Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Cuban Five

july 7th, at the national library, in the afternoon. (with an update july 18 from austin texas)

click here for photos of this day

more photos of havana and the mlk centre

audio of this event


another yummy lunch - christianos y moros, cucumbers, beans, papas, y mango for dessert. entonces, nosotros vamonos a bibloteque national (i think that means we are going to the library, but what i mean is we went to the library. i'll try to learn more spanish before my next visit - i'm able to throw words out there and get my point across, but i think i'm ready now to get the structure of the language and actually form appropriate sentences.)

i'm happy to report that the national library's card catalogue lists books about anarchism. 'anarchismo o socialismo' was one. maybe eddie is wrong about his government frowning on philosophical debate including anarchistic philosophy, or maybe the books don't actually exist on the shelves?

i'm in a room with two hundred other people, listing to talking heads. it's important stuff, no doubt, about the cuban five. i should have had more coffee at lunch. it's just that after lunch isn't a good time to sit in a room and listen to people speak. it's siesta time, really, isn't it?

if i got the details correctly, it was one of the cuban five's brothers who spoke for about half an hour at this event. he's also a lawyer and explained, in rather great detail, the recent history of the case. essentially, the cuban five were in miami trying to find people responsible for acts of terrorism against the cuban people. they did their job, and turned that information in to cuban authorities and then they made their mistake - they told the american government and the american government hates cuba - its socialist revolution, its ability to survive all these years despite the blockade, its free health care and world class agricultural projects. so, while the american government has spent billions of dollars ostensibly searching for 'terrorists' around the world, it considers those who want to terrorize the cuban people its friends - the enemy of my enemy is my friend, as jesse helms is reported to have said. the cuban five are in jail, and have been for about a decade. they were tried in miami courts (miami is full of criminals and a well organized anti-cuban mafia) and scattered in prisons throughout the united states.

a woman spoke, the wife of one of the cuban five. she's unable to visit her husband. and she distributed posters, with photos of the five, and asked us to please do everything we can to bring them to justice.

one of cuba's state newspapers, granma international (available in various languages at reported (july 13 08) that, during this meeting

"at the National Library in Havana, Graciela Ramirez, president of the International Committee to Free the Five, explained to Caravan participants that 'there is an infinite cruelty in the specific prohibition of the relatives' right to visit these men. These wives, children and mothers have not committed any kind of crime whatsoever; and in every case, without exception, the United States is determined to suspend their rights.' During a visit by Mirta, Antonio's mother, they started to hear shots ringing out from the prison yard. A white supremacist group was celebrating Hitler's birthday. It caused an uprising involving 200 prisoners. The prison officers fired blank shots. Mirta and her daughter had to return to Cuba a few days later and Antonio had to suffer this situation."

if memory serves, i believe antonio and other prisoners were forced into lock down for a significant period of time as a result of those bad nazis. so first they're in jail because they love their revolution and their cuban brothers and sisters enough to track down some anti-cuban terrorists, and then they get punished for what a bunch of skinheads do. sounds like american style justice alright.

Granma International asks that people communicate with the Five:

Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez, No 58741-004, USP Florence, P.O. Box 7000, Florence Colorado, 81226

Fernando Gonzalez Llort (Ruben Campa), No 58733-005, FCI Terre Haute, PO Box 33, Terre Haute Indiana, 47808

Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo (Manuel Viramontes), No 58739-004, USP Victorville, PO Box 5500, Adelanto, California, 92301

Ramon Labanino Salazar (Luis Medina), No 58734-004, USP McCreary, PO Box 3000, Pine Knot Kentucky, 42635

Rene Gonzalez Sehwerert, No 58738-004, FCI Marianna, PO Box 7007, Marianna Florida, 32447-7007

click here for more information about the Cuban Five


Canadian members of Parliament demand justice for the Cuban Five
Havana. July 11, 2008

"We cannot allow this extremely painful situation for these five Cubans and their families to drag on," says letter sent to U.S. Attorney General
FIFTY-SIX members of Canada’s Parliament have just signed a petition demanding justice for the Cuban Five, the anti-terrorist fighters arbitrarily sentenced to long prison sentences in the United States since September 12, 1998.

"Nothing justifies keeping them behind bars," the petition says.
Arnold August, a member of the Fabio Di Celmo Committee of the Quebec-Cuba Solidarity Committee and the International Committee to Free the Five, told Granma newspaper, "This is good news." August, a Canadian writer and lecturer who is visiting Havana, said the petition also demands family visitation rights for the relatives of Fernando González, Ramón Labañino, René González, Antonio Guerrero and Gerardo Hernández.

The initiative for the petition was introduced by Francine Lalonde, an MP for the Bloque Qubequense por La Pointe-de-l’lle (Montreal), and Libby Davies, a legislator from East Vancouver, and quickly found a hearing among their colleagues, Arnold commented.
The petition — which continues to circulate — was sent to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Canadian Foreign Minister David Emerson, and David Wilkins, U.S. ambassador in Canada.

The action is part of the international campaign to demand freedom for the Cuban Five and to call for compliance with the findings of human rights organizations, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (May 27, 2005) and 110 members of the British parliament, all of them denouncing the conditions of isolation imposed on the Five and their irregular trial in Miami, Florida.

"We cannot allow this extremely painful situation for these five Cubans and their families to drag on," the petition says.

In Quebec, prominent individuals like Claudette Carbonneau, president of the Federation of National Unions, and Elsie Lefebvre, a former member of the Quebec National Assembly, have expressed their support for the cause.

Translated by
Granma International