Indiana stands up for the Cuban Five!
Successful tour covers four corners of the state
by Gloria La Riva
Dec. 5, 2007
Terre Haute photo by Jeremy Vaughan. Add'l photos by National Committee to Free the Cuban Five.
An exciting and hopeful tour of Indiana brought new supporters for the Cuban Five in all four corners of the state.
Gloria La Riva and Chris Banks of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five visited Indianapolis, Hanover, Terre Haute and South Bend, Indiana, to spread the word about the Cuban Five in the state where one of the Five has just been transferred. Their tour also included a stop in Chicago, Illinois.
Terre Haute, Indiana is where Fernando González, one of the Five, is now incarcerated, at the medium-security prison.
Everywhere we went, the reaction was strong indignation at the injustice of five anti-terrorists being imprisoned, and at the role of the U.S. government in supporting terrorist actions against Cuba. In addition to the almost 100 people who attended the events, many hundreds more received notices through the local community organizations’ contacts.
The tour began on Nov. 15 with Chris Banks speaking and showing the film Mission Against Terror to students at Hanover College in southeastern Indiana, at an event sponsored by the student group, People for Peace. The next day, he and PFP students leafleted the students on campus and gathered signatures on the petition to President Bush demanding the Five’s freedom. La Riva started the tour that same evening in Chicago, where she spoke to a public meeting organized by ANSWER Coalition, and the documentary Mission Against Terror was also shown.
Friday afternoon, La Riva and Banks presented the Five’s case again at Hanover, to an audience of 22 students and 3 professors. All the participants signed up to be kept informed and the People for Peace students pledged to stay active on this struggle.
One student, Tiffany Black, joined us for the rest of the tour in Indiana to help in the outreach and support. From Hanover we went to Indianapolis, where activists from the Unitarian Universalist congregation as well as Quakers hosted us for an evening showing of Mission Against Terror. That weekend was the massive mobilization in Ft. Benning, Georgia, against the School of the Americas, so many activists of the Terre Haute and Indianapolis area went to Georgia. But the activists who came to the Cuban Five event are committed to doing follow-up support work in that city, together with the SOA activists.
We proceeded to Terre Haute, where the Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of that city hosted an afternoon event at the church. Mission Against Terror was the centerpiece of the activity.
TV channels 2 and 10, the two local television stations, came and interviewed us. Both showed the event on the evening news, and gave information on the Cuban Five. Again, the discussion by congregation members was one of incredulity that Gerardo, Antonio, Ramón, Fernando and René are in prison. Everyone signed the petitions and agreed to help get the word out about the Five Heroes.
Read the Channel 10 coverage here
In South Bend, several young activists mobilized their friends and spread the word in that northeastern town where Notre Dame University is located. People also came from the nearby towns of Walkerton and Ft. Wayne. Again, we showed Mission Against Terror, and answered questions about the case. Local activist Bruce Hall read a touching letter that Fernando González wrote to his wife Rosa Aurora Freijanes, from the book, "Letters of Love and Hope.”