News Coverage, 2012

5 Days for the Cuban 5 in Washington D.C.

Granma International: Nuria BaRbosa León

Brick by brick the mainstream media wall of silence surrounding the case of the Cuban Five is coming down. Alicia Jrapko, coordinator of the International Committee for the Release of the Cuban Five told Cubadebate: “We have managed to break through the mainstream media a bit. Univisión had impartial coverage for the first time.”

Demonstrators in front of the White House.
Demonstrators in front of
the White House.

The Friday evening and Saturday demonstrations during the five days of action for the Five in Washington D.C. were covered by television channels that included C-SPAN, Hispan, Univisión, Russia Today and Telesur.

The event organized in the U.S. capitol by the International Committee for the Release of the Cuban Five ended Saturday, 21st April, with a day full of action, events and planning workshops.

At 10 am a group of religious from different denominations held a brain storming session to work out strategies for future action. The Reverend Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, former Secretary General of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and the Reverend Dora Arca from the Cuban Pastoral Platform were among those advocating further action for justice for the Cuban Five.

A peaceful demonstration supporting the release of the Cuban Five was held outside the White House beginning at 1:00 pm on Saturday. The large numbers already in D.C. were boosted by the arrival of four buses of supporters from New York and other U.S. cities.

The hundreds of activists carried banners, placards and posters all demanding that Obama release the imprisoned Cubans immediately.

A letter of appreciation and support in the name of the Five from Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Five who is serving two life sentences and fifteen years on trumped-up charges, was read out and received enthusiastically by those present.

Representatives from different solidarity organizations across the U.S. and other parts of the world followed Gerardo’s message with others from individuals and committees promising to continue the struggle until the Cuban Five are free and with their families in Cuba.

Cindy Sheehan brought the five days of action to a close at a meeting held in the Bolivarian Room of the Venezuelan embassy. In a moving and sincere manner Cindy explained her reasons for becoming involved with the case of the Five and expressed her admiration and fondness for the mothers of the incarcerated men.

According to Alicia Jrapko “The 5 days have been for me the best action or project we have ever done. From many angles it is the best. We have reached out to many people. We had an event with panelists of the most diverse ideas and ways of thinking. We were able to bring together a number of organizations that usually don’t work together.”

“It was super important and, yes, we are very tired but happy.”


Activities in numerous countries

In London’s Trafalgar Square hundreds gathered to demand the immediate release of the Five and unfurl a giant 15-meter banner on the initiative of the Cuba solidarity organization, Rock around the Blockade. Actions were planned in Glasgow, Scotland and in London an exhibition of graphic works by Antonio Guerrero and Gerardo Hernández, is continuing.

In Mexico City, supporters of the Five assembled in front of the U.S. embassy to chant slogans calling for their freedom, while in Russia, the Venceremos movement issued a statement calling on Obama to free the prisoners and right the injustice.

In Managua, the Nicaraguan Parliament approved a resolution demanding that the U.S. government free the anti-terrorist Cubans.

In the Dominican Republic, the television program Rebeldes, on the Tierra América 12 channel, was devoted to the issue.

In Germany, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Spain, Italy, Peru, Turkey, Sweden and Ukraine events were held in solidarity with the Five. While in Cuba, representatives from the brigades of more than 2,000 youth from 83 countries who are studying in the province of Villa Clara, organized a public event describing the tortuous legal process and demanding justice.

Campaign Five Days for the Five Winds up in Washington

HAVANA, Cuba, Apr 21 (acn) The campaign Five Days for The Five wound up on Saturday in Washington D.C. with a rally in front of the White House, during which people in favor of the release of the Cuban antiterrorists, unfairly condemned in the United States, demanded their immediate return to their homeland.

Participants in the demonstration, held at 4:00 p.m., some of them coming from New York and other cities of the country, traveled under the slogan Freedom Ride for the Cuban 5.

The closing event took place at the Venezuelan Embassy, being pacifist Cindy Sheehan one of the keynote speakers. There were presentations by the DC Children’s Theater Group (“The greatest weapon of Cuba, a tribute to Cuban doctors,”) directed by Obi Egbuna Jr., and Hemingway’s HOT Havana, by Brian Gordon Sinclair, Artistic Director, according to information provided by the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5.

The penultimate day of the campaign, which began on Tuesday, ended with a meeting held at the Festival Center, in the Northwest area, during which all speakers denounced the process against The Five, marked by injustice and long, harsh sentences, the Cubadebate Web site reported.

“We have the civil liability” of defending these Cuban patriots, emphasized US actor Danny Glover, one of the special guests to the meeting, sponsored by the International Solidarity Committee for the Freedom of the Five.

Also addressing participants in that meeting, convened under the slogan “Obama give me five,” were Dolores Huerta, Jose Pertierra, James Early, Saul Landau, Wayne Smith, Mavis Anderson, Salim Lamrani and Norman Paech.

During the meeting, in which ambassador Jorge Bolaños, head of the Cuba’s Interests Section in Washington was present, Wayne Smith (Texas, 1936), of the Center for International Politics and former head of the US Interest Section in Havana (1999-1982), pointed out that The Five are a source of inspiration for all those who defend justice.

People from all over the U.S. along with representatives from Canada, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Honduras have been in the U.S. Capitol for 5 days of activities, aimed at building awareness of the failed 50 year policy that this country has had towards Cuba. The events have focused on various topics including the case of the Cuban Five, who are serving long sentences in U.S. prisons, reads the press release sent by the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5.

The Cuban Five were in the U.S. to defend their country by monitoring the activities of anti-Cuban terrorist groups operating in Southern Florida. Rene Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez were wrongly accused and convicted in a U.S. Federal Court of “conspiracy to commit espionage” and other fabricated charges. Rene Gonzalez
served his 13-year sentence and is now forced to stay in Florida for 3 more years,
under “supervised release,” adds the text.

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