A chilling anniversary is quickly approaching. Another chilling reminder of the U.S. governments’ disregard for human rights and justice. September 12th, 2012 will mark the 14th year of the immoral and unjust imprisonment of the Cuban 5 political prisoners.
In 2001, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, the Cuban 5, were wrongly accused and convicted in a U.S. Federal Court of “conspiracy to commit espionage” and other fabricated charges. The five were actually unarmed men involved in monitoring Miami-based terrorist organizations, which since 1959 have been responsible for the deaths of over 3,400 people in Cuba, including one resident of Canada, Fabio di Celmo, in 1997.
You would think, that Cuba’s response to such terrorist attacks would be considered reasonable by a government who’s drowning in a “war on terror” itself no? The Cuban 5 simply investigated and reported on terrorist groups. A war on terror that I imagine could be considered quite cost effective. Not one person lost their life due to the investigative work of the Cuban 5. On the other hand, the U.S. government has plummeted their economy with billions spent on their “war on terror”. The U.S. is responsible for the loss of millions of lives in Iraq alone. The U.S. government should take notes and hire the Cuban 5!
But they didn’t and they won’t. Instead the Cuban 5, considered heroes by peace loving people around the world, especially in Cuba, remain locked up in U.S. prisons as a world-wide movement demanding their freedom continues to grow.
Vancouver Never Retreats
On Thursday, August 9th, 2012, peace-loving people gathered in front of the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver for the 81st monthly protest to demand freedom for the Cuban 5. The typically business-as-usual zone in the downtown core filled with loud chants demanding “Hey! Obama! Free the Cuban 5!”
Participants of the protest were able to hear from a number of speakers who explained the history and updates in the case of the Cuban 5. Among the speakers were Sean O'Donoghue, an organizer with the Comité Fabio Di Celmo pour les 5 in Montreal, Quebec who gave greetings by phone to the protest. The committee in Montreal also every month organizes a protest for the Cuban 5. Tamara Hansen, coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) who recently returned from Cuba on the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba gave a heartfelt talk about meeting family members of the Cuban 5 while on the Caravan in Cuba. She explained the plight of Adriana Perez, the wife of Cuban 5 hero Gerardo Hernández who has been denied more than 10 requests to visit her husband in prison. A human and legal right afforded to every prisoner in the U.S.
Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver coordinator, Noah Fine brought the monthly protest to a close reminding participants that the committee is dedicated to return to the U.S. Consulate every single month until all 5 Cuban Heroes are free and in Cuba.
For more information about the Cuban 5 political prisoners or to get involved in the campaign for their freedom, please visit: www.freethe5vancouver.ca
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