The demonstrations are taking place during an international youth campaign to help educate and broaden support for the case of the Cuban Five, called for January 10 through April 30.
This worldwide campaign was initiated by the Union of Young Communists (UJC), Federation of University Students, and other youth organizations in Cuba. It will culminate with an April 29-30 International Youth Solidarity meeting in Havana.
Its aim is "to break the wall of silence about the case imposed by Washington on public opinion, to denounce the manipulation and the lies about an impartial and fair trial, and to demand the immediate release of the Cuban Five," reads the call for the campaign issued in early January by the Cuban youth groups.
The five men are Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González. They have been incarcerated for eight years in U.S. prisons, serving draconian sentences after being convicted on trumped-up charges by the U.S. government. At the time of their arrest in 1998 they were on an internationalist mission to defend their country's sovereignty. They had entered and obtained information on counterrevolutionary groups based in Florida that have a record of violent attacks against Cuba carried out from U.S. soil with Washington's complicity.
Unable to provide convincing evidence, U.S. prosecutors framed up the five men and won convictions against them on charges that included "conspiracy to commit espionage" for Havana and "conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent." Hernández was also charged with "conspiracy to commit murder." The five were convicted in a federal court in Miami in June 2001 and were given sentences ranging from 15 years to a double life term.
The April 7 actions will also demand freedom for all Puerto Rican political prisoners held in U.S. prisons for advocating their country's independence. The rallies in New York and Los Angeles will kick off a month of activities to demand their release.
According to the call issued by sponsoring organizations, the demands of the April 7 actions include: "An end to Washington's economic and political war against Cuba," "An end to threats and sanctions against Venezuela and Bolivia," and "An end to U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico."
Initiating organizations for the April 7 actions are the Venezuela Solidarity Network, Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circles, National Network on Cuba, and U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange. Another 20 organizations are co-sponsors of the April 7th New York Organizing Committee.
For more information contact the Young Socialists at (212) 629-6649 or firstname.lastname@example.org
; Militant distributors near you (see Directory of Distributors); or the initiating coalition for the April 7 actions at (917) 887-8710 or (718) 759-8668.
Build actions to free the Cuban Five
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