Info on Cuban 5

Could you please tell me the status of the Cuban Five? I think it’s likely that the addresses could have changed and some are released by now? Had long wanted to write them, but sloth overcame me. If you have info I’d be delighted to hear. Thank you.

Ruth Wilson
Rutherfordton NC

Editor’s note: The Cuban Five were denied a new trial and may appeal that decision. Actions like writing to these political prisoners are important, as is writing letters to the editor to your local newspaper to educate the public on this important case. (See PWW 9/23-29 article for talking points.)

Addresses are:

Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, No. 58739-004, USP Victorville, PO Box 5500, 3777 Air Expressway Road, Adelanto CA 92301;

Ramón Labañino Salazar, No. 58734-004, USP Beaumont, PO Box 26035, Beaumont TX 77720 (address your letter to “Luis Medina”);

Fernando González Llort, No. 58733-004, FCI Oxford, PO Box 500 Oxford WI 53952-0500 (address to “Rubén Campa”);

René González Sehwerert, No. 58738-004, FCI Marianna, PO Box 7007, Marianna FL 32447-7007;

Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, No. 58741-004, USP Florence, 5880 State Hwy 67, South Florence CO 81226.

Hazleton and immigrants

I saw José Cruz’s article about Hazleton (PWW 9/16-22). I’m somewhat active in the immigrant rights movement, but my family is from Hazleton and it has been a favorite place of mine all my life.

Hazleton has a good progressive history. And it had quite a bit of past ethnic conflict also. Luzerne County was famous for the Communist-led Luzerne County Labor Party in the 1930s. It was a center for union agitation, particularly of the miners and garment workers.

For many years various crime syndicates were also prominent in Hazleton. In my lifetime I remember that a mob-connected guy on the FBI’s most wanted list was walking around Hazleton unmolested. And there were other forms of corruption also — like having to pay bribes to get jobs working for the city or teaching. It’s ironic that this could be tolerated but modern-day immigrants aren’t.

I don’t remember a time when there was not ethnic conflict there. Relations between the Irish and the Italians were never good. Each ethnic group had its own church and its own power base. This also entered into our unions.

I think these circumstances and events indicate that Spanish-speaking people around Hazleton have to think about consolidating political power and organize a union base. The hospitality industry in the Poconos needs to be organized somehow.
Thanks for your good article!

Bob Rossi
Salem OR

Poets for Palestine

I am the editor of the forthcoming book of poetry, “Poets for Palestine.” I am working on the project with Al Jisser, the group that helped put on the “Made in Palestine” and “Three Arab Painters” in New York art exhibitions. The proceeds of the book will go to Al Jisser to fund future cultural projects related to Palestine and the Middle East.

Our goal is to bring together poets, spoken word artists, hip hop artists, Palestinians, Arabs, Jews, Americans and all those who choose to raise their voice for humanity and justice. The book will also feature work related to Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan. In addition to its written works, Poets for Palestine will feature art created by Palestinians artists from the Occupied Territories and throughout the world. Inquiries and submissions can be sent to

Remi Kanazi
Via e-mail

Nuclear power for space OK

In response to the article on solar power in space by Karl Grossman (PWW 9/23-29):

Solar power on earth or even out to Mars is one thing because solar energy density is sufficient for relatively small solar arrays to generate large quantities of electricity. The distant planets require larger fold-up panels that have to unfold in space. The folding mechanism must be light in weight for launch and fold out perfectly in space, keeping in mind that the size increases as the square of the distance from the sun.

The Cassini spacecraft went to Saturn, so its 600 watt power supply near earth would have been 240 square feet in area using 25 percent efficient (the best) solar cells. However, at Saturn, that area increases to 23,500 square feet. Such a solar array is far too heavy for launching in the first place as well as being practically impossible to unfold perfectly once in outer space. While the danger of nuclear-powered spacecraft re-entry certainly has to be considered as well as possible explosion at launch, the risk involved has to be weighed against not exploring outer space at all. That is the real choice involved. People need to keep in mind that nothing on earth is 100 percent safe. Everyday we all inadvertently take serious safety risks far in excess of what is involved with space exploration experiments.

It is suggested that Grossman and others would be on far more influential ground if they concentrated on the gigantic earth based nuclear power plants with not only their safety problems but more importantly their having no satisfactory solution to the nuclear waste disposal problem. We in the Southern California Federation of Scientists believe that nuclear power for small deep-space probes is the only good use of nuclear power.

Another earthbound nuclear radiation hazard rarely heard about is the use of a deadly speck of radioactive material is each ionization-type smoke detector. The small print on the box says that users are not to discard these devices but return them to the manufacturer for disposal. How many people even know this, let alone abide by the instruction?

Dr. Sheldon Plotkin
Via e-mail

Sheldon Plotkin is an executive board member of Southern California Federation of Scientists ( and holds a Ph.D. as a professional engineer.