U.S.-based solidarity activists awarded Friendship Medal in Cuba
by Gloria La Riva
May 12, 2011
Ricardo Alarcón, president of National Assembly; Gloria La Riva, coordinator of National Committee to Free the Cuban Five; Rosemari Mealy, veteran leader of the Venceremos Brigade; and Salvador Valdes Mesa, general secretary of the Cuban Workers Federation
Gloria La Riva and Rosemari Mealy, longtime activists whose work includes years of solidarity with the Cuban Revolution, were awarded the Friendship Medal by the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba. The awards were petitioned for by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples. La Riva, coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, and Mealy, veteran leader of the Venceremos Brigade, were each awarded the medal at the conclusion of the International Conference in Solidarity with Cuba, in the Palace of Conventions in Havana. Ricardo Alarcón, president of the National Assembly pinned the medal on Mealy and Salvador Valdes Mesa, general secretary of the Cuban Workers Federation pinned it on La Riva.
The conference was attended by almost 1,000 foreign delegates who participated in the May Day rally the day before. In addition to her acceptance speech, La Riva urged the audience to get involved in the efforts to publicize the violations committed by the U.S. government in its manipulation of the Miami media during the Five's trial, and to demand the Five's immediate freedom.
Gloria La Riva's acceptance speech:
Dear members of the presidium, dear sisters and brothers of Cuba, dear family members of the Cuban Five:
I am truly grateful to receive this medal and I accept it on behalf of the compañeras and compañeros who work with me without let-up in solidarity with Cuba, and in the other struggles against imperialism.
One person alone cannot achieve gains without the collective work of many people who are committed to just causes. There are many people, the majority youth, who have worked very hard in the struggle for the Five Cuban Heroes, especially in the current efforts to obtain information on the Miami journalists paid by the government, and in the mobilization against Posada Carriles in El Paso, Texas. They do it without personal recognition and with a revolutionary attitude. Therefore I receive the medal for them as well.
To you, Cuban compañeros, Cuba and its seasoned people have shown humanity that a united and determined people with principles can successfully resist the most aggressive and dangerous imperialist power the world has ever known. The heroic mission of the Five continues behind the prison bars and they also show us how to resist. We are by their side until and beyond their liberation.
The example of Cuba is vital proof that only socialism can resolve the crises of humanity and the planet.
Thank you, people of Cuba, for your unbreakable defense of socialism and your stellar internationalism.
Thank you Fidel for your revolutionary leadership and your life.
We wish you success in the follow-up to the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba.
Long Live Fidel and Raúl!
Free the Cuban Five!