Demonstrations Around the World Denounce the Release of Posada Carriles, Demand Freedom for the Cuban Five
May 12, 2007
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On May 11, the day when the sham trial of Luis Posada Carriles on immigration fraud charges was due to start, activists in dozens of cities worldwide demonstrated against the outrageous dropping of all charges against the most notorious terrorist in the Western hemisphere, leaving him to walk the streets of Miami a free man. In the United States, demonstrations were held in New York City, Washington, El Paso, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Seattle. In Canada, protests occured in Vancouver, Montreal, Winnipeg, and Toronto, while in Latin America, Ciudad Juárez and Mexico City, Mexico, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Santiago, Chile, and three cities in El Salvador – San Salvador, Santa Ana, and San Vicente – were the site of protests, as was Madrid, Spain.
A roundup of some of the protests follows.
Many who had been planning to come from near and far to attend the opening of Posada's trial in El Paso decided instead to demonstrate in their own cities, but a spirited crowd of 25 people still came to the Federal Courthouse in El Paso from as far away as New York and San Francisco and as close as El Paso itself to voice their anger over the dropping of all charges against Posada. A wall of photos of the victims of Posada's terror bombing of Cubana Flight 455 was erected on the Courthouse lawn, along with a banner demanding freedom for the Cuban Five counterterrorists. The crowd heard from Gloria La Riva, coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, Tina Landis, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition activist from San Francisco, Judith Galarza Campos (pictured below left with La Riva), a Venezuelan activist from FEDEFAM (Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Detenidos Desaparecidos) who came to the demonstration on her way to a conference in California, and Peter Hinde and Aurolyn Luykx of the El Paso Border Peace Presence. The demonstration attracted extensive press coverage, with both local papers (the El Paso Times and El Diario de El Paso) and all four local TV stations sending crews to cover the event.
Watch a preliminary video (QuickTime) of the event here, and the coverage on local TV (YouTube format • QuickTime format).
At night, another crowd of 25 people, many who hadn't been able to attend the mid-day demonstration, gathered at a local church for a real treat - the U.S. premiere of the new Venezuelan film, "Posada Carriles: Terrorism Made in USA." The 90-minute film had a powerful impact on the audience with its attention-grabbing and truly chilling portrait of the history of Luis Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch, and their associates. All who saw it agreed that this was a film that needs to be seen by all Americans, especially because of the way it focuses not just on Posada and Bosch as individuals, but on the role the CIA and the U.S. government in general have played in their careers. The war on Cuba, as well as on the Latin American left in general, has truly been not the product of just a few right-wing individuals but very much "made in the USA," as the title of the movie indicates.
More news and photos from the El Paso demonstration here
Approximately 50 people gathered in Washington, DC, at an event initiated by the ANSWER Coalition and the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, and co-sponsored and attended by FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation) DC and Maryland, International Socialist Organization, Mexico Solidarity Network, National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee, Partnership for Civil Justice, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Socialist Workers Party, Venezuela Solidarity Network & others. The event was held in front of the Justice Department, and was addressed by a series of speakers, including Wayne Smith, the former Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba, 1979-1982, a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy, an Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University and longtime Cuba specialist, Luis Rumbaut (pictured below right), a former Assistant Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Communications Director of the Cuban American Alliance Education Fund, Inc. (CAAEF), and member of the Executive Committee of the Emergency Network of Cuban American Scholars and Artists for Change in U.S.-Cuba Policy (ENCASA/US-CUBA), Coco Magallanes of the Mexico Solidarity Network, Eugene Puryear of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, Sonia Umanzor of the FMLN DC/Maryland, and Sarah Sloan from the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five.
Numerous press outlets covered the protest, including CNN, Univision, Telesur TV, Sun-Sentinel, Reuters, AP TV, AFP, NPR, Notimex (Mexican TV), RTVI (Russian TV) and Akahata (Japan).
Watch a YouTube video of Luis Rumbaut's speech here.
Coverage of the Washington march in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Protesters want Posada prosecuted
by William E. Gibson
Washington Bureau Chief
May 12, 2007
WASHINGTON · Demonstrators gathered outside the Justice Department on Friday to demand the prosecution of anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Cariles for allegedly blowing up a Cuban airliner and eluding responsibility for three decades.
Photographs of some of the 73 victims who died in the 1976 explosion lined a sidewalk. Protesters carried signs saying "Prosecute Posada for Terrorism" or "Extradite Posada to Venezuela." And speakers in English and Spanish decried Posada's release from custody this week after a judge in El Paso, Texas dismissed immigration charges against him.
It was part of what demonstrators called a national and international day of protest. Similar rallies were planned in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, El Paso, Boston and Philadelphia as well as other American cities and some in Canada and Mexico.
South Florida demonstrators plan to rally at 11 this morning in front of federal immigration offices in Miami, where Posada reportedly went after his release.
"This is a very sad day, this is a national disgrace," said Wayne Smith, former chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and a constant critic of U.S. policy on Cuba.
"How can President Bush say that anyone who harbors a terrorist is a terrorist and then turn around and give shelter, by not charging him, to Luis Posada Cariles, who is a terrorist by his own statements."
Posada, a former CIA operative, has long called for the violent overthrow of the Cuban regime of Fidel Castro.
Cuban officials accuse him of planning a series of bombings in Havana. And Venezuelan officials are trying to extradite him in connection with the bombing of the Cubana airliner.
While refusing to send Posada to Cuba or Venezuela, U.S. officials planned to try him on charges of lying to immigration officials. But U.S. District Judge Kathleen Carone, accuing the government of misconduct, dismissed the indictment Tuesday and ordered his release.
Smith and other critics said U.S. officials should either charge Posada with terrorism or extradite him to Venezuela.
Justice officials say they are reviewing the case.
Seattle activists, accompanied by a wall of photos of Posada's victims, handed out hundreds of flyers with the ANSWER statement to the rush hour downtown crowd, and used a bullhorn to explain the case to passersby.
In Miami on Saturday, dozens of protestors gathered in front of the immigration building to protest terrorism and the dismissed indictment of Luis Posada Carriles on immigration and fraud charges.
The Alianza Martiana organization led the demonstration and demanded the Bush Administration extradite or prosecute Luis Posada Carriles for his alleged terrorist crimes. The protest received extensive media coverage from The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, The Sun-Sentinel, Le Monde (Paris), TV stations 23, 51, 6, and 4, and from EFE, AFP, and Reuters.
In Santiago, members of the Chilean Movement in Solidarity with Cuba demonstrated against the outrage and in support of freedom for the Cuban Five in front of the U.S. Embassy.
At a noon time rally around 40 people protested the release of the terrorist Posada Carilles in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The event was organized by the ANSWER Coalition and the National Committee to Free the Cuban 5. Speakers included Richard Becker, West Coast Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, Bill Martinez, an attorney with the U.S. -Cuba Cultural Exchange, Aurora Grajeda from the Coalicion Primero de Mayo, Betty Kano, API Resists and the Watada Support Committee, Mark Ostapiak of Socialist Action, Luis Talamantez, prisoner rights activist, and Chris Banks from the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. Lacei Amodei read a statement from Livio Di Celmo whose brother Favio was killed by a terrorist bomb in a Havana hotel in 1997 that was masterminded by Posada Carilles.
By far the largest protest outside Cuba was held in Mexico City. This report by
Julio Fumero from Prensa Latina:
Mexicans gave a massive response to the call by the Movement in Solidarity with Cuba, to protest the freedom of the self-admitted terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, in this capital.
Some 8,000 to 9,000 people joined in front of the U.S. embassy, to repudiate the infamous decision of the government of George W. Bush.
“I believe it is the largest mobilization achieved by our organization,” coordinator Jesús Escamilla told Prensa Latina.
There were already thousands at the beginning of the event, and a short while later the crowd marched. Chanting continually, “Cuba Yes, Yankees No,” and waving Cuban flags, they filled a large section of the central Reforma avenue, which was then closed to traffic.
Although the demonstrators were kept back 20 meters from the building because of the police and metal barricades which surrounded the diplomatic site, it didn’t matter: the voices in opposition to Washington resounded loud enough as if to be heard throughout the whole city.
The strongest epithets of over a dozen speakers were directed toward Bush, and backed by the audience, such as when he was called the biggest representative of a system of terror imposed on the world.
They also condemned the freeing of Posada Carriles as a double standard of the U.S. administration, which claims to combat terror, but protects one of the most infamous perpetrators of terrorist crimes.
They commented that at the same time, the Five Cuban Antiterrorists, who were carrying out their mission of protecting their compatriots as well as U.S. people, are suffering long and unjust sentences in United States prisons.
On that section of Reforma, in front of the place that represents the empire—as one speaker said—today's action was a militant event by the Mexican friends of the Caribbean’s largest island, which in turn resists the blockade and is in solidarity with all the peoples of the world.
In Montréal, about 30 demonstrators convened by the Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba set up a picket line in front of the U.S. Consulate from 4 to 6 p.m., demanding justice for Posada and freedom for the Cuban Five. The picket was spirited, and included such chants as:
Bush/Carriles/ complices/Non au terrorisme
Chavez /Chavez/ a raison/ L'ONU/doit mettre Carriles en prison
Prison pour le bourreau ! / Liberté pour les cinq Héros !
Non à la politique de deux poids deux mesures des États-Unis
Extradez le terroriste Carriles au Venezuela !
Demonstrators paraded in front of the Consulate with flags from Cuba, the FMN, and the red and black of the 26th of July Movement, along with various signs and placards. They distributed flyers to passersby on René Lévesque Boulevard, filled with people leaving their offices on Friday afternoon. They also distributed a press release to the press.
New York City
On Friday, May 11, around 100 people took part in a protest to demand the immediate extradition of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela. The protest took place outside Federal Plaza in the heart of downtown Manhattan. With lively music and determined chanting, protesters picketed for about an hour and a half with signs that read "Stop Harboring Terrorist Luis Posada" and "Extradite Posada, Free the Cuban Five!"
Along with the picket line, there was a short program. Speakers included Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General, Father Luis Barrios of the Iglesia San Romero de las Americas - UCC, Heidi Boghosian, Director of the National Lawyers Guild, Karina Garcia, Chair of the Columbia University student group Lucha, Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, Luis Miranda of CASA de las Americas, Francesca Villar from the ANSWER Club at Bronx Community College, and Jeanette Caceres from the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Speakers pointed out the hypocrisy of the U.S. government's "war on terror," when it comes to terrorists they themselves trained and directed. Luis Miranda of CASA de las Americas commented that this not an example of a "double standard" because "there was no standard to begin with." Heidi Boghosian, Director of the National Lawyers Guild, spoke on the need to continue the fight for the freedom of the Cuban Five, whose trial and convictions were riddled with violations. Brian Becker of the ANSWER Coalition emphasized that Luis Posada Carriles should be understood as only one soldier in a CIA-trained counterrevolutionary army.
After each speaker, protesters broke into chants like "Extradite Posada, Free the Cuban Five," "Bush and Posada, partners in crime," and "Who's the biggest terrorist in the world today? Bush, Posada and the CIA!" Among the protesters were student organizers from John Jay College, members of the Dominican young women's organization Da Urban Butterflies, antiwar organizers, community activists, and Cuba solidarity activists.
On May 11th in Vancouver people fighting for peace and social justice protested as part of the International Day of Action to demand the extradition of notorious anti-Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela and for freedom for the Five Anti-Terrorist Cuban Heroes. Two events were co-organized by Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver and Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) and endorsed by more than 30 social justice groups, to bring people together in Vancouver for this important day.
U.S. Consulate picketed
The first event was a dynamic picket action held in front of the U.S. Consulate. 84 people gathered at the U.S. consulate to protest the outrageous release of Posada from prison. The first speaker of the day was Kelly White, an Indigenous Coast Salish Elder and independent media activist who opened the protest powerfully with a welcoming to unseeded Coast Salish territory. Following Kelly, David Whittelsey, organizer with the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver and veteran of the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. outlined the case of Posada within the context of the U.S. "war on terror". The next speaker was Charles Boylan, organizer with the Communist Party of Canada Marxist-Leninist, who emphasized the growing resistance in Latin America to U.S. imperialism. Then, Lindsay Clarke, coordinator of the Social Justice Committee at Capilano College read a letter that was to be delivered to the U.S. consulate. After the letter was read a delegation from the picket went inside the consulate to deliver the letter. While the delegation was inside, the protesters continued chanting: "Extradite Posada to Venezuela Now!" and "Justice for the Cuban Five!" Nati Rosales of the FMLN Vancouver spoke next, finishing her talk by saying "Posada is the vomit of the earth!" The next speaker, Marysol Torres, spoke on behalf of the Vancouver Internationalist Bolivarian Circles "Bob Everton", about the numerous terrorist crimes committed by Posada in Venezuela and other Latin American Countries. After Marysol, Rosa Quiro, organizer with the Solidarity Coalition for a United Latin America, gave a powerful speech asking for unity in all countries to bring justice to Posada and for the Five Cuban Heroes. The last speaker of the picket was Ernesto Nañez from Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) who wrapped up the picket by saying, "Justice will be ours and we will not rest until we expose people like Posada Carriles, a symbol of the limitless tyranny of the empire."
More photos here
Participants in the picket were encouraged to come back to the U.S. consulate on June 26 for the next monthly picket for the Cuban Five.
Over 60 people came after the successful picket to sit down for a more in depth forum and discussion on the case of the Five Cuban Heroes and Anti-Cuban Terrorist Posada Carriles. MC of the evening Sophie Ziner opened the forum, by explaining Posada's 1976 bombing of Air Cubana flight 455, just one of his many horrendous crimes. Giving an introduction to the forum, Wilson Muñoz coordinator of the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver spoke and welcomed everyone to the forum. Wilson read the names of the 5 heroes and asked people at the end to say "with us always and ever." The first speaker was Xiomara Zazueta a political and social justice activist from Mexico working with the Solidarity Coalition for a United Latin America. Xiomara spoke about U.S. plundering of Latin America from the perspective of Mexico and connected this to the growing resistance to neo-liberal policies in all Latin American countries. The next speaker was Lindsay Clarke, coordinator of the Social Justice Committee at Capilano College and one of the acting co-ordinators of the Vancouver Communities in Solidarity of Cuba. Lindsay outlined the case of terrorist Posada and stated, "Luis Posda Carriles is not only an anti-Cuban terrorist but a well known terrorist through all Latin America. The United States not only harbors but also supports Posada. So by their own logic that makes Bush and his government a full scale terrorists."
The final speaker of the forum was Noah Fine, coordinator of the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver, who wrapped up the forum explaining who the Five Cuban Heroes are, "The anti-terrorist work of the Five Heroes is not finished. It is our responsibility to finish the job of the Cuban Five and bring justice against Posada and freedom for the five anti-terrorist Cuban Heroes." Discussion was vibrant with many people participating and giving ideas about how to organize around the case of Posada and the Five Heroes.
The May 11th International Day of Action was well received, with broad coverage in the grass roots, community and ethnic news media as well as main stream media in Vancouver. In preparation for the International Day of Action, on May 10th Vancouver and Victoria Cuba solidarity activists successfully placed a full page ad in the 24 Hours daily newspaper, exposing Luis Posada Carriles and the U.S. government and in defense of rights of the Five Cuban Heroes held in the U.S. jails. The 24 Hours newspaper has a daily distribution of 300,000 in Vancouver and Lower Mainland. Following that, on May 11th itself, there was significant news clip regarding picket protest in the same daily newspaper! Click here to view the ad and article.
Vancouver activities on the May 11th, International Day of Action were a great success for spreading out the defense of rights of the Five Cuban Heroes and exposing the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. It also established and achieved two very important political objectives. One, it made the Five Cuban Heroes and the terrorist Posada an issue that could be brought to the attention of thousands of working and human loving people, and second, it showed that great opportunities and openings exist especially to introduce the case of Five Cuban Heroes to broad layers of society.
On Friday, May 11, a small group of about a dozen members gathered in front of the William S. Moorhead Federal Building in Downtown Pittsburgh to join others across North America in protesting the release of international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.
The protest was initiated by the Free People’s Movement around the demand to detain and extradite Luis Posada to Venezuela, and drew endorsements from the Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialists, the Pittsburgh Palestinian Coalition, the Pittsburgh-Montanzas Sister City Committee, and Titus North – the Green Party’s 2006 candidate for U.S. Congress.
The Minnesota Cuba Committee held a protest against the release of Posada Carilles on Wednesday, May 16. It was held in front of the U.S. courthouse in Minneapolis and attracted about 35 people. Representatives from Univision and KFAI radio were there to conduct interviews. Univision filmed the protest.
A short (15-second) video clip of the action can be watched here.
More than 40 people participated in a picket line and speak out sponsored by Chicago ANSWER.