The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 78/No. 16      April 28, 2014

New Zealand art event wins
new support for Cuban Five
(feature article)
AUCKLAND, New Zealand – The Cuban Five “have not responded as victims, but as the revolutionaries they are, taking their place in the front line of struggle,” said María del Carmen Herrera, Cuba’s ambassador to New Zealand. She was speaking April 5 at the opening of the first exhibition here of “I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived,” a collection of 15 watercolors by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Five framed up by the U.S. government, and one of three who remain in prison after more than 15 years.

Some 80 people turned out for the opening at Artstation, a city council art center that was previously a police barracks and prison cell block. Framed reprints of the paintings were mounted on the walls of three of the former prison cells, with explanatory captions. The exhibition runs for three weeks through April 24.

This is an appropriate venue for this exhibition, said Robert Reid, general secretary of First Union, who chaired the event. “What comes through is the creativity and imagination to resist their captors and stay staunch to the Cuban Revolution.”

“It shows that however harsh, or wherever you are, don’t give up,” Rakhi, one of several students who came from Auckland University of Technology, said after the program where she first learned about the international campaign to free the Five.

“Cuba has a right to defend itself,” Rev. Chris Sullivan told participants, referring to the Five’s mission to monitor rightist paramilitary groups in southern Florida for the Cuban government.

“Today each of us needs to do everything we can to keep widening the circle of people who know about the case,” said Felicity Coggan, citing comments René González, one of the Five, made at the annual international book fair in Havana in February. “These beautiful paintings are a wonderful tool to do just that.” Coggan participated in the book fair as a volunteer at the Pathfinder Press booth.

A message welcoming the exhibition was read, from 29 members of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union at a mail distribution center.

“Two years ago we opened an exhibition here in Auckland of political cartoons by Gerardo Hernández,” said Herrera. Hernández, one of the Five, was given a sentence of double life plus 15 years. That exhibition has toured throughout New Zealand, reaching hundreds of people and wining new support for the Five, she said. “We now hope the same will happen with Antonio’s paintings.”

As people arrived they were greeted by live music of two young musicians, Harry Jones and Ocean.

Following the speeches, musicians Fidel Pimentel and Ricardo Isquierdo performed, followed by pianist Peter Leupolu. Then all the musicians accompanied Raudel Conte, originally from Cuba, as he sang “The Stubborn Fool,” by Silvio Rodríguez. The title of the exhibition “I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived” is from a line in the song’s chorus.

The song was written in 1992 in face of the deep economic and social crisis in Cuba following the collapse of foreign trade after the fall of the Soviet Union. It represented a defiant response by supporters of the Cuban Revolution to those who claimed the revolution was on its last legs. The revolution lives and the Five are examples of the kind of men and women who stand as proof of its strength.
Related articles:
Cuba has treated over 25,000 since 1986 Ukraine nuclear disaster
Who Are the Cuban 5?
Exhibits of paintings by Antonio Guerrero
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home