Five Cuban men, in U.S. jails for six years, have gained support throughout the world because of the justice of their cause — defending Cuba against terrorism. The enormity of their sentences — life sentences for three of them — and the hideous irregularities in their trial have focused necessary attention on their appeals as well as easing their lives in jail and helping family members. But increasingly the men themselves are becoming the story.
Now their words and example are going out to a wider world. The prisoners have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and European solidarity groups are canvassing legislators, academicians, and past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize to support the nomination.
“To fight for the liberty of the five is a duty of all the forces that are against terrorism in any part of the world. It’s to struggle for the cause of many other prisoners that, like the five, are serving out unjust jail terms in U.S. prisons,” well-known political activist Angela Davis told an audience of 1,000 in Germany Jan. 15, on the 86th anniversary of the assassination of Rosa Luxemburg. She was there to accept an award for protecting human rights.
Antonio Guerrero, one of the prisoners, sent greetings. From a prison “lockdown” in Colorado he quoted from a UNESCO report, “The State of the World’s Children 2005.” Fifteen million children have been orphaned because of AIDS. Half of the 3.6 million war dead since 1990 have been children. 640 million children are poorly housed, if at all. More than 120 million don’t attend primary school. Poverty, war, and AIDS make life miserable for one billion children, Guerrero said, so why are these facts relegated to the back page of the Economist?
Guerrero blamed wealthy nations for demanding debt repayments from poor countries, contributing almost nothing for aid, and wasting $900 billion on arms. Through the Cuban Revolution, he, the child of working parents, could study civil engineering in the Soviet Union. One billion people in the world today are illiterate. If they could read and write, they could understand humanity’s crisis. They could “unite to construct a system in which justice, peace, and solidarity reign … We possess transforming ideas like those of Rosa Luxemburg, and we say with total conviction ‘A better world is possible.’”
The European-Cuban Solidarity Conference, meeting Nov. 20 in Luxemburg, took up the prisoners’ cause. Representatives of 21 nations called upon European nations “to increase pressure on the government of the United States to free the five Cuban political prisoners” and to respect families’ visiting rights.
Meanwhile, the wait is still on for the 11th District Court to hand down a decision on the prisoners’ appeals of their convictions and sentencing. And U.S. solidarity groups are continuing their campaign to press congresspersons to intervene with the State Department so that Adriana Perez and Olga Salanueva may visit their husbands in jail. Of special note are advertisements on behalf of the wives placed in major newspapers by the Seattle-Cuba Friendship Committee and paid for by donations from all over the country.
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Documentary on the Cuban Five
“Mission Against Terror” on tour
A new documentary on the Cuban Five, called “Mission Against Terror,” co-produced by Radio
Havana Cuba reporter Bernie Dwyer and Cuban TV producer Roberto Ruiz Rebo, will travel the United States in 22 cities, with 30 showings, through Feb. 27. Bernie Dwyer will appear at each venue, to discuss the film. For the tour schedule, call (415) 821-6545, or e-mail: