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Vol. 78/No. 10      March 17, 2014

Cuban press covers presentations
of new books on Cuban 5 at art studio, fair
‘No better way to open minds of people who have never heard the truth
about Cuban Revolution than to introduce them to our five brothers’
(feature article)
At recent meetings in Havana, two new books about the Cuban Five were received with enthusiasm. Audiences were especially interested in reports on how these books are being used in the United States and other countries to expand support for the campaign to free Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero — the three who remain in prison. (See “Who Are the Cuban Five” on page 5 and front-page article on Fernando González’s release.)

Reprinted here are two articles from the Cuban press on one of these events, held Feb. 25 at the art studio of prominent artist Alexis Leyva, known as Kcho (pronounced Kacho). The meeting was organized by the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and took place in the working-class neighborhood of Romerillo.

The first article is from the Feb. 26 issue of Juventud Rebelde, newspaper of the Union of Young Communists (UJC). The other is from the Cuban News Agency (ACN). The translation of both articles is by the Militant.

On Feb. 20 the two books, I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived and Voices From Prison: The Cuban Five, both published by Pathfinder Press, were presented at a meeting at the Havana International Book Fair (see remarks by René González on facing page).

The fight to free the Five is also a fight to defend the rights of working people in the United States. By defending the Five, we’re not doing them a favor — we’re fighting for ourselves. The battle to free the Cuban heroes is part of the class struggle in the United States, said Mary-Alice Waters, president of Pathfinder, during the presentation of two books — Voices From Prison: The Cuban Five and I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived, both published by Pathfinder.

At a gathering among friends held this Tuesday at the Kcho Romerillo Studio and Laboratory for Art, which was attended by Pioneers [members of the children’s organization] from this Havana neighborhood, members of the International Committee for the Freedom of the 5, and representatives of Cuban organizations, Waters noted that in these two books we see the resilience and solidarity of these fighters, as well as their sense of humor.

“We have to thank the Five for their light and their strength, which is also the light and strength of the Cuban Revolution,” said the president of the U.S. publisher Pathfinder. Voices From Prison: The Cuban Five is a collection of writings by and about these Cuban antiterrorist fighters on their frame-up. I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived reproduces 15 watercolors by Antonio Guerrero. Both books were presented at the recently concluded 2014 Cuban International Book Fair in Havana. They were brought to Romerillo to make them more accessible to the community.

The power of these books, Waters stressed, comes from the Five themselves. Through these pages we see more clearly their qualities as human beings and we understand better what the word “revolutionary” means. The books reflect their feelings and dignity as they have resisted the pressures and stood firm despite years of cruel imprisonment.

This tireless fighter said Tony’s watercolors are tools to reach people and are “irreplaceable because they speak directly about the injustice of the capitalist system.”

The United States, she added, has the highest rate of incarceration of any country in the world, a reflection of the imperialist character of its government. “We now have two additional weapons to use in the struggle against the enemy, an enemy that is implacable because they are afraid of you. They are afraid of the Cuban Revolution. That’s why the Five were imprisoned,” said Waters, who is also editor of the magazine New International.

Pathfinder publications and the newspaper The Militant, circulate in the prisons, “sometimes with difficulty because there are attempts to stop them,” but they are read there, said Waters, who is the author, among other titles, of Is Socialist Revolution in the U.S. Possible? and, together with Martín Koppel, Capitalism and the Transformation of Africa.

Also attending the presentation were Commander Víctor Dreke, vice president of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution; Graciela Ramírez, chair of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5; and Mirta Rodríguez, the mother of Antonio Guerrero, representing the families of the Five.

The ‘hole’ at the Fine Arts Museum
These books are a condemnation of the harsh treatment the Five have received in prison and an example of their resistance in face of adversity, said Kenia Serrano Puig, president of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), when she spoke at the Romerillo event.

Voices From Prison: The Cuban Five and I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived are a real testimony to how the Five have resisted, thanks to the firmness of their revolutionary principles, the solidarity they have received, and their enormous creativity. “What better place to present these books than Romerillo,” said Serrano, who invited the audience to tour the entire Kcho Romerillo Studio and Laboratory for Art. The studio is a nonprofit cultural center whose purpose is experimentation as well as development and promotion of art and human understanding.

During the tour of the site, artist Alexis Leyva Machado — “Kcho” — said that in a week the National Museum of Fine Arts would inaugurate an installation titled Vergüenza (Shame), which reproduces architecturally the “Hole” where the Five were confined.
Related articles:
Cuba welcomes return of 2nd revolutionary jailed in US
Minneapolis event celebrates return of Fernando González
Who are the Cuban Five?
Showings of paintings by Antonio Guerrero
‘Our struggle is reinforced by another standard-bearer’
Leadership from women was vital to Cuban Revolution
‘Experience of Five similar to that of millions of workers in US’
‘In prison, books helped us mature as Marxists’
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