Monday, May 22, 2006

Solidarity Demonstration Held to Support Cuba & Venezuela; Statements


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Originally uploaded by BABAK.MOZAFFARI.
Demonstration Held to Defend Cuba and Venezuela

March from Malcolm X Park to White House draws hundreds

By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor
Pan-African News Wire

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 20, 2006 (PANW)--Growing support for the governments and peoples of Venezuela and Cuba was evident today when various organizations and individuals gathered in the nation's capital to express their concern about the increasingly aggressive foreign policy directed at these two Caribbean and Latin American nations by the Bush administration.

Beginning at 10:00 a.m. activists rallied at Malcolm X Park located on Euclid and 15th Street, NW, to circulate leaflets, posters, Venezuelan flags as well as listen to speeches from over 25 different people calling for the full recognition of both Cuba and Venezuela as sovereign nations. After the extensive rally, activists lined up in the Park and marched on to 16th Street, NW where they paraded through the city chanting pro-Cuban and Venezuelan slogans.

The first stop of the march was the Cuban Interests Section where a delegation from the demonstration greeted the diplomats with messages of support for the foreign policy aims and objectives of the Caribbean state. Members of the delegation to stop by the Cuban Interests Section included Pam Africa of the MOVE organization, Ignacio Meneses of the US/Cuba Labor Exchange and Nellie Hester Bailey, the leader of the Harlem Tenants Council.

The demonstration continued through the streets of the nation's capital arriving eventually at Lafayette Park right across the street from the White House. After the arrival of the marchers at Lafayette Park another group of speakers continued to protest the role of the United States against Cuba and Venezuela.

This demonstration was hosted and sponsored by dozens of different organizations. For more information on the endorsing groups, just log on to the following web site at http://www.may20coalition.org


Message from Ricardo Alarcon,
President of the National Assembly of People’s Power of the Republic of Cuba

Dear sisters and brothers:

On behalf of the revolutionary Government of Cuba and the Cuban people I salute the organizers and all participants at the May 20 Hands off Venezuela and Cuba rally.

We appreciate your solidarity in our struggle for independence and justice in the face of the imperialist aggression that our people have been resisting, heroically and successfully for over 47 years. In spite of the economic blockade our people have advanced dramatically in building a new and better society and are cooperating closely with our brothers and sisters in Venezuela. We are helping many others as well in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia to improve their lives. We strongly believe that free and universal health care and education, a decent job and housing are inalienable rights that belong to everybody including the millions deprived of those rights in the United States.

We urge all of you to join us in demanding an end to the criminal and hypocritical policy of the Bush administration that continues to promote terrorism against the Cuban people as illustrated by their protection of such cold blood killers like Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles. In addition, join us also in opposition to the maintaining unjustly of the incarcerated Five Cuban heroes that were detained almost 8 years ago precisely for their efforts against those very same terrorist groups that operate with impunity and with the official protection of the US authorities.

We call upon all of you to join in the international campaign against US sponsored terrorism from September 12, when the Cuban Five will have been deprived of their freedom for 8 years, to October the 6th, which will mark the 30th anniversary of the destruction of a Cubana civilian airplane resulting in the assassination of all 73 persons on board. We should also commemorate next September 21, the 30th anniversary of the killing in Washington D.C. of Orlando Letelier and Ronnie Moffit.

Orlando Bosch was involved in the plot to murder Letelier and Moffit which is clearly reflected in recently declassified U.S. official documents. However, Bosch has never been questioned by the FBI and is living in Miami still actively pursuing his criminal endeavors.

Luis Posada Carriles is a fugitive of the Venezuelan justice from which he escaped with the help of the Reagan-Bush White House twenty years ago. The U.S. Government knows very well that he and Bosch masterminded the destruction of our airplane in 1976. The U.S. has an obligation to extradite Posada to Venezuela to continue his trial related to that heinous crime or it has the responsibility to prosecute him in the U.S. for the same crime. There is no legal alternative according to international conventions against terrorism that have been signed and ratified by the U.S. But Mr. Posada has been for more than a year under U.S. official protection and so far he has not been extradited or accused.

The detention of Gerardo, Ramon, Antonio, Fernando and Rene was determined to be arbitrary and illegal by a unanimous decision of a five member panel of U.N. human rights experts. Their convictions were reversed also by a unanimous decision of three judges of the Atlanta Court of Appeals. Those decisions were announced in May 2005 and August 2005, but the Five Cubans are still in prison subjected to cruel and unusual treatment with severe violations of their human rights including the denial of visas to the wives of Gerardo and Rene that have not been permitted to enter the U.S. to visit them.

The Five Cubans must be liberated immediately. Posada Carriles and Bosch must be prosecuted and punished as admitted and very well documented terrorists.

The cynical “war on terrorism” carried out by Bush has to be unmasked, denounced and defeated.

The aggression against the Iraqi people has to be stopped forthwith. The exploitation and discrimination against immigrant workers, the war on poor people, must end.

The threats against Venezuela and the interventionist attempts against other peoples in Latin America have to be condemned and rejected.

Let’s fight together to build bridges of friendship, peace and cooperation between the peoples of the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean. Let’s struggle united, shoulder to shoulder, towards a new and better world, a world of justice and freedom for all.

Long live the American people. Long live the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. In solidarity let’s fight together until victory forever.

Ricardo Alarcon
La Habana
May 20, 2006


DC Hands Off Cuba & Venezuela speech by Jose Pertierra on May 20,06

PUNISH, DON´T PROTECT, POSADA CARRILES

Text of speech given by José Pertierra at the Hands off Cuba and Venezuela Rally in Washington, D.C. on May 20, 2006

The first year anniversary of Luis Posada Carriles’ detention by the Bush Administration was the 17th of May. Some might view this as a cause for celebration: that a notorious international terrorist, a man known as the Osama Bin Laden of Latin America, accused of downing a passenger plane with 73 passengers on board has been caught and is in jail, presumably to await prosecution for his crimes. Yet the Bush Administration did not charge Posada Carriles with terrorism, nor has it prosecuted Venezuela’s request for his extradition—a request that has been pending since June of last year.

The only charge brought against Posada Carriles by the Bush Administration is a mere immigration infraction: i.e., entry into the United States without inspection. The Bush Administration used the immigration case against Posada to spin a tall-tale: to try and fool people into believing that the U.S. takes the Posada case seriously and to give the appearance that the wheels of justice are grinding along, when in fact the White House is simply using the immigration case as the prop with which to stonewall the prosecution of this international terrorist.

The United States is legally obligated to abide by its international treaty obligations and extradite or prosecute this criminal.

Posada Carriles stands indicted in Venezuela for 73 counts of first degree murder in relation to the downing of a passenger plane on October 6, 1976. At the time, it was worst act of terrorism perpetrated on a civilian
airliner.

Aboard the plane were 73 persons. 57 of the passengers were Cubans. 11 of them were Guyanese, most of them had just won scholarships to study medicine in Cuba. The remaining five passengers were Koreans. Those on board averaged only 30 years of age.

Traveling with the group were 24 members of the Cuban fencing team, many of them teen-agers, fresh from gold medal victories at the Youth Fencing Championship in Caracas.

Most of the bodies recovered from the wreckage were too grotesquely disfigured to be identified by their loved ones. The forensic report performed by the coroner describes the condition of the nine year old Guyanese girl whose remains were recovered from the downed aircraft: “Body of a girl around 9 years of age . . . . Brain missing, only facial bones, scalp and hair remaining. Lungs and heart destroyed. Liver and intestines shattered. Buttocks missing on right lower limb. Compound fracture of tibia and fibula . . . ” None of the 73 passengers aboard the plane survived.

In support of its extradition request, Venezuela submitted documents to the United States showing that Posada is under indictment in Venezuela for first degree murder in relation to the downing of the plane, that there is an arrest warrant outstanding against him in Caracas and that there is probable cause to hold him for trial as the mastermind of the downing of the passenger plane.

This is an airtight case. Only the Bush Administration’s desire to shelter this international terrorist impedes his extradition, but the law is clear. It obligates the United States to either extradite or prosecute.

The international treaties and conventions to which the United States is a party, obligate the Bush Administration to either extradite Posada Carriles or to prosecute him in the United States for 73 counts of first degree murder.

There is no discretion. It cannot pretend he is simply an undocumented immigrant and place him in a safe and comfortable holding facility in Texas until the extradition case goes away.

Venezuela’s extradition case is not going to go away. The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is firmly committed in the fight against international terrorism. Venezuela’s commitment is not to an a la carte war on terror, such as the Bush Administration wages: a war that distinguishes between terrorists that the U.S. prefers to protect and terrorists that the U.S. prefers to torture. All terrorists should be prosecuted. None should be tortured.

What would the Founding Fathers think of a White House that protects terrorists but persecutes those who combat terrorism? Would Jefferson and Madison recognize this country today? A country that shelters Posada, yet persecutes and punishes five brave Cubans (Gerardo, Rene, Tony, Fernando and Ramón) who came to this country to combat terrorism?

A high ranking United States government official told us last week that Venezuela should be content with the fact that Luis Posada Carriles has not been released and continues detained in an immigration holding facility. Well, President Bush, we don’t want Posada detained for mere immigration infractions. We want him tried for 73 counts of first degree murder. The families of the victims want to be sure that his crimes do not go unpunished.

At home, I have a woodcut done by my late friend, the Uruguayan artist Naúl Ojeda. Living in the woodcut in bright red ink is a Pablo Neruda poem. Part of the poem says,

Por estos muertos nuestros pido castigo
Para los que de sangre
salpicaron la Patria
pido castigo

For the sake of our dead, I ask for punishment.
For those who spilled blood in our country,
I ask for punishment

Para el verdugo que mandó esta muerte
pido castigo
Para el que dio la orden de agonía
pido castigo.

For the executioner who sent us murder
I ask for punishment
For the one who gave the order that caused our agony
I ask for punishment

Para los que defendieron este crimen
pido castigo
No quiero que me den
la mano empapada
por nuestra sangre: Pido castigo.

For those that defended this crime
I ask for punishment
I don’t want them to extend us
hands soaked with our
blood: I want them punished.

No los quiero de embajadores
tampoco en su casa tranquilos
Los quiero ver aquí juzgados
en esta plaza, en este sitio.
Quiero castigo

I don’t want to see them as ambassadors
or living comfortably in their homes.
I want to see them tried here
In this plaza, right here in this place
I want them punished.

Mr. President: we don’t want to see Luis Posada Carriles living comfortably in Miami again, while his crimes go unpunished. We don’t want to see him exhibit his fourth-grade quality paintings in a Miami gallery again. We don’t want to see him again on Miami television as an honored guest, pontificating about his warped version of freedom and democracy.

We want to see him punished. For the sake of the little nine year old girl whose body was blown to pieces by his bombs, we want him punished. For the sake of Nancy Uranga, a pregnant 22 year old fencer from Cuba, we want him punished. For the sake of the families of the 73 passengers aboard Cubana de Aviación 455, we want him punished.

For Carlos Alberto Cremata and his brothers who were mere teen-agers when they lost their father, their inspiration and their friend, Carlos Cremata Trujillo. For Margarita Morales who lost her father, Julio—the fencing team’s trainer. For Odalys Pérez, whose father Wilfredo bravely piloted the doomed plane away from Paradise Beach to avoid crashing it into the beachgoers on shore. For Camilo Rojo, whose memories of his father, Jesús, are the incomplete memories of a toddler.

For their sake, and for the sake of the pain they have endured for the past thirty years. For the pain of growing up without a father or a mother or a brother or a sister or a spouse, we want him punished. In Caracas, in Washington, or right here in front of the White House, in Lafayette Park, if you prefer.

We want this terrorist punished for his crimes, and Venezuela will not rest unless and until justice is served.

José Pertierra is an attorney, practicing in Washington, D.C. He represents the Venezuelan government in the case of Luis Posada Carriles.

From: Daniel del Solar
e-mail solarmedia@hotmail.com
cell 510 290 3022

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