Free the Five

Tenth Anniversary Actions Continue
International solidarity actions have continued around the globe. The US-based International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five placed a full page ad in El Diario La Prensa in New York to bring attention to the case and calling for the immediate release of the five. In the ad 10 Nobel Prize Winners, together with thousands of intellectuals, have joined the call of the “Network of Networks in Defense of Humanity” to raise their voices to highlight corporate media silence on the case. Media silence is as much an issue in New Zealand where the only regular coverage is via Scoop and community radio.

Five people are arrested at White House demanding,

"Bush: Free the Cuban Five Now!"

At a press conference held in front of the White House a 102,000 signature petition was presented. Featured speaker at the conference was Wayne Smith, former chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. Brian Becker; Gloria La Riva and Banbose Shango, Regional Coordinator of the Venezuelan Solidarity Network and Co-chair of the National Network on Cuba, also spoke strongly in support of the Cuban Five. There were also special remarks given by Judge Claudia Morcom of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute.

The civil disobedience actions demanding:

1] Free the Cuban Five immediately;
2] Grant entry visas to Adriana Perez and Olga Salanueva, and
3] Extradite Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela

Action in Aotearoa –New Zealand continues.

Paul Piesse, spokesperson for the local Cuba Friendship Society addressed a gathering on a cold Christchurch morning the Free the Five actions in New Zealand.

Paul drew comparisons between the fate of the five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters imprisoned in United States for trying to thwart terrorism while self-professed terrorist Luis Posada wanders fee. “Bush claims that those who harbour terrorists are terrorists – while Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch remain protected in the U.S. the conclusion is obvious” Paul noted.

“On the evidence it is not unreasonable to conclude that the Bush regime is behind all the political destabilization taking place in Latin America” Paul noting. “Just two hours ago President Hugo Chavez ordered the American ambassador to Caracas, to leave the country within 72 hours” a measure taken in solidarity with Bolivia. The gathering also discussed the US torture camp at Guantanamo.

Aid to Cuba is being complicated by outdated cold-war politics

The US Government has lifted the amount of cash that ‘authorised’ organisations that work with Cuban dissidents may send but refused to increase the dollar limits that Cuban-Americans can send to relatives at home. The Government has also refused a request from the Cubans to buy material to rebuild damaged homes and infrastructure. The New York Times Editorial of September 11 said “(w)e believe the embargo against Cuba is about as wrongheaded a policy as one can devise. It gives credibility to the regime in Havana while contributing to the misery of ordinary Cubans, all for the sake of some votes in Florida.

Hard to disagree with really.