June 12, 2013, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
My name is Bill Ryan and I have had the privilege of knowing and working with a great Cuban by the name of Gerardo Hernández, who you probably know as being one of the Cuban Five.
For the past three years I have helped Gerardo thank some of the people that have supported the Five in their struggle for justice.
Our arrangement is quite simple. Gerardo will identify an opportunity to acknowledge someone. He will provide me with a design and message; I will then carve the sculpture and present it.
While Gerardo would love to hand over these gifts and thanks personally, 15 years in a maximum security prison has made that rather difficult. Therefore, he relies on others such as his wife Adriana to travel for him.
There is a character in a song written by an American by the name of John Prine. His character has the ability to “travel in his mind”. Out of necessity Gerardo has also learned this skill. In spirit, Gerardo travels with his gifts to deliver them, along with his thanks on behalf of the Five. Sometimes I’ve been lucky enough to tag along as well.
For example, tonight Gerardo is visiting Ottawa to acknowledge and thank a great supporter of Cuba and of course the Five.
Arnold has worked tirelessly for the cause of the Five, both as a member of the International Committee and by attending and participating in many important events, including the recent ‘Five Days for the Five’ in Washington.
As I said, tonight Gerardo has travelled to Ottawa to thank Arnold and to offer his congratulations on the launch of his book, Cuban and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion.
On behalf of Gerardo and the Five, I would like to thank Arnold and present him with a small token of their appreciation.
Perth, Ontario, Canada