Days of action demand freedom for the Cuban Five
From May 30 to June 5, activists from around the world gathered in Washington, D.C., to demand freedom for the Cuban Five. The week of activities, organized by the International Committee to Free the Cuban Five and supported by the ANSWER Coalition, the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five and many others, touched on a wide range of issues related to the case of the Cuban Five.
The week began with a well-attended press conference both on the case and highlighting events to come. Featured speakers included René González, one of the Cuban Five, who has been granted the right to serve his parole at home in Cuba. René continued to stress that until all his comrades were freed he did not consider himself to be entirely free, emphasizing that the time is as ripe as ever to continue to fight for the release of the Five. The press conference also featured famed leader of farm workers struggles Dolores Huerta and former editor of Le Monde Diplomatique Ignacio Ramonet. In attendance were several prominent international guests, including renowned Brazilian author Fernando Morais.
On the evening of May 30, Howard University hosted a meeting highlighting the role of Cuba in Africa, and its intersection with the case of the Cuban Five. Cuba’s heroic exploits in defeating apartheid and assisting national liberation movements in Africa were detailed, highlighted along with the fact that three of the Cuban Five were internationalist volunteers with Cuban forces in Angola, directly contributing to that victory. Speakers included Cuban Ambassador Jose Ramón Cabañas and Angolan Ambassador Alberto do Carmo Bento Ribeiro, as well as Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report and Eugene Puryear from the ANSWER Coalition.
The week of action also include a rally in front of the White House on June 1, attended by people from the D.C. area, New York City, Montreal and elsewhere, which also reached several hundred tourists visiting the area. The rally helped highlight the significant international participation, with banners flying in support of the Five from solidarity committees in places such as Quebec and Italy, with active participants from Vancouver, Argentina, and other Latin American nations. Notably, a large contingent of Cuban-Americans and Cuban immigrants from Miami had a vibrant presence. The rally was followed by an evening event at historic St. Stephens Church featuring Angela Davis.
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