This time the video hall of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP, by its Spanish acronym) was the venue of the political-cultural monthly event convoked by OSPAAAL under the motto “On the 3rd, at 4 for the Five” as part of the international campaign waged in support of this cause.
The event, which includes presentation of books, paintings, photos, short videos, poems and songs in connection with the Five, was attended by diplomatic representatives and delegates of political parties accredited in the island from 24 countries altogether.
“The support that this cause is receiving throughout the world is very stimulating for us, and we hope that U.S. president Barack Obama pays attention to this claim that is becoming ever stronger”, said Kenia Serrano, president of ICAP.
Serrano, who presided the meeting together with OSPAAAL Secretary General Lourdes Cervantes, explained to the audience the result of the recent meetings held in London and Beirut in favor of the freedom of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino y Antonio Guerrero, still imprisoned in the United States.
She said that in London an International Commission that investigated the case of the Five last March, in its preliminary conclusions called President Obama to free “immediately and unconditionally” the three Cuban anti-terrorists who are serving “unjust imprisonment” in that country.
She underlined that the commission’s work was part of the event “Voices for the Five” sponsored by the British group “Rock around the Blockade”, with the participation of relevant personalities, and that it included the celebration of numerous supporting actions in several cities of that European country.
The President of ICAP, who was a member of the Cuban delegation to those events, also referred to the National Meeting in Solidarity with Cuba that took place days later in Lebanon, which was attended – she said – by activists from numerous Middle East countries.
She pointed out that actions such as this one and the one to take place on June 4-11 in Washington D.C. under the motto “Five Days of Action for the Five” strengthen the international campaign in favor of the freedom of the Cuban heroes.
“We hope the voices in favor of the Five do not remain in London or Beirut; that they reach the White House so that Obama will listen to them and act accordingly”, she emphasized.
The Five, who hold the condition of Heroes of the Republic of Cuba, were arrested in Miami in 1998 and condemned to long and unjust prison sentences.
They had infiltrated terrorist groups that were acting with impunity against Cuba from territory of the United States, in order to prevent criminal actions against their country.
None of the charges against them involved violence, weapons or material damage, nor were their actions aimed at obtaining secret information that might threaten the security of the United States, according to the preliminary conclusions of the International Commission in session in London.
Two of the Five, René and Fernando González, have already returned to the Island after fully serving the terms of 13 and 15 years of prison imposed, respectively, by a Miami court in a trial loaded with violations and irregularities.
Hernández is serving two life-sentences and 15 years; Labañino 30 years and Guerrero 22 years.
Since 1959 to date, nearly 3,500 Cubans have died and over 2,000 have been wounded in attacks and terrorist actions coming mainly from Miami. The aggressions have also produced considerable material damage.
Mirta Rodrígez, mother of Antonio Guerrero, also took the floor during the meeting, which was a contribution in the field of culture and audiovisuals to the international battle for the freedom of the Five. She was received with strong applause and heartfelt signs of admiration and respect.
In simple but very emotive words, she thanked for the actions of solidarity and support that take place worldwide and narrated anecdotes of visits paid to her son in the medium level security prison of Marianna, state of Florida, where he was transferred on January 13, 2012.
She said the legal situation of the case is in an “impasse”, and called to redouble the struggle, particularly in the United States. She showed concern for the delay in the ongoing procedures with the U.S. authorities to obtain a visa for the upcoming visit to her son, whom she may only see twice a year.
Another touching moment of the event was the performance by a group of pioneers from the Heroes of Chapultepec Primary School, who presented a play in tribute to the Five and later showed a selection of paintings by Palestinian children who took part in a contest on that theme.
When presenting the works, Santiago Feliú, journalist of Tricontinental magazine and conductor of the event, referred to the historical relations that have united the peoples of Cuba and Palestine, and recalled the celebration of the Day of the Palestinian Prisoner next April 17. “That day we will also pay tribute to more than 5,000 Palestinians who are jailed in 23 Israeli prisons outside their fatherland. Love is returned with love”, he emphasized.
The meeting was closed by Cuban troubadour Manuel Argudín, who told anecdotes of his relations with relatives of the Five since the beginning of the campaigns for their liberation, and performed a selection of songs.
Boletín Tricontinental - No.7/2014