René González Sehwerert was born in Chicago, United States, on 13 August 1956, in the bosom of a working-class family that migrated to the United States.
His father, Cándido René González Castillo, was a steel worker in Indiana, United States and his mother, Irma Teodora Sehwerert Milejan, was a housekeeper.
On 2 October 1961, his parents, who had cooperated from the United States with the 26th-of-July Movement in the struggle against Batista, decided to go back to and settled for good in Cuba with their two children.
René began his primary education at José Martí School in Santa María del Mar Municipality, obtaining good educational results.
Since he was a little boy, he had a bent for mechanics. In 1968, his wishes for becoming an antiaircraft artilleryman led him to apply for a place at Camilo Cienfuegos Vocational Military School in Baracoa municipality, from which he had to drop out at tenth grade due to health problems that affected his learning performance.
In 1970, the Young Communist League welcomed René as one of its members as a result of his active participation in military, sport and political-related activities.
In 1973, he joined the second contingent of Manuel Ascunce Domenech Pedagogic Detachment. He studied in a special course for laborers and started teaching classes at República Socialista de Rumania School in Alquízar municipality.
In 1974, when he still held his status of foreigner and could exempt himself from patriotic responsibilities, he volunteered for the general military service.
At the beginning of 1977, after his time in the military service was over, he went on an internationalist mission in the People’s Republic of Angola. Upon termination of his mission, on March 1979, he was bestowed the Internationalist Combatant Medal.
From 1979 to 1982, he studied at Carlos Ulloa Aviation School in San Julián, Pinar del Río municipality, and subsequently joined the Patriotic-Military Education Society. In said institution, he held the responsibilities of flight instructor and leader of the grass-root committee of the Young Communist League until 1985, year in which he was appointed squad chief in San Nicolás de Bari military base and head of the sport aeronautics section.
In 1990, he was accepted in the ranks of our glorious Communist Party of Cuba. At the end of that year, he left for the United States, where he gained access to several counterrevolutionary organizations that use US terrorism to plan and carry out terrorist actions and constant provocations against our country.
In January 1997, his wife, Olga Salanueva Arango, traveled to the United States to be with her husband, accompanied by her eldest daughter, Irma González Salanueva. In 1998, a few months before he was arrested, the youngest member of this family was born in US soil, Ivette González Salanueva.
As a result of René’s detention along with the rest of his comrades, a process of threat and blackmailing of different nature was unleashed on Olga and her daughters, which included both psychological and economic pressures aimed at making her betray her husband, country and revolutionary convictions. Even in such circumstances, Olga decided to remain in the United States, where she played a significant role as a means of communication between the Five and their homeland, and by offering moral support. As a consequence of her attitude, she was incarcerated by the INS of the United States for three months, time in which they could not break an inch of her rebel and revolutionary character. At the end of 2000, she was deported to Cuba, where she joined her two daughters.
René’s mother, Irma Sehwerert Mileján, participated in revolutionary activities in the United States. Ever since her return to Cuba, she fully joined the activities of the Revolution, by being an outstanding activist of the grass-root organizations and becoming a member of the Cuban Communist Party.
René’s father, Cándido González Castillo, returned to Cuba in 1961 and directly participated in revolutionary activities, popular mass mobilization and in the people’s sugarcane harvest.
René is really admired and loved by his four brothers and sisters: Roberto, Iván, Dayana and Alina.