The significance of this meeting was that it marked the first that a union from the US organized an event solely to inform their rank and file and the leadership about the colossal and ongoing injustice being committed against the Cuban 5. The purpose of the event was to expand the exposure of the case that is boycotted by the media, to the US labor movement and to ask them to join the struggle.
Workers and union leaders present at the meeting represented a number of unions from Southern California including service workers, transportation workers, teachers, musicians, healthcare workers, electricians and others. Mike Garcia president SEIU-USWW welcomed the audience and reminded them that the struggle is the only tool that the workers have in their fight for justice. "The struggle for the freedom of the Cuban 5 should be part of the struggle of US workers because it is part of the same fight."
Alicia Jrapko from the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 spoke about the different campaigns in the US to spread the word about the case. Jrapko explained to the audience that this is a case of human rights and basic justice. "These men came to the US unarmed simply to defend their country from terrorist attacks coming from US soil. With a stroke of a pen Obama can free them. Join us in demanding that."
In recognition of the support from labor, members of the International Committee presented wooden plaques with the symbolic logo on behalf of the Cuban 5 to Tony Woodley, Mike Garcia and Cristina Vazquez. Another plaque was awarded to Natasha Hickman editor of Cuba Si!, a publication in solidarity with Cuba produced by unions in the UK.
Mike Garcia, referring to the case of the Cuban 5, loudly closed the meeting by asking the audience several times Se Puede? And they responded each time louder; Si Se Puede!
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5