Not one, but two standing ovations and a commitment to lobby the British government on their behalf was given to the wives of the Miami Five after they addressed Unison National Delegates Conference this morning.
Almost 3,000 delegates and guests of the British public services union conference were moved to their feet after hearing the testimony and call for support from Elizabeth Palmiero, wife of Miami Five prisoner Ramon Labanino.
Speaking on behalf of all four wives of the Five, who travelled together to Britain for the very first time, Elizabeth thanked Unison, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and all British unions on behalf of all the victims of terrorism against Cuba and the families of the Five for the support they had given them over the years.
“What our husbands were doing in the US, monitoring the groups that were carrying out terrorist attacks against Cuba, they did for love, for love of the Cuban people and for love of humanity, and nobody should be imprisoned for this,” she said.
Standing alongside Rosa Freijanes, wife of Fernando, Adriana Perez, wife of Gerardo, and Olga Salanueva she told delegates that that their support was so important for the families and the prisoners, but that they needed to take the struggle to every corner of the world.
“It is a political case and we will only win their freedom if we have an international campaign of millions fighting on their behalf. Just as it was an international solidarity movement that won freedom for Nelson Mandela.”
“We trust in the power of solidarity, and we trust in the power of you to help win justice in their case. It is a very long path to justice we know, but we need you with us, We are here because of you.”
“I spoke to my husband Ramon on the phone yesterday and he wanted me to thank you for everything you have done on their behalf."
She finished by sending delegates a warm embrace on behalf of the families and the Five themselves”
After the standing ovation by Britain’s largest public service union, Eleanor Smith, Unison President, praised the women for their bravery and made the announcement that the union would be sending a message from its conference to British Foreign Secretary William Hague, urging the government to make an humanitarian appeal on behalf of the men and their families to the US State Department.
During their visit to the UK organised by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign(CSC) the wives will speak to almost 5,000 people at events across Britain including Unison conference, the CSC Annual General Meeting and Awards Dinner, the RMT Garden Party for Cuba and Unite the Union Conference.