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March 5-8 100th Monthly Picket Action to Free the Cuban 5 Westcoast Tour
AT A GLANCE...
Unite around the world to demand:
Free ALL the Cuban 5 Now!
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International Women's Day - "Cuban Women Today"
The first picket action for the 5 Cuban Heroes in front of the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver, Canada took place in December of 2005. On this day, organizers with the the Free the Cuban 5 Committee – Vancouver and supporters of the Cuban 5 made the commitment to return to the steps of the U.S. Consulate every month until all of the Cuban 5 were free. Looking back at that day it would be hard to imagine returning for the 100th time, 8 years later, with 3 of the Cuban 5 still in U.S. jails.
The 100th picket of the Free the Cuban 5 Committee – Vancouver was marked on March 5, 2014, after over 15 years of cruel and unjust imprisonment of the Cuban 5 Heroes in U.S. jails. In order to honour this important occasion, the Free the Cuban 5 Committee – Vancouver organized a protest action, as well as a tour of events featuring prominent speakers on the case of the Cuban 5. The West Coast tour reached a wide variety of audiences through 8 events in 4 days spanning to both the province of British Columbia and Washington state with events in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Kamloops, Victoria and Seattle held in community centres, libraries and universities. Notably, the 100th picket and West Coast tour also received broad media coverage, reflected especially in the Cuban press.Throughout the campaign there were also numerous interviews on radio in British Columbia, including the popular “Latino Soy” program.
The Cuban Ambassador to Canada, His Excellency Julio Garmendía Peña; Miraly González González, First Secretary and Political Attache of the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa; Stephen Kimber, journalism professor at King's University College in Halifax, Nova Scotia and author of "What Lies Across the Water: the Real Story of the Cuban 5," and Don Foreman, Union Representative for the Central Region of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and Co-Chair of the Cubacan Committee for Freedom of the Cuban 5 in Ottawa, Canada were among the featured speakers.
The 100th picket action was a loud and powerful show of support for the Cuban 5 Heroes by more than one hundred peace-loving people in Vancouver. It was made louder still with an echo of voices demanding freedom for ALL the 5 Cuban Heroes coming from those out on the streets internationally on March 5th in solidarity with the Cuban 5 and Vancouver's milestone 100th picket action. At least 8 solidarity events were organized in Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, Canada, Chicago, San Francisco, and Hartford, U.S., as well as Mexico City and Basel, Switzerland.
Whether in a protest action, or on the West Coast tour in support of the Cuban 5, each event also celebrated the return of one of the 5 Cuban Heroes, Fernando González, to Cuba the week before. On February 28, Fernando became the second of the 5 Cuban Heroes to return to his homeland, only after serving every day of his unjust sentence, a total of 15 years and 5 months. He joined René González, who had been allowed to return to Cuba in April of 2013. Fernando's return to Cuba, taking his position alongside René in leading the struggle to free ALL of the Cuban 5, was a great step forward in the struggle to free the Cuban 5. The energy that it brought could be heard, felt and seen in the faces of the over 450 people that participated in the events marking Vancouver's 100th picket action.
Events celebrating the release of Fernando González and marking Vancouver's 100th picket action, were a great success and a step forward in the international campaign for freedom of the 5 Cuban Heroes. They were evidence that united and consistent action for our 5 Heroes is possible and necessary.
In the words of Cuban 5 Hero Antonio Guerrero, inscribed on a beautiful wooden carving presented to the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver in recognition of the 100th Monthly Picket Action on behalf of the Cuban 5, “To you, our eternal gratitude for you immense and constant support that makes us continue to be resistant and makes us taste our inevitable freedom each day.”
Together, we will free ALL the Cuban 5!
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Click for international greetings of solidarity to Vancouver's 100th picket action
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Events organized by the Free the Cuban 5 Committee Vancouver: http://www.freethe5vancouver.ca Member of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC)
A BIG Thank You to event endorsers and co-sponsors: Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC), Vancouver Island Regional Public Library, Kamloops & District and Labour Council, Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association Human Rights Committee, Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC), Thompson Rivers University Socialist Club, Center for Global Justice - Seattle University, Latin American Studies Program - Seattle University, School of Law Latin America Program - Seattle University, Diversity, and Citizenship & Social Justice CORE Track Program - Seattle University, Seattle-Cuba Friendship Committee, Seattle A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition, U.S. Women and Cuba Collaboration, Wallingford Neighbors for Peace and Justice (Seattle), Communist Party of Canada Marxist-Leninist (CPC-ML) and Cuba solidarity activists in Nanaimo, Kamloops, Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle.
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Check out some photos from actions across Canada in solidarity with the 100th monthly picket action in Vancouver!