moment, still incomplete
• IN her dreams, Olga Salanueva had
written the script for the day. She simply wanted to
see her husband René step across the threshold of
the home she has been preparing for him on Cuban
soil, for more than 10 years. "The two of us share
the need to close the circle. Just as I imagined
when they first so cruelly took him, I needed to see
him come in the door, sit down along with the girls,
breath easy, say 'it's over' and go back to living."
"From that moment on," she said to
Granma, "we wanted to erase it all, there was
nothing to be gained from bitterness or hate."
But the scene was not to be. René
González was released October 7 from the Mariana
penitentiary in northern Florida and had to be
content to embrace his daughters, father and brother,
far from the rest of his family and his beloved
"He is enjoying the girls, above
all, as he has not been able to do for 13 years.
Being happy at a time like this is something he
deserves, although the feeling is incomplete," she
commented in a meeting with the press.
Although he is elated to breathe
freely after 13 years of imprisonment, René needs
Cuban air. "He wants to be here with all of his
family and his people. He is confident that, given
our efforts, the situation will not be prolonged
Over the next few days," she
explained, "they will have to inform him of the
specific conditions to which he will be subjected,
in addition to the general ones we know, such as
being prohibited from leaving U.S. territory or
going anywhere near 'places where individuals such
as terrorists are known to frequent.' At this point,
we don't have precise details about the limitations
he and the family will have to adapt to."
As for the possibility of a reunion
anytime soon with René, even within U.S. territory,
Olga affirmed that, although she had been declared
'ineligible' for a visa, she could be granted
special permission. "I have the right to be at my
husband's side, to at least visit him. This is
something they could easily grant, something that I
will not stop soliciting, this time of the State
Despite spending his last hours of
imprisonment in the 'hole' to remind him of the
price of his defiance, "René is in good health. Bad
news for those who hoped to destroy him and weren't
able to do so," Olga said.
Nevertheless, the threat to his life
remains very real, clearly evidenced by the
stipulation that he refrain from 'associating with
or visiting specific places where individuals or
groups such as terrorists, members of organizations
advocating violence or organized crime figures are
known to frequent.' Olga reiterated, "A person who
has openly declared his opposition to terrorism is
clearly in danger in this geographical area."
Irma Sehwerert, René's mother,
admitted that she didn't have enough time the
previous day to answer the incessant phone calls of
support for the family. But one at 6:30 am surprised
her more than any other. It was her son; he was out
from behind bars.
She commented that one of René's
priorities is to continue fighting for the freedom
of his four brothers, a struggle all of the families
will continue to wage.
"I consider today as one more step
in the process. We never imagined that René would
return alone. We won't be satisfied until he and the
four who have not been released are in their
homeland. Only then will our joy be complete." •