Picket Action

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Cries of “U.S. Hands Off Cuba!” and “Free the Cuban 5ive Now!” rang throughout the busy streets of downtown Vancouver today as supporters of the Cuban 5ive gathered outside the U.S. Consulate for the 28th time in 28 months to demand the immediate release of the 5ive Cuban Heroes!

Max Tennant an organizer with Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) opened the picket beautifully and moved the crowd by reading some of the poetry written by the 5 while in prison. Max eloquently demonstrated that these 5 men are not just anti-terrorist fighters but are also fathers, husbands, brothers and sons that they are artists, writers and poets with an enormous vision for a better world.

Inspired by the poetry of the 5, the protesters took to the sidewalk, picket signs and banners in hand, with loud and incredible chants of “We Fight We Fight for Liberty! – the Cuban 5ive Must be Free” and “Hey Bush You Will See! – the Cuban 5ive Will be Free!”

Next up was Tamara Hansen, the coordinator of VCSC. Tamara spoke about the U.S. attempt to militarily invade Cuba through the Bay of Pigs in April 1961, 47 years ago. Outlining that this military invasion was one of the first major terrorist attacks conducted against the island, she also passionately explained that this was the first major defeat for the U.S in Latin America and that since their humiliating defeat, the U.S has continued a campaign of terror and brutality against the people of Cuba.

Janine Solanki, Co-Chair of Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) and a member of the Alison Bodine Defense Committee (ABDC) spoke about the case of Alison Bodine who, like the Cuban 5ive, was politically targeted because of her work and fight for social justice and was banned from Canada on November 17th of 2007. Janine passionately condemned the targeting of social justice activists and called on all peace loving people to continue the struggle for human rights saying, “We know that justice doesn’t come in the courtroom of governments like the U.S. and Canada, justice comes on the streets, when it is demanded by the regular and working people!” For more information on the case of Alison Bodine, please go to http://.alisonbodine.blogspot.com

Last to speak was the coordinator of the Free the Cuban 5ive Committee-Vancouver, Noah Fine. Noah outlined the case of the 5ive Heroes and connected the work being done in Vancouver to free them to the work of over 300 committees worldwide as part of the effort.

Sarah Alwell, organizer with the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver and Social Justice Coordinator of the Capilano Students' Union (CSU), closed the protest by outlining the importance of the Cuban 5ive and what they represent for the movement for Social Justice. Sarah called on all those present at the picket to watch out for a decision on the case of the 5 from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that could be released any day now, and to be ready to participate in a world wide ‘day after campaign’ for their release. Sarah also reiterated the necessity for people to come to the streets to demand justice and that “as long as the Cuban 5 are imprisoned we will come to the streets every month until the very day that they are free and reunited with their loved ones!”

The picket ended with people energized and ready to continue the fight for justice!

“Free the Cuban 5ive Now!”. “Justice for the 5ive Now!”