"We salute your struggles from behind prison walls"
by Ben O'Shaughnessy
July 23, 2007
Reprinted from The Militant
ATLANTA June 28—"From inside the prisons, we have been following the just struggles that all of you are involved in, from immigrant rights, to women's equality, to working towards a safe environment, to the struggle against racism and discrimination, and to end the war and occupation of Iraq and elsewhere,” wrote Gerardo Hernández in a message sent to the U.S. Social Forum on behalf of the Cuban Five.
Top: Cuban Five workshop
Bottom: Literature table of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five
The Cuban Five—Hernández, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero, René González, and Ramón Labañino—were framed-up by the FBI and have been locked up in U.S. prisons since 1998. They were convicted in 2001 on phony charges that included "conspiracy to commit espionage” for the government of Cuba, and, in the case of Hernández, "conspiracy to commit murder." They received sentences ranging from 15 years in prison to a double-life term.
Hernández's message was read to a workshop today entitled "The Campaign to Free the Cuban Five.” The speakers' panel included Leonard Weinglass, the main attorney in the United States for the Five; Roberto González, a defense lawyer and the brother of René González; Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild; and Gloria La Riva of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five.
Puerto Rican independence fighter and former U.S. political prisoner Rafael Cancel Miranda (see photo box above), and Marcia Campos, president of the Women’s International Democratic Federation, were in the audience.
"Why were the Cuban Five in the U.S.?” asked Roberto González. "Why is it necessary for five Cubans to be in Miami penetrating terrorist organizations?” González cited examples of attacks carried out against Cuba by counterrevolutionary groups operating from U.S. soil with Washington's backing. Two tables at different forum venues were dedicated to the campaign to win their freedom. Both displayed large banners and distributed literature on the case. Other literature tables distributed books and informational brochures on the case.
On June 28, more than 20 people attended a showing of ¡Salud!, a new documentary on Cuba’s internationalist medical missions around the world.
Other workshops centered on Cuba’s health-care system and internationalism; the Cuban Revolution and the struggle for women’s rights; and Cuba's role in the fight against imperialist trade pacts.