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From November 13 – 17 about 300 delegates from 51 countries gathered in the city of Holguin Cuba to participate in the IX International Colloquium for the Freedom of the Five Cuban Heroes and Against Terrorism. The IX Colloquium was rewarded with the presence of the Hero of the Republic of Cuba René González, relatives of the Five, relatives of the victims of Barbados, the President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Kenya Serrano, authorities of the province of Holguín and other distinguished guests.
During the Colloquium a number of activities took place including a bicycle marathon, an exhibit of photos of the actions carried out in Cuba and around the world to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the arrest of the Five, plenary sessions, meetings by geographical areas, workshops on the optimization of the use of social networks, visits to schools, universities, cultural galas, and meetings with the population in different neighborhoods and municipalities. A highlight of the colloquium was a large rally on November 16 in a park featuring a statue of Che where once again the love of the Cuban people towards the cause of the Five was on display. One could see their deep love as they reached out to shake Rene’s hand demanding the return of Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio and Fernando.
Another significant part of this event was when former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark was awarded the Order of the Solidarity of the Republic of Cuba.
During the plenary sessions of the Colloquium, Rob Miller Coordinator of the Campaign in the United Kingdom officially announced the organizing taking place in Europe for the International Commission of Inquiry in the case of the Five, which will be held in London on 7 and 8 March. Alicia Jrapko Coordinator of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 in the U.S. announced the 3rd “5 days for the Cuban 5” that will take place in Washington DC, June 4- 11, 2014. The President of ICAP, Kenya Serrano, called for massive participation in the 3rd World Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba and the X Colloquium to be held in Havana October 27 – 31, 2014. These proposals received unanimous support from all the delegates.
For his part, Sergio Marinoni, President of the National Association of Friendship Italy-Cuba announced that 55 personalities including Martin Sheen, Ascanio Celestini, Angela Davis and Carla Fracci recorded messages with the common goal of asking Obama to end the injustice that has lasted 15 years. To see the messages visit http://www.vitadura.it/
Also within the framework of the Colloquium Edith Glaif, legendary Argentine fighter, member of the Argentina League for Human Rights and founder of the Argentine Committee for the Freedom of the Five was awarded the Medal of Friendship.
The Colloquium was closed with the reading of the Final Declaration, which will serve as a guide to solidarity actions in 2014 by friends and committees from all over the world who fight for peace, justice and the freedom of the Five.