United States, which we hope will be based on mutual respect for sovereignty and the self-determination of peoples.
In that same vein, we recognize President Barack Obama’s courageous gesture; he has taken a historic step towards rectifying and normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba, acknowledging the failure of the criminal economic and trade embargo his country maintains against the Cuban people.
A reality check has shown the U.S. Government, which relies on unilateral sanctions, that these are nothing but obsolete weapons that do not resolve differences. In that regard, we express our hope that this new era brings a strengthening of dialogue and recognition of the rights of peoples to choose a future that is free, sovereign and independent, thereby avoiding new errors and future defeats.
Furthermore, all of the Venezuelan people recognize the bravery, the integrity and the loyalty of the Cuban people in defense of their sovereignty and Revolution. Commander Fidel Castro and President and Commander in Chief Raúl Castro deserve special recognition for their resolve in defense of Martí’s homeland.
Long live Cuba!
Long live Fidel!
Long live Raúl!
Caracas, December 17, 2014