THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 28, 2008
GUEST LIST FOR THE FIRST LADY'S BOX
AT THE 2008 STATE OF THE UNION
Blanca González, Mother of Cuban Political Prisoner; (Miami,Florida)
Blanca González is the mother of Normando Hernández González, a political prisoner suffering under the regime of Fidel and Raul Castro. In 2002, Blanca González fled Cuba and applied for political asylum in the United States; she now resides in Miami, Florida with her husband. While in Cuba, she was a human rights activist and was harassed by the Cuban regime. Her son, Normando Hernández González, is a writer and independent journalist and was arrested on March 18, 2003, in his hometown of Camagüey, Cuba. Normando Hernández González was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment for reporting on the conditions of state-run services in Cuba and for criticizing the government’s management of issues such as tourism, agriculture, fishing, and cultural affairs. Hernández received the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award in April 2007, an award that recognizes international literary figures who have been persecuted or imprisoned for exercising or defending the right to freedom of expression. He has also been recognized by the Costa Rican legislature. His health has deteriorated due to a severe, chronic, and untreated gastro-intestinal disorder which causes constant diarrhea, headaches, intermittent fever, and poor gastro-intestinal absorption. He has lost at least 35 pounds. Normando Hernández González remains in prison.