Free The Five


July 9th 2009
Free the Cuban 5 Now!

Coordinated Picket Actions in Vancouver and Montreal

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Armed with a megaphone and an array of colorful banners and picket signs, peace loving people of all ages gathered together outside the U.S. consulate in Downtown Vancouver to demand freedom for the 5 Cuban heroes held unjustly in U.S. jails. With energy and dynamic spirit, chants of “Free the Cuban 5 Now!” echoed throughout the downtown streets commencing the 43rd picket action organized by the Free the Cuban 5 Committee- Vancouver in 43 months.

This protest came after the June 15 decision from the US Supreme court not to review the case of our 5 heroes, Ramon Labanino, Rene Gonzalez, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Gerardo Hernandez. Despite this unjust decision, protesters remembered the words of Gerardo Hernandez who said that “as long as one person remains struggling on the outside, we will continue resisting until there is justice.”

The picket began with MC Sarah Alwell, coordinator of the Free the Cuban 5 Committee- Vancouver who explained that this recent decision by the US Supreme Court solidified that the case of the Cuban 5 can only be won by the people and not in the courts. After Sarah, the picket began into its first round of loud and lively chanting demanding “Freedom for the 5 Now!”, and “Justice for the 5 Now!.”

After the first round of picketing, Aaron Mercredi, organizer with the Indigenous Rights and Action Project and also organizer with the Committee in Solidarity with the People of Honduras, read a letter of support from the Cuban 5 to the democratically elected president of Honduras Manuel Zelaya. The letter condemned the recent military coup in Honduras.

Then after another round of picketing, Delia Ochoa, a Latin American poet passionately read her own poetry demanding the immediate freedom of the Cuban 5. Alicia Jrapko, organizer with the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five and current participant on the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba spoke of the necessity for continual and ongoing actions around the world for the Freedom of these Five Heroes.

After the last loud round of enthusiastic chanting, Noah Fine, Local BC West Coast Coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) powerfully spoke of the injustices against two of the wives of the Cuban 5. Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez have not been granted visas to see their husbands for the last 10 years.

The picket came to a loud and vibrant close as participants vowed to continue protesting in front of the US Consulate until the 5 Cuban Heroes are free.