Free The Five


November 13th, 2008

Coordinated Picket Actions at U.S. Consulates in Vancouver and Montreal demand: "FREE THE CUBAN 5 NOW!"

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Vancouver Report

On Thursday November 13th, two dozen people gathered in front of the United States Consulate in Vancouver BC, Canada to demand "FREE THE CUBAN 5 NOW!" This was the 35th consecutive monthly picket in Vancouver since the campaign first began in this city in 2005. This time the picket was all the more energized knowing that along side them, organizers and supporters of le Comité Fabio Di Celmo pour les 5 were demanding freedom for the 5 Heroes in Montreal, Quebec at the U.S. Consulate in their city.

Noah Fine, coordinator of the Free the Cuban 5 Committee - Vancouver, opened the picket by emphasizing how crucial the current period is for the case of the 5 Cuban Heroes. With all charges against them recently upheld in Appeals Court, and 3 of the Cuban 5 heroes being sent back to Miami for re-sentencing, the need for worldwide protest and attention on their case is all the more important.

After the protesters filled the downtown streets with loud chants and picketing, the crowd gathered to hear Stan Squires, member of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC), read a beautiful poem, "I Am a Man" by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5 heroes. Stan also read a letter Antonio wrote to him while under lockdown inside his prison in Colorado.

Joaquin Ernesto, radio broadcaster, musician, and member of the El Salvador Solidarity Committee addressed the crowd next, echoing the constant message of the Cuban 5, "Now is not the time to back down!"

The picket program wrapped up with an emotional poem written by Kerri Goodwin, a young Oji-Cree activist and organizer with the Indigenous Rights & Action Project (IRAP). She finished with,

"In my heart they are my heroes
Cuba's heroes
Heroes for all humanity

That's what I call a Revolutionary"

The protest concluded with the announcement that the monthly picket campaign to Free the 5 Cuban Heroes will be taking place on the second Thursday of each month. They will be held in coordination with organizers in Montreal and potentially other cities across Canada, where people will gather on the same day each month to demand: