Oct. 28, 2007
On October 27, over 100,000 people took to the streets in coordinated regional and local protests in more than a dozen cities across the United States to demand an immediate end to the war in Iraq. And at many of those demonstrations, participants heard speeches, saw banners, and were given flyers promoting the cause of freedom for the Cuban Five.
One of the largest marches occurred in San Francisco, where 30,000 people marched in a demonstration sponsored by the October 27 Coalition, which was initiated by the ANSWER Coalition. A banner representing the cause of the Five was carried through the streets of San Francisco, and a booth with materials about the Five received a lot of interest and distributed a lot of literature throughout the afternoon.
At the rally which followed the march, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five representative Chris Banks delivered a rousing speech which brought a tremendous response from the crowd.
Just three days ago, U.S. President George Bush held a press conference where he announced the escalation of the vicious anti-Cuba policy that has existed in every U.S. administration, Republican or Democrat, since 1959, the year the Cuban Revolution triumphed. He announced more blockade, more attempts to isolate the country, more subversion.
Bush disguises the anti-Cuba policy, using phrases like “transition to democracy” for what would really be a blatant and bloody annexation of Cuba by force.
Bush advocated “heavy pressure for the freedom of Cuba (!)” Is he speaking about the “freedom” they have brought to Iraq? That twisted version of freedom has meant genocide for Arab people. Millions have been murdered because Iraqis, Palestinians and the brave people of the Arab world refuse to submit to slavery.
For almost 50 years the official policy of the U.S. toward Cuba has been to use food and medicine as a weapon. The blockade that the U.S. unilaterally imposes on Cuba is economic war applied at a global level.
We gather today to join our voices to the swelling chorus of millions calling for an end to the blockade, an end to the travel ban and an end to U.S. sponsored terrorism that has claimed the lives of almost 3,500 Cuban people.
Since 1959, Miami Florida has become a staging ground of terrorist attacks against Cuba. In 1961, the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba was launched from Miami. In 1976, Miami terrorists working for the CIA exploded a Cuban airliner in midair killing 73 people. The masterminds of that attack, terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, walks free in the streets of Miami. Throughout the 90s, Miami terrorists set-off bombs in Cuban hotels and restaurants killing an Italian tourist named Fabio Di Celmo.
The attacks are ongoing, but unknown to most Americans.
Also unknown to many, is the story of Five Cuban men, known as the Cuban 5 in the US, that came to the US not to hurt Americans, but to defend their homeland against U.S. terrorism. They went to Miami, and by peacefully monitoring the terrorist groups there, prevented more attacks and saved an untold number of lives.
These men, the Cuban Five, anti-terrorist fighters, are being held in U.S. prisons going on 10 years because their mission—to prevent sabotage and violent attacks against Cuba—runs counter to the U.S. policy of overthrowing the Cuban Revolution and returning Cuba to the status of a virtual U.S. colony.
The Cuban Five, like the Iraq resistance, are a symbol of resistance to the empire.
Please, visit our table and learn more about the Cuban Five heroes. Sign our petition to George Bush demanding the release of the Cuban Five from U.S. jails.
I want to thank everyone here for your continuing resistance to the imperialism.
Next March 19 will be the fifth anniversary of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five joins others in calling for a day of “no business as usual.” On March 19, we urge no school, no work and other direct action protest that will make it clear that the people are an irresistible political force.
All power to the people!
Free Iraq now!
Free the Cuban Five!