Free The Five


December 11, 2008

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

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On an icy day during one of Vancouver’s coldest winters, dozens of warm hearted people out heated the frosty winds and rallied together outside the US consulate in Downtown Vancouver to demand Freedom for the 5 Cuban Heroes.

With warmth and energy, loud chants of “Free the Cuban 5 Now!” and “Justice for the 5 Now!” rang throughout the downtown streets marking the 37th picket action in 37 months. With signs, colourful banners and soaring Cuban flags, protesters welcomed Philipa Ryan, an Indigenous activist and long time supporter of the Cuban 5 who opened the protest. Philipa called for justice for the 5 Cuban Heroes and for Indigenous people in Canada and around the world who are fighting for their basic human rights and the right to their land.

Roland Verrier, from the Marxist Leninist Party of Canada (CPCML), read a statement on behalf of CPCML on the importance of struggling for the freedom of Cuban 5 Heroes.

Sarah Alwell, executive committee member of the Capilano Students’ Union, spoke about the injustices faced not only by the Cuban 5 but by their families and explained the cases of Olga Salanueva, wife of Rene Gonzales and Adreana Perez, wife of Gerardo Hernandez. They have been denied Visas to enter the US nine times to visit their loved ones and Olga has recently been denied a Visa permanently. Sarah also announced the nationwide postcard campaign demanding the US government immediately grant Visas to Olga and Adreana to visit their husbands in prison and the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver has collected over 350 signed postcards from people across Vancouver.

Kevan Cameron, renowned Vancouver slam poet, spoke about a case similar to that of the 5 Heroes. The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a black activist and journalist in the US who has been unjustly imprisoned on death row for 27 years. Kevan outlined the necessity to fight against injustice and call for the freedom of Mumia and the Cuban 5 and Loud chants of “Free Mumia Now!” and “Freedom for the Cuban 5!” echoed widely through the air.

Noah Fine, co-ordinator of the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver, closed the picket, announcing that the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver will continue to come to the US consulate in downtown Vancouver to demand Freedom for our 5 heroes, and in the spirit of their courage and strength, participants vowed to continue the fight, with peace and human loving people around the world, until the very day that they are free!