Sunday, April 29, 2012

5 Days for the Cuban 5 in Washington D.C.

Havana April 26, 2012

5 Days for the Cuban 5 in Washington D.C.

Nuria BaRbosa León

Brick by brick the mainstream media wall of silence surrounding the case of the Cuban Five is coming down. Alicia Jrapko, coordinator of the International Committee for the Release of the Cuban Five told Cubadebate: "We have managed to break through the mainstream media a bit. Univisión had impartial coverage for the first time."

The Friday evening and Saturday demonstrations during the five days of action for the Five in Washington D.C. were covered by television channels that included C-SPAN, Hispan, Univisión, Russia Today and Telesur.

The event organized in the U.S. capitol by the International Committee for the Release of the Cuban Five ended Saturday, 21st April, with a day full of action, events and planning workshops.

At 10 am a group of religious from different denominations held a brain storming session to work out strategies for future action. The Reverend Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, former Secretary General of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA and the Reverend Dora Arca from the Cuban Pastoral Platform were among those advocating further action for justice for the Cuban Five.

A peaceful demonstration supporting the release of the Cuban Five was held outside the White House beginning at 1:00 pm on Saturday. The large numbers already in D.C. were boosted by the arrival of four buses of supporters from New York and other U.S. cities.

The hundreds of activists carried banners, placards and posters all demanding that Obama release the imprisoned Cubans immediately.

A letter of appreciation and support in the name of the Five from Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Five who is serving two life sentences and fifteen years on trumped-up charges, was read out and received enthusiastically by those present.

Representatives from different solidarity organizations across the U.S. and other parts of the world followed Gerardo’s message with others from individuals and committees promising to continue the struggle until the Cuban Five are free and with their families in Cuba.

Cindy Sheehan brought the five days of action to a close at a meeting held in the Bolivarian Room of the Venezuelan embassy. In a moving and sincere manner Cindy explained her reasons for becoming involved with the case of the Five and expressed her admiration and fondness for the mothers of the incarcerated men.

According to Alicia Jrapko "The 5 days have been for me the best action or project we have ever done. From many angles it is the best. We have reached out to many people. We had an event with panelists of the most diverse ideas and ways of thinking. We were able to bring together a number of organizations that usually don’t work together."

"It was super important and, yes, we are very tired but happy."

Activities in numerous countries

In London’s Trafalgar Square hundreds gathered to demand the immediate release of the Five and unfurl a giant 15-meter banner on the initiative of the Cuba solidarity organization, Rock around the Blockade. Actions were planned in Glasgow, Scotland and in London an exhibition of graphic works by Antonio Guerrero and Gerardo Hernández, is continuing.

In Mexico City, supporters of the Five assembled in front of the U.S. embassy to chant slogans calling for their freedom, while in Russia, the Venceremos movement issued a statement calling on Obama to free the prisoners and right the injustice.

In Managua, the Nicaraguan Parliament approved a resolution demanding that the U.S. government free the anti-terrorist Cubans.

In the Dominican Republic, the television program Rebeldes, on the Tierra América 12 channel, was devoted to the issue.

In Germany, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Spain, Italy, Peru, Turkey, Sweden and Ukraine events were held in solidarity with the Five. While in Cuba, representatives from the brigades of more than 2,000 youth from 83 countries who are studying in the province of Villa Clara, organized a public event describing the tortuous legal process and demanding justice.

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