Saturday, September 30, 2006
Never before in the US
Miami, Sep 30 (Prensa Latina) Last Saturday in Washington DC, two memorable events took place in the development of a campaign for the release of the Cuban five, unjustly imprisoned in the United States for fighting terrorism: Gerardo, Ramon, Antonio, Fernando and Rene.
The solidarity movement for the five Cubans has never before been able to gather so many people in one event to demand their immediate release and to condemn the U.S. policy that has promoted terrorism against the Cuban people for more than 40 years, while at the same time providing protection and immunity for terrorists who plan and engage in these malevolent acts from U.S. territory.
More than 600 people from around 30 U.S. cities and states and from Canada, gathered in the federal capital in response to a call from the U.S. Free the Five National Committee. In addition to Washington D.C. demonstrators came from the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Providence, Albuquerque, Detroit, Chicago and Fort Lauderdale and from the states of Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, Tennessee, Kentucky, Connecticut and Maine.
Fifty-one participants were Cuban immigrants from Miami, members of organizations that make up that city´s Alianza Martiana, along with two Cuban immigrants from Key West and another two from Tampa. In total 54 Cubans residing in Miami.
Each of these individuals paid for their own travel and expenses in Washington and forfeited their wages for the missed days of work, which for many was a significant sacrifice. If we consider an average cost of $300 per person, the total for 51 who came from Miami would be more than $15,000, a respectable amount for working people, students and retirees of our group from Miami. Similarly one can estimate the cost of others who participated in the activities in Washington.
Never before has a noisy demonstration of more than 600 people marched, carrying posters and banners, three kilometers through the downtown streets of Washington demanding the release of the Cuban Five. Never before have so many people congregated in front of the White House railings chanting slogans demanding the liberation of the Five and condemning the U.S. terrorist policy against the Cuban people.
Never before has a panel included speakers from such dissimilar political and ideological backgrounds who came together to demand the liberation of the Five and to condemn terrorism against Cuba, as was the case with the symposium which, attended by some 300 people, took place in the George Washington University in that capital at the end of the march.
The panel of speakers was made up as follows: Francisco Letelier, the son of Orlando Letelier, the former foreign minister of the Chilean government headed by Salvador Allende and a principle opposition figure at the time of his assassination, ordered by the dictator Augusto Pinochet and executed by terrorists from the Cuban ?"American ultra-right in that same city of Washington exactly 30 years ago on September 21, 1976. Livio Di Celmo, the brother of Fabio Di Celmo, the Italian killed by a terrorist bomb in the Copacabana Hotel in Havana in September 1997, on the orders of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. Leonard Weinglass, a lawyer from the Five ?Ts defense team; Akbar Mohamed, international representative of the Nation of Islam, a powerful African-American institution in the United States. Wayne Smith, former head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, who has advocated a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba for many years; Heidi Boghosian, president of the National Lawyers Guild. Saul Landau, politico and aut hor of the book Assassination on Embassy Row, on the assassination of Orlando Letelier. Jos Pertierra, lawyer for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the case of that country ?Ts extradition application for terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to face charges of sabotaging a Cuban Aviation passenger plane in which 73 innocent civilians were killed 30 years ago this October 6. Peta Lindsay, university student and representative of the ANSWER anti-war coalition; Cheryl Labash, representative of the U.S. Solidarity with Cuba National Network; Gloria La Riva, coordinator of the U.S. Free the Five National Committee; and myself, representing the progressive sector of the Cuban migr community in the United States.
Never before has a select group of experts talked so clearly and eloquently on the issue as this one. It was an event that moved everyone present.
Once again the innocence of the Five, charged with committing espionage against the United States was demonstrated, as was the crime committed against them by the U.S. government by keeping them arbitrarily incarcerated for more than eight years. Likewise demonstrated once again was the responsibility of the U.S. government for promoting a state terrorist policy against the Cuban people, and for offering protection and impunity to terrorists from the Cuban-American ultra-right located in Miami and responsible for executing that policy.
Hopefully for the peace and tranquility of the world, the sentence “States that harbor and assist terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists and they will be held to account,” included in a document published by the White House on September 5 entitled Strategy of the National Security of the United States, will soon be carried out.
( ) Posted by Granma.cu on September 28, 2006.