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On Saturday January 5th, people around the world took action calling for the freedom of the Cuban 5 political prisoners imprisoned in the United States. In Vancouver, Canada, supporters of the Cuban 5 gathered in the heart of downtown for the 86th consecutive monthly protest demanding, “Free the Cuban 5 Now!” This also marked the 7 year anniversary of the monthly protest campaign in Vancouver.
The International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 had also called for a day of social media outreach titled, “Simultaneous Tweets for the Cuban 5”. Thousands of people around the world used the social media site Twitter to send and receive messages demanding freedom of Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Ramón Labañino, Gerardo Hernandez and René Gonzalez, the Cuban 5. Many were addressed directly to US President Barack Obama.
In Vancouver, the Free the Cuban 5 Committee set up a computer at the information table where passers-by and supporters could take part in the “Simultaneous Tweets for the Cuban 5” directly from the streets of Vancouver and the protest itself.
Participants held signs and also energetically chanted slogans in support of the Cuban 5 Heroes. As well, for more than three hours distributing information about the case of Cuban 5 Heroes and asking those passing by to sign postcards addressed to Obama demanding, “Free the Cuban 5 Now!”
People also gathered to listen to speakers such as David Whittlesey, a veteran US civil rights activist and now an organizer with the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver. Sarah Alwell, also an organizer with the Committee, read New Year's greetings written by Rene Gonzalez, one of the Cuban Five.
Alicia Jrapko, Coordinator of the International Committee to Free the Cuban 5, spoke via telephone from San Francisco. She gave an update on the huge international response to the “Simultaneous Tweets for the Cuban 5” campaign and thanked the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver for organizing the first protest around the world for the Cuban 5 this year.
Next up, Vancouver hip hop artist and Cuban 5 supporter, Joose Justis, performed and worked the chant, “Free the 5!” into every one of his songs.
Thomas Davies, Executive Committee member of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, and recent delegate to the 8th Annual International Colloquium to Free the Cuban 5 in Holguin, Cuba, spoke next. Thomas emphasized, “Support for the Cuban 5 has grown in Vancouver as it has in all corners of the world. Let’s work together to make 2013 a year to re-double our efforts to Free the Cuban 5!”
The Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver Coordinator, Noah Fine, wrapped up the protest program by reaffirming that the Committee will to continue protesting every month until all 5 Cuban Heroes are free and at home with their loved ones in Cuba.
January 5th was another step forward in the growing international campaign to Free the Cuban 5. We invite everyone to join us to be part of this great struggle for the human rights of the 5 Cuban Heroes!
Check www.freethe5vancouver.ca for updates on upcoming actions, and follow us on Twitter: @Freethe5_Van
Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver
604-719-6947 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.freethe5vancouver.ca