Social Forum Demands End of US Blockade of Cuba

Participants at the 3rd Americas Social Forum held this weekend in Guatemala extended their solidarity with Cuba and demanded that Washington lift its economic, commercial and financial blockade of the Caribbean nation.

Nalu Farias, an activist with the “Marcha Mundial de Mujeres,” (World Women March) told Prensa Latina news agency that Cuba, which has helped so many nations, now needs all their support.

Emeterio Toj Medrano, of the Wakib Quej Indigenous Coordinator organization, recalled that despite Washington’s economic blockade, Cuba has been able to offer its friendly hand and has taken health care to many countries.

Mederos also referred to the huge damage inflicted by hurricanes Gustav and Ike on the Caribbean nation and to the courage of the Cuban people in facing such a situation, which reveals the necessity of unity to overcome adversities.

Participants at the Forum also expressed solidarity with the five Cuban anti-terrorists unfairly imprisoned in the USA for over a decade, demanding their immediate and unconditional liberation.

Veniero Gaggio, an Italian residing in El Salvador, said the trial was partial and hurt those who were fighting a real threat against Cuba. He criticized the media silence over the issue, and told Prensa Latina that "thousands know nothing of this great injustice." Gaggio said there was a campaign underway among Salvadorans in the United States to demand freedom for the Cuban Five.

Fernando Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino and Antonio Guerrero were detained in 1998, submitted to a process plagued with irregularities, and condemned to severe sentences from 15 years to double life.

Dora Carcano, president of the International Democratic Federation of Women, said the struggle for justice for the five has extended all over the world, and slammed the US government for denying visitors visas to their spouses. Carlos Amezquita, coordinador of the Anti-Imperialist Bloc, rejected the extension of the punishment to the families, which violates the most elemental international treaties.

The Social Forum “Americas”, underway at the San Carlos University, in Guatemala, was dedicated to Cuba on Friday, on the occasion of the 140 anniversary of the start of independence wars against Spanish colonial rule.

The Cuban Five are Innocent, affirms Leonard Weinglass

Leonard Weinglass, defence attorney for the Cuban Five said, during a speaking tour of Chile, that the five men were given extremely long sentences not because they had violated US laws, but because they exposed those who really had violated them.

The US lawyer said that after the five Cubans infiltrated a Florida-based terrorist network, they reveal the hypocrisy of George W. Bush, who protects such criminals in the United States. During an interview with Chile’s Punto Final magazine, Weinglass, affirmed the innocence of the Five, going on to explain the whole judicial process, which started with an unfair and biased trial in the US city of Miami, Weinglass said he will request the revision of the case by the US Supreme Court in December.

In response to a question by Punto Final about the upcoming change of government in the United States, Weinglass said that the Chilean people know very well that the stepping down of a president from power does not mean the end of all evils, because he has left his imprint for continuity. It has been very encouraging to see that the left is alive in Chile, and at that it is the centre of the struggle against the legacy of Augusto Pinochet, said the US lawyer.

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