Worldwide demonstrations demand "Free the Five Now!"
June 5-7, 2008
Reports and pictures will be coming in from around the world in the next few days.
Check this page often, and be sure to his "refresh" on your browser and scroll down to see the latest additions
London (UK), June 5:
Less than 24 hours after receiving the news that the US Court of Appeal had upheld the convictions of the Cuban Five, over 20 activists gathered outside the US embassy in London at 7pm as part of the ‘day after’ campaign to condemn against the rulings. This emergency protest was called by Rock around the Blockade, which campaigns in solidarity with Cuba’s Socialist Revolution in Britain. It was joined by representatives from other groups. Mobilisation began at 11pm the night before.
Unable to stand in front of the US embassy, which is protected by a road block and barriers, the activists decorated the eight foot railings with Cuban flags, placards and pictures of the five Cuban heroes. They leafleted passers by and gave speeches exposing the hypocrisy of the US/Britain so-called ‘war on terrorism’ while Cubans who work to defend their people from right-wing extremists, linked to the US government, are unjustly incarcerated and denied basic legal rights. One speaker pointed out that as well as a protest the event was also a celebration – of the continued and defiant resistance of the Five and the revolutionary people of Cuba, who have resisted US aggression and attacks for nearly half a century. They have shown the world that commitment to ideas, principles and justice is more powerful than all the money and armaments in the world.
A second demonstration is planned for this Saturday 7 June in Trafalgar Square in central London at 12 noon. We hope that all those individual and groups who oppose terrorism and support justice will join us. Free the Cuban Five! Vive Cuba! Viva Socialism!
Vancouver (BC), June 5:
On June 5th just 24 hours after the unfair and excessive decision came down against Cuban 5 in the United States, over 50 people lined up in the pouring rain outside the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver, Canada. They came together to protest the unjust decision by a three judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States to continue to deny freedom for the Cuban Five. The Free the Cuban Five Committee-Vancouver (FC5C-Van) made the callout for this important picket action immediately after the decision was announced on Wednesday, June 4th. "The Five", as they are widely known, are Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez, and Rene Gonzalez. Organizers and supporters for The Five braved the cold rain to chant, “THE FIVE ARE HEROES, THEY WILL NEVER SURRENDER”, “FREE FREE FREE, FREE THE CUBAN 5”, “JUSTICE FOR THE 5 NOW”, “FREEDOM FOR THE 5 NOW.”
A statement issued by the Free the Cuban Five Committee-Vancouver was read by the coordinator of the committee, Noah Fine, who opened the picket. The statement noted, “These 5 Cubans who were protecting their people from terrorism organized and financed in Miami, with help from the U.S. Government against Cuba must be immediately freed.”
Left to right: José Irímias, president of the Asociación José Martí, Andrés Gómez, director, Antonio Maceo Brigade, and Max Lesnik, president of the Alianza Martiana
This morning, June 6, a press conference was held in the headquarters of Alianza Martiana by the member organizations of the coalition, to protest the panel decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which on June 4 issued its unjust decision upholding the guilty verdicts of the Five.
The second purpose of the conference was to denounce the impunity that the Bush administration—as with past U.S. administrations—has granted to countless terrorists of the Cuban American extreme rightwing. Despite the public knowledge of his terrible crimes, terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles and his terrorist accomplice Orlando Bosch walk free through the streets of Miami.
Speakers at the press conference were Max Lesnik, leader of the Alianza Martiana and director of Radio Miami, and Andrés Gómez, leader of the Antonio Maceo Brigade and director of Areíto Digital magazine. Both spoke in detail of the long and perfidious history of the terrorist policy used by the United States against Cuba and the disastrous results for the Cuban people and for Miami.
They also dealt with the specific aspects related to the recent decision of the Court of Appeals panel, as well as the possible course of action by the defense team in its noble efforts to obtain justice for the Five. Also addressed were the plans of the Alianza’s organizations and hundreds of other organizations that are in solidarity with the Five around the world, to demand their freedom.
Present at the press conference were the daily newspaper The Miami Herald, and the Spanish television stations 23, 51 and 41.
En la mañana de hoy, 6 de junio, tuvo lugar en el local de la Alianza Martiana de esta ciudad una conferencia de prensa convocada por la organizaciones que integran dicha coalición para protestar la decisión del panel de Tribunal de Apelaciones del Onceno Circuito que el 4 de junio pasado rindió su injusta decisión ratificando los veredictos de culpabilidad de los Cinco.
El segundo propósito de la rueda de prensa era denunciar la impunidad que la Administración Bush, así como, pasadas administraciones estadounidenses, han brindado a innumerables terroristas de la extrema derecha cubano americana. Terroristas como Luis Posada Carriles, que a pesar del conocimiento público que se tiene de sus terribles crímenes, se pasea, con su consorte terrorista, Orlando Bosch, por las calles de Miami.
Hicieron uso de la palabra Max Lesnik, dirigente de la Alianza Martiana y director de Radio Miami y, Andrés Gómez, dirigente de la Brigada Antonio Maceo y director de la revista Areíto Digital. Ambos entraron en detalle de la larga y pérfida historia de la política de terrorismo utilizada por Estados Unidos en contra de Cuba y sus nefastos resultados para el pueblo cubano y para Miami.
También se trataron específicamente asuntos relacionados a la reciente decisión del panel del Tribunal de Apelaciones, así cómo sobre los posibles cursos a seguir por parte de los abogados del equipo de la defensa en su noble esfuerzo por obtener que se haga justicia a los Cinco. Como también sobre los planes de las organizaciones que integran la Alianza Martiana y cientos de otras organizaciones de solidaridad con los Cinco en el resto del mundo para exigir su libertad.
Estuvieron presentes en la conferencia de prensa reporteros del diario The Miami Herald, y los canales televisivos en idioma español: TV 23, TV 51 y TV 41.
San Francisco, June 6:
On Friday, June 6, some 90 people joined at the busy downtown center of Powell and Market streets in San Francisco, in an action called by the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five and supported by many organizations and individuals. The day before, hundreds of calls were made by volunteers to phone lists, to notify them of the court decision and the protest today.
This San Francisco intersection is well-trafficked by shoppers and people going home from work. Thousands of people heard the short speeches explaining the struggle of the Cuban Five, and the worldwide campaign for their freedom. Many stopped to listen, accepted leaflets and read them. The supporters of the Five were very spirited, and with their chants like "Extradite Posada, Free the Cuban Five!" conveyed a strong sense of struggle and the heroic stance of the Five. The hypocrisy of U.S. government—in imprisoning the Five while allowing the notorious terrorist Luis Posada Carriles free—was highlighted by several speakers.
Almost 1,000 educational flyers on the Five's case were handed out during the street rally, and a loudspeaker system attracted the attention of many people who stopped to learn about their struggle. Many came to the table to sign the petitions and to receive regular updates on the Five. In this way a much broader number of people was reached, who had never heard of the Cuban Five before.
The upcoming large billboard for the Cuban Five, which will be placed on a central intersection of Mission and 10th Streets for the month of July, was announced, as well as an outdoor July 26 event to be held at the billboard.
Part of the crowd in San Francisco
Richard Becker of ANSWER address the crowd
A YouTube version of the San Francisco demonstration is above,
or click here to watch the high-resolution QuickTime version of the video
Washington, DC, June 6:
Huancayo, Peru, June 5:
Algunas imagenes de la vigilia efectuada el día de ayer 5 de junio a partir de las 7 de la noche en el Parque Constitución de la ciudad de Huancayo PERÚ, seguiremos informando, al igual que nuestra compañer Gloria Miranda de toda actividad que se lleve a cabo.
On June 6th a demonstration was held from 5 to 6 P.M. in front of the US Consulate in downtown Montreal. Organized by the Table de Concertation de Solidarité Québec-Cuba and its Comité Fabio di Celmo pour les 5, the demonstrators handed out leaflets to the public condemning the decision of the Atlanta Court of Appeals. They also at times shouted rhythmic slogans in French such as:
Prison pour le bourreau!/Liberté pour les cinq héros!
Bush, Carriles complices! Non au terrorisme!
Chavez, Chavez a raison!/Carriles doit aller en prison!
Seeing the placards and the Cuban flags, quite a few motorists honked their horn in approval. Over 35 people participated in the activity.
Seattle, June 6:
About a dozen dedicated supporters of the Five Heroes gathered in front of the "new" Federal Courthouse in Seattle on Stewart St. At four o'clock as the protest got started, about a dozen activists gathered in a driving rain. Undaunted, the protestors carried colorful signs and distributed hundreds of statements on the Appeals court decision to passersby and people waiting for the bus. Many people who stopped to take a flier stayed to engage in discussion.
On May 31 in Seattle (picture at right), Native American community leader Harold Belmont organized a special fundraising dinner in Seattle for Native American and other friends of the Cuban Five, to support their cause. It was held at El Centro de La Raza, which weeks before, also sponsored a Cuban Five event. Harold, a longtime leader in American Indian Movement, and his wife Joy prepared the delicious meal of chicken adobo and salad, and a cultural program was presented. The drumming and singing were very powerful and the solidarity for the five Heroes was deeply felt. In addition to the ceremonial aspects of the drumming and the songs, a spirit plate was offered, and there was a blanket song and give-away in which we raised $316, and an additional $125 for a total of $441. It will help pay for the huge billboard to be unveiled at San Francisco's Mission and 10th St. intersection, which is being sponsored by the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. Speakers at the Seattle event included Harold Belmont, Bernice Funk from the National Lawyers Guild, Robert Maestas from El Centro, Aaron Mercreddi from The Fire This Time in Vancouver, and Jane Cutter of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.
On Thursday, June 5, The Day After the US appeals court decision to uphold the convictions of the Cuban Five, a demonstration called by an ad hoc Committee was held in front of the US Consulate in Toronto to protest the decision. In spite of the short notice and the rain, about 50 people turned out to express their outrage at the decision. Carrying signs calling for freedom of the Cuban Five, and calling the court decision unjust, the demonstraters marched and chanted.
At the conclusion of the march, lawyers Juan Carranza and Lorne Gershuny of the Lawyers' Committee for the Anti-terrorist Cuban Five, addressed the crowd. Juan reviewed the decision and its implications. He also stressed the need to continue the struggle to release the Five from prison in the U.S.
Participating organizations included the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association, Free the Five Cultural Committee, Toronto Forum on Cuba, Free the Cuban Five, Communist Party of Canada, Socialist Action, and Worker to Worker.
Statement released by the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity Party:
The Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) expresses its concern about the decision by the Federal Court of Appeals in Atlanta, USA, upon ratifying the convictions of the Cuban Five, imprisoned for 10 years in this country.
The panel of three of judges of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals of Atlanta, Georgia, announced a verdict of 99 pages in which it returned to the same Miami court the cases of Ramón Labañino (life sentence plus 18 years), Fernando González (19 years) and Antonio Guerrero (life sentence plus 10 years). The sentences of René González, (15 years) and Gerardo Hernández (two life sentences plus 15 years) remained in place.
As is recognized by different authorities and specialists, Miami is not the adequate place to revise these cases. It will once again be Joan Lenard, the same judge who presided over the cases in the Miami trial, who should convoke a special audience to issue the next decision on the three cases due for re-sentencing.
We reiterate our indignation about the unjust decision, which is in contrast to the protection that that country gives to notorious terrorists like Posada Carriles.
Guatemala, June 5, 2008
La Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca manifiesta su preocupación por la decisión de un Tribunal Federal de Apelaciones en Atlanta, Estados Unidos de América, de ratificar las condenas de Los Cinco cubanos presos desde hace diez años en ese país.
El panel de tres jueces del Onceno Circuito de Apelaciones de Atlanta, Georgia, anunció un veredicto de 99 páginas en el que retornó al mismo tribunal de Miami los casos de Ramón Labañino (cadena perpetua más 18 años), Fernando González (19 años) y Antonio Guerrero (cadena perpetua más 10 años). En tanto las sentencias de René González (15 años) y Gerardo Hernández (dos cadenas perpetuas más 15 años) permanecieron firmes.
Como se ha reconocido por diferentes autoridades y especialistas, no es Miami el lugar adecuado para conocer y revisar estos casos. Nuevamente será Joan Lenard, la misma jueza que conoció de los casos en el Tribunal en Miami quien deberá convocar una audiencia especial para emitir el próximo fallo sobre los tres casos que deben ser sentenciados nuevamente.
Reiteramos nuestra indignación por el injusto fallo que contrasta con la protección que en ese país tienen connotados terroristas como Posada Carriles.
Guatemala, 5 de junio de 2008.
Minneapolis, June 6:
Chicago, June 6:
Some of the 20 people who picketed the Federal Building in Chicago
London (UK), June 7:
Members and supporters of Rock around the Blockade demonstrated on the north pavement of Trafalgar Square on Saturday 7 June as part of the international Day After campaign, a pledge to demonstrate the day after and the Saturday after the US Court of Appeals verdict. The verdict, upholding the convictions of the Cuban 5, was announced last Wednesday.
Behind the demonstrators were photos of the five, flags, banners, posters and placards, They raised the issue of socialist Cuba and its achievements that the Cuban 5 continue to steadfastly defend; and they demanded that the Cuban 5 go free immediately, that the US get out of Guantanamo and that self-avowed terrorist Posada Carrilles face extradition and trial.
As a huge Cuban flag was waved over the demonstration and chants of 'justice for the Cuban 5, Free them now!' rang out over the square, people signed petitions, took leaflets, held placards, chanted and learned more about Cuba, the revolution and socialism. Speakers included activists from Rock around the Blockade and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! They spoke of the importance of raising the profile of the campaign and in the words of Cuban 5 civil rights Lawyer, Leonard Weinglass, building a political mass movement to demand justice for the Cuban 5. A statement in solidarity with Rock around the Blockade sent to us by Gloria La Riva, Free the Five USA, was read out, as were the inspiring words of Gerardo Hernández following the verdict: 'We'll do all the time we have to do, 30 years, 40, whatever, and as long as a single one of you is outside resisting, we are also going to resist, until justice is done.'
Huancayo, Peru, June 7:
Hoy a las 8:30 pm cerramos una jornada más de nuestras actividades del "Día Siguiente", en protesta y repudio a la injusta decisión de los Jueces de Atlanta, este 4 de junio, y nuestra consabida EXIGENCIA DE LIBERTAD INMEDIATA PARA LOS CINCO, Y ALTO AL BLOQUERO EN CONTRA DE CUBA.
Ayer como parte de la difusión de este caso se informó durante todo el día, en el frontis de nuestra institución, difundiendo en paneles, las actividades que se desarrollan en diferentes países, los pronunciamientos de protestas y nuestro pedido para que se aúnen a esta causa y manifiesten su indignación por semejante injusticia. Por la noche se proyectó en nuestro local la película "Terrorismo made in USA", es increible encontrar en unas cuantas personas tanta maldad y premeditación para causar daño, repugna ver la frialdad y cinismo de Posada Carriles para cometer sus crímenes y encima con la bendición del gobierno de los EU.
Nuestra jornada de hoy resultó muy bonita, exitosa, e impresionó favorablemente al pueblo huancaíno. Hemos confeccionado unos cartelitos, con los aspectos principales del caso de los Cinco, en un orden cronológico, más o menos unos 33 a 35 cartelitos. Portando cada persona un cartelito nos hemos movilizado por la calle principal de Huancayo, uniendo en nuestro recorrido las principales plazas de la ciudad, salimos a las 6:30 pm por que es cuando hay mayor concentración de transeúntes.
Con paso lento y en "fila india" (uno de tras de otro), avanzamos lanzando arengas en favor de los Cinco. La disposición fue la siguiente: En un mismo mastil ubicamos las banderas de Perú y Cuba, 2 juegos, uno que iniciaba la marcha y el otro al final, en seguida los cartelitos de la convocatoria del Día Siguiente (2: uno en castellano y el otro en inglés), luego uno con las páginas web principales (también 2: uno en esta ubicación y el otro en el penúltimo lugar de la fila), para q las personas que se interesen puedan conocer más del caso, enseguida, uno con el título de la "exposición móvil" que reza:
"LA VERDAD POR SOBRE TODOS LOS MIEDOS"
LA HISTORIA NO CONTADA
EL JUICIO MÁS LARGO DEL MUNDO
luego el resto de cartelitos empezando por presentar a los Cinco muy brevemente y desde el mometo en que fueron tomados prisioneros. Considero que logramos nuestro objetivo de llamar la atención de los transeúntes, quienes mostraron deseos de conocer y se les vió muy hábidos de leer. Como la hora nos ganó por hoy suspendimos la proyección fílmica.
Mañana seguiremos con nuestras acciones, estamos convencidos que también será un éxito. Ya les comento.
Los Angeles, June 6:
Supporters from all over Southern California – and even some from Northern California, gathered this past Friday, June 6 in front of the CNN building to denounce the recent decision in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the unjust and outrageous convictions of the Cuban Five.
The demonstration took place right after work at 5:00 p.m. in the heart of Hollywood. Many onlookers stopped to find out about the Cuban Five as protestors chanted, “Jail Posada, Free the Five!” and “Who are the terrorists in the world today? Bush, Posada and the CIA!”
A short rally brought the vibrant action to a close. Speakers representing several Cuba solidarity groups voiced opposition to the travesty of the five heroes’ incarceration while real terrorists roam free throughout the streets of Miami. These groups included the ANSWER Coalition, the National Committee to Free the Five, and the International Action Committee.
The group was also joined by Lucilla Esguerra, socialist candidate for California State Assembly, who called for the immediate release of the Five and pointed to the hypocracy of the U.S. war on terror.
National Committee member Bill Hackwell, delivered a moving and militant message he received from Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Five. In the message, which Hackwell received when he went to visit Gerardo, the unjustly imprisoned Cuban, who has been handed two life sentences by the crooked U.S. justice system, sounded the call to remain vigilant and to continue the fight until victory.
Ukraine, June 5-8
Dear friends of Cuba and the Cuban Five:
This is a brief report of the actions that we have been organizing in Ukraine for the freedom of our Five Heroes:
1. Development of literature in Russian on the decision of the Court of Appeals of Atlanta, on June 5;
2. Distributing that material by Internet throughout the Russian-speaking countries: Ukraine, Russia, Kazhakstan, Moldova, on June 5;
3. Two events in solidarity with the Five in Odessa on June 7, with the participation of 40 people in each one, an inter-active seminar, distribution of materials, and showing of Mission Against Terror;
4. Participation in the preparatory assembly of the European Social Forum, which will take place in Sweden in September. The assembly took place in Kiev on June 6, 7, 8: Intervention, distribution of materials, we placed placards and photos of the Five in the hall, we made new contacts and we planned new activities;
5. Preparation of a protest in front of the U.S. embassy in Kiev, which will take place on June 11, 9:00 am. We will keep you updated.
THE FIVE WILL RETURN!
Queridos Amigo todos de Cuba y Los Cinco:
Brevemente les reporto las acciones que venimos desarrollando desde Ucrania Por la libertad de Nustros Cinco Héroes:
1. Elaboración de un material en idioma ruso sobre la decisión del Tribunal de apelaciones de Atlanta el 5 de junio;
2. Distribución de este material a través de internet por toda la región de los apíses ruso parlantes: Ucrania, Rusia, Kazajastán, Moldova, el 5 de junio;
3. Desarrollo de dos encuentros de solidaridad con Los Cinco en la ciudad de Odesa el día 7 de junio, con la participación de 40 personas en cada una: seminario interactivo, distribución de materiales, proyección de Misión conra el terror;
4. Participación en la Asamblea preparatoria del Foro Social Europeo, que se desarrollará en Suecia en septiembre. Esta Asmablea se desarrolló en Kiev los días 6, 7 y 8 de junio: intervención, distribución de materiales, se situaron pancartas y fotos de Los Cinco en la sala, se hicieron nuevos contactos y planeamos nuevas actividades;
5. Preparación de la manifestación ante la embajada de EEUU en Kiev, que se realizará el 11 de junio a partir de las 9.00 am.
LOS CINCO VOLVERAN!!!
Philadelphia, June 6:
Two of us took to the streets outside the US federal appeals courthouse at 6th and market streets in Philadelphia. Had the opportunity to distribute about 100 fliers to people leaving the courthouse as well as to visitors from out of town.
Huancayo, Peru, June 8:
Boston, June 6:
Local activists from the July 26th Coalition and A.N.S.W.E.R. Boston held a stand out in support of the Cuban Five, as part of an international call of action to demand their freedom. A beautiful color banner, with pictures of the five Cuban heroes was held, along with many other signs, as others passed out hundreds of informational leaflets explaining to people in the street why we were there. Many of the people we encountered had not heard of the Five and were appalled at the hypocrisy of the Bush administration's handling of the case and the extradition of anti-Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. Future actions and events are being planned to bring more public awareness and break the silence on this important struggle for justice.
Glasgow, Scotland, June 7:
On Saturday 7 June, Rock Around the Blockade activists in Glasgow, Scotland took to the city centre to protest against US imperialism's upholding of the convictions of the Cuban Five. Activists distributed literature on the five heroes, petitioned for their release and asked local people to stand in support of the political prisoners. Leaflets were also distributed calling on people to join the demonstration outside the US Consulate in Edinburgh, Scotland on 26 July to demand the release of the Cuban Five and an end to the US blockade of the socialist island. Venceremos!