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Vol. 78/No. 10      March 17, 2014

Minneapolis event celebrates return of Fernando González
MINNEAPOLIS — “We are celebrating tonight the release of Fernando González from jail and his return to Cuba,” said Franklin Curbelo, a leader of the Minnesota Cuba Committee, opening a program Feb. 28 at the Regla de Oro art gallery here. “In Angola he fought with arms. In jail he fought with ideas. For all of us the fight to win the freedom of the three of the Cuban Five remaining in U.S. jails will continue.”

Despite freezing temperatures and ice-covered roads, some 50 people came out for the event, which was also the final day of Antonio Guerrero’s “I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived” watercolor exhibition there.

Kyle Edwards, an executive board member of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3800, which represents clerical workers at the University of Minnesota, noted the slanders in the big-business media about the Five and quoted from a letter he wrote to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “The Five were convicted on trumped-up charges in a biased trial where the U.S. government paid journalists to create pressure for conviction,” the letter said. “While the United States supported the South African apartheid government, Fernando González was one of the hundreds of thousands of Cubans who volunteered to go to Angola and fight for Angolan independence while expelling the invading apartheid South African troops.” AFSCME Local 3800 is active in the campaign to free the Five.

“In 2007 some of the harshest sentences of the Cuban Five were reduced,” said Frank Forrestal, another leader of the Minnesota Cuba Committee and member of the Socialist Workers Party. “The U.S. government complained about the ‘noise’ the case was producing in the world. We need, as Gerardo Hernández explained, to continue to reach out to a jury of millions.”

A number of participants remarked about their impressions of Guerrero’s paintings. “They are inspiring,” said David Byrd, a medical technician. “The hard times in jail brought out their creativity and will to resist.”

“Everyone can be affected by these paintings in some way,” said Ashley Monk, a member of Advocates for Human Rights. “They are remarkable.”

“You can see the excellent work they have done in prison in winning others to support the Cuban Revolution and other struggles of working people,” said Marco Davila, a long-time fighter for immigrant workers, commenting on the book Voices From Prison: The Cuban Five.

For sale at the exhibit was a large stock of three books about the fight to free the Five. The Case of the Cuban Five, I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived and Voices From Prison. Some 70 of these titles were sold during the Feb. 4-28 exhibit at the gallery.

About 35 high school students from Perpich Center for Arts Education attended the exhibit Feb. 27.
Related articles:
Cuba welcomes return of 2nd revolutionary jailed in US
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
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’
‘Experience of Five similar to that of millions of workers in US’
‘In prison, books helped us mature as Marxists’
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