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Vol. 78/No. 24      June 23, 2014

‘Cuban Five are fighters – in and
out of prison – I like that’
Antonio Guerrero’s paintings exhibited in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA — A monthlong exhibit of prison paintings by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five, opened May 30 at the Christ and St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in the Puerto Rican community here. More than 70 people viewed the exhibit of 15 watercolors, “I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived,” during the first weekend, including many of the participants in the June 1 Fiesta de la Santa Cruz (Festival of the Holy Cross) held on the church grounds.

“This is part of our social responsibility,” Father José Díaz, pastor of the church, said in welcoming people to the opening. “We’re proud St. Ambrose was able to sponsor this exhibit.”

Díaz said he appreciated seeing Guerrero’s interpretation of what the Cuban Five prisoners had faced during their first 17 months of incarceration, conditions faced by many others in prison around the world.

“The exhibit shines a light on the social struggles that workers around the world are participating in,” Rev. Roger Zepernick, Urban-Ministry director at the church, told the meeting. Zepernick is also a well-known supporter of freedom for Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar López Rivera.

Chris Hoeppner of the Socialist Workers Party reviewed the frame up of the Cuban Five and invited participants to attend the “5 Days for the Cuban 5” activities in Washington, D.C., the following week. “As Gerardo Hernández, one of the Cuban Five serving a double-life term said, we need to build a ‘jury of millions’ to win their freedom,” he said.

Attending the opening was Ada Bello, a longtime gay rights activist originally from Cuba. Bello said she “really wants to tell others about this.” She bought an extra copy of the Pathfinder book The Cuban Five: Who They Are, Why They Were Framed, Why They Should Be Free to give to a friend.

So far 25 Pathfinder books and four subscriptions to the Militant have been sold at the exhibit, which will continue at the church until the end of June.

One of Guerrero’s paintings will become part of a permanent display there, after the exhibit ends.

On May 31, the bilingual Girl Scout troop that meets at the church toured the exhibit and asked questions about the Cuban Five.

During the June 1 festival, supporters of the Five set up an outdoor literature table, including books by Pathfinder Press and the watercolor entitled, “Number!” Through discussions there, some 40 fiesta participants decided to view the entire exhibit. The weekly planning meetings prior to the fiesta often heard brief presentations on the fight to free the Five and discussed ways to make the exhibit a success.

“I didn’t know about the five Cubans before,” said Edgar Rios, a retired city worker attending the fiesta who viewed the paintings. “They are fighters, I like that. Even in prison, they don’t stop telling the truth through these paintings.”
Related articles:
Hundreds gather in DC for 3rd ‘5 Days for the Cuban 5’
Who are the Cuban Five?
Exhibits of paintings by Antonio Guerrero
Supporters of Cuba join debates at LASA conference
NY Puerto Rican Day wins support to free Oscar López
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