Billboard demands freedom for Cuban 5

SAN FRANCISCO — During the month of August, travelers on a main route through downtown San Francisco are encountering a vivid reminder about the ongoing struggle to free five Cubans jailed for years in the United States because they sought to expose terrorist acts against their country emanating from U.S. soil.

The giant billboard, 35 by 75 feet, occupies the side of a building at Mission St. on Tenth St. It features the portraits of Gerardo Hernández, René González, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Fernando González, along with a call for their freedom and contact information for the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, which initiated the billboard.

A similar billboard was displayed in downtown Los Angeles during February. The committee is also demanding visas for the wives of two of the prisoners, who for many years have been denied permission to visit their husbands.

Noting in a statement that Sept. 12 will mark the tenth year the men have been incarcerated in U.S. prisons, the committee points out that they were in the U.S. “to prevent the continuation of the nearly 50-year spree of terrorism conducted against Cuba and supporters of Cuba in the U.S. and around the world by right-wing gangs based in Miami.” The committee added, “Instead of being honored as anti-terrorists, they were unjustly imprisoned and falsely convicted by the U.S. government, and face sentences as long as double life.”