In 2007, the Mayor of Richmond organized a campaign for visas for two of the wives of the Cuban Five who were being denied entry visas from the U.S. government to visit their husbands in prison. Twelve other California mayors joined McLaughlin in this effort sending a letter to then U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. In April 2009 the City Council of Richmond unanimously passed a resolution asking for the freedom of the Five, the right of family visits and the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. The city of Richmond also enjoys a vibrant Sister City Project with Regla, Cuba.
During the recent elections, in retaliation against a city government that implemented the highest minimum wage in the San Francisco Bay Area, among many other community-oriented social improvements, Chevron launched a negative smear campaign against McLaughlin and the progressive slate running for mayor and the City Council seats. Chevron came up with its own slate of candidates who they orchestrated and promoted financially. It is important to mention that none of the Richmond progressive candidates accepted any money from corporations.
Due to term limits Gayle was not able to run again for mayor but was one of those on the progressive slate for City Council. Chevron's campaign was filled with lies and slander against Gayle that included a stopgayle.com blog. One of the main attacks against her was for her long standing solidarity with Cuba and the Cuban 5.
Despite throwing $3 million into a dirty campaign to defeat Gayle and the other progressives, the people of Richmond saw through the hate and the lies by rejecting Chevron and electing the entire progressive slate including Gayle who received the most votes.
The results of this last election is a victory for the city of Richmond, for the cause of the Five and for all peace loving people of the world.
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International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5