Biography of René
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 Who are the Cuban Five? Why are they imprisoned in the United States?

The Cuban Five are five men who came to the United States in the early 1990s in response to the wave of violence directed at Cuba by mercenary groups from the Cuban exile community in southern Florida. Their names are Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando Gonzáles and René González.

The Five were sent by the Cuban government unarmed and without any plan to inflict harm on the U.S. Their sole purpose was to infiltrate the network of terrorist groups that had been attacking Cuba since the triumph of the Revolution.

They came at a particular time in the history of the Cuban Revolution. Cuba's number one trading partner, the Soviet Union, had recently collapsed, and the economy of Cuba had gone into freefall. The Cuban government decided that one of the ways to restore economic health in Cuba was to engage in the tourist industry. The tourist industry was built up in 1992-93 and was an ongoing concern through 1994-95. In response, the mercenary wing of the Cuban exile community in South Florida decided to begin a violent terror campaign against the tourist industry as a way of undercutting the Cuban economy.

Bombs were placed in various hotels by anti-Cuban terrorists, in one instance killing an Italian tourist. A bomb was placed in the Havana airport. Bombs were placed in buses to and from the airport. The Cuban government protested these terrorist activities to the U.S., but to no avail. They protested to the United Nations, also without a response. As a result, beginning in the 1994-95 period, the Cuban Five came forward to protect their country.

The Five quickly succeeded in infiltrating the groups and reporting warnings to Cuba of the plans being developed to attack Cuba. In 1996-97, the U.S. government became aware of their presence in this country, and the FBI rounded them up in 1998. They were prosecuted on a variety of charges, including failure to register as foreign agents. Three were charged with conspiracy to commit espionage; one was charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

A Miami jury convicted them on all counts after a seven-month trial. The trial of the Five was the longest trial in the history of the U.S. at the time. During the trial, the attorneys for the Five requested a change of venue from Miami to another city five times. The judge denied each request.

In December 2001, two of the Five were sentenced to life in prison, one to 19 years, and one to 15 years. Gerardo Hernández received two life terms.

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                      Rene Gonzalez

                      Fernando Gonzalez

                      Gerardo Hernandez

                      Ramon Labanino

                      Antonio Gerrero