Free The Five


May 14th 2009
Free the Cuban 5 Now!

Coordinated Picket Actions in Vancouver and Montreal

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41st Picket line in Vancouver in Support of the Cuban 5 Heroes!

On Thursday May 14th, peace loving people came out to the US Consulate in Downtown Vancouver to demand freedom for the Cuban 5 Heroes unjustly imprisoned in US jails for over 10 years. The picket is part of a coordinated monthly protest action with Cuban 5 supporters in Montreal.

The picket began with MC and organizer with the Free the Cuban 5 Committee- Vancouver Nita Palmer who welcomed everyone to the 41st Picket Action in front of the US Consulate. Nita highlighted how this picket is happening while the US Supreme Court is deciding whether to review the case of the Cuban 5 to grant them a new trial. Prominent individuals and organizations from around the world, including 10 Nobel Prize winners have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to grant a new and fair trial for the 5 and the Court is expected to release its decision before summer.

Injustice against family members of the Cuban 5 continues. While these 5 Cuban Heroes are imprisoned, two of the wives of the Cuban 5 Olga Salanueva, and Adriana Perez, have been refused visas to enter the United States 9 times. They have been prevented from seeing their husbands for 10 years. Participants in the protest also joined to demand “Visas for the families of the 5 now!”

Nita also emphasized the hypocrisy of the unjust imprisonment of the Cuban 5. This hypocrisy is highlighted by the fact that Luis Posada Carriles, a self- proclaimed anti-Cuban terrorist is walking freely in the streets of Miami. Posada was mastermind behind the 1976 bombing of an Air Cubana flight that killed all 76 innocent passengers on board. People then began the first round of energetic picketing demanding “Freedom for the Cuban 5 Now!” and “Extradite Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela Now!”

Kerri Goodwin, an organizer with the Indigenous Rights and Action Project (IRAP) passionately spoke of the unjust imprisonment of Indigenous activist Leonard Peltier. Leonard Peltier has been unjustly held in US prison for over 30 years, also for defending his people against attacks from the US government. Kerri stressed the need to continue to fight for justice and freedom for these heroes of humanity.

Noah Fine, an organizer with Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) and Free the Cuban 5 Committee –Vancouver, ended the picket with a short report from the II International Youth Summit to Demand Freedom for the Cuban 5 held in Havana, Cuba. Over 170 young people from 40 countries around the world, including two organizers with VCSC, attended the summit to share experiences and ideas for organizing in defense of the 5 and how to make their case more of an issue in our cities.

The picket came to an energetic close with protesters vowing to continue to come to the US Consulate every month until the 5 Cuban Heroes are free.