Cuban Five call for end to trade embargo by US

Updated: 2015-06-24 09:02


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CAPE TOWN - Five Cuban intelligence officers, known as Cuban Five, on Tuesday called for an end to the trade embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba.

During a visit to the South African Parliament, the Cuban Five voiced hope that relations with the US will become better and that the trade embargo would one day be done away with.

The Cuban Five refers to Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez. The five agents, all members of the Cuban Communist Party, were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in September 1998, and later convicted in the United States of conspiracy to commit espionage conspiracy to commit murder acting as an agent of a foreign government and other illegal activities in the US.

Cuba has described them as "The Five Heroes" and unleashed an international campaign to push for their release since their arrest.

Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez were freed in 2011 and 2014 after serving about 13 years and more than 15 years behind bars, respectively.

The remaining three were released late last year after Havana and Washington had agreed to restore diplomatic relations, in a move to end more than half a century of estrangement between the two countries.

The Cuban Five delegation is on a two-week visit to South Africa in part to thank the country for the role it played in pledging solidarity with them while they were in prison in the US.

The delegation received a warm welcome in South Africa which has maintained good relations with Cuba. The two countries have supported each other on the international arena.