In Washington, Activists Demand Change in Policy Toward Cuba

Washington, Jun 5 (Prensa Latina) – Activists from throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, are meeting in this capital today to examine and demand a change in White House policy towards Cuba.

The request is being expressed at an event titled “A New Era in USA-Cuba Relations,” as part of a vast program of activities for the third annual “Five Days for the Cuban Five in Washington DC” campaign, begun yesterday and running through June 11.

According to the International Committee to Free the Cuban Five, the event will be opened by actor Danny Glover, who is an advocate of this change and also a supporter of the efforts to free Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino and Antonio Guerrero so they can return to their country.

Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez, the other two members of the Cuban Five, are now in Cuba after having completed their prison sentences.

The solidarity group points out that these men, who were arrested in 1998 in U.S. territory, managed to frustrate “attacks against Cuba, planned and orchestrated by exile groups settled in Miami.”

The meeting will include panels about secret U.S. programs aimed at destabilizing the island (like the ZunZuneo social communication network, sponsored by USAID), the history of terrorism against Cuba, as well as an update on the legal case of the Five.

The meeting will conclude with a concert “by famous hip-hop progressive artists Dead Prez at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus Auditorium.”


(Juventud Rebelde) – Martin Garbus, lawyer for the Cubans imprisoned in the United States, on Wednesday denounced the pressure from the press funded against the Five during the trial, while Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino still remain as “political criminals”. 
This was stated by Garbus on Wednesday during the press conference that he and Stephen Kimber, Canadian author, professor and journalist, gave at the National Press Club in Washington, and marked the beginning of the 3rd Five Days for the Five event, while activities of solidarity in many countries are being carried out in parallel, according to Mexican journalist Indira Mata Plascencia in the Lindero del Norte blog.
The lawyer said his team has completed the shipment of thousands of documents that argue that the jury made its decision “strongly influenced” by the articles, commissioned by the U.S. government, which were written while deliberating the case, reports Reuters.
Garbus insists that the money used in the media demonstrates the impact that it might have had on the jury, that invalidated the case against his client Gerardo Hernández and therefore the sentences of Antonio and Ramon, who remain imprisoned in the USA.
If the judge determines that there was malpractice she could discard or order a new trial, something considered unlikely because “she could not now have the witnesses that were available,” when they were judged, so that “if you cannot order a new trial, it is then appropriate to dispose of the case,” Garbus explained in the press conference.
The event organized by the International Solidarity Committee, which will run until June 11, and with the participation of parliamentarians, lawyers, religious leaders, intellectuals, peace activists and other personalities, will be accompanied by actions in at least 42 countries.
And, 19 of them have organized marches and sit-ins at embassies or consulates of the United States to demand the release of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio.
According to information from the organizers, among the direct participants in Washington are 11 parliamentarians from 10 countries, 13 lawyers, including 4 Americans; 30 representatives of religious, union and mayoral sectors, plus 22 intellectuals and academics and 38 other public figures. They have also travelled to the U.S. capital from New York and Canada.
Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, Sweden, France, Lebanon, South Africa, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Timor-Leste are among the countries with activities parallel to those developed on U.S. soil.
This Thursday, the Day in Washington provides a lecture called ‘New Era in US- Cuba relations’, in addition to various panels, a sample of the cartoons of Gerardo and Tony’s watercolours, and the presentation of books on the case of the Five.
In addition, a massive global tweet demanding the release of the Cuban Five is expected. Already in Cuba the first tag # FreeTheFive is in position, and numerous comments revealing particularities of the judicial process or the lives of five heroes have been published on personal blogs and digital media in the country.
The beginning of the Solidarity Day in Washington, which has had a global echo, coincides with the 49th birthday of Gerardo Hernandez, sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years.