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Vol. 78/No. 33      September 22, 2014

Iran Book News Agency
reviews titles on Cuban 5
(feature article)
Below are reviews by the Iran Book News Agency of Voices From Prison: The Cuban Five and I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived. The books were published in Iran by Talaye Porsoo, which translated the Pathfinder books of the same titles into Farsi from English. The semiofficial news agency published the reviews together July 22 under the headline “I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived: Paintings by a Cuban who ended up in U.S. prisons.” Translation of the review is by the Militant.

Voices From Prison: The Cuban Five and I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived are the most recent books published by Talaye Porsoo. They are recent additions to other books by the publisher on the Cuban Five, focusing on the life and stories of the Five in prison.

“Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, and René González, are known to millions worldwide as the Cuban Five, framed up and imprisoned by Washington more than fifteen years ago,” explains the back cover of Voices From Prison: The Cuban Five.

“Their crime? Gathering information for the Cuban government on the plans of murderous Cuban American paramilitary outfits in Florida that for decades have operated with impunity on U.S. soil. Why? To prevent future deadly attacks, in Cuba and the U.S. as well. And they proudly affirm they would do the same again.

“The voices heard here allow us to reach through the bars intended not only to confine the Five but to reduce them to ‘convicts’ and ‘victims.’ Their revolutionary integrity, resilience, humanity — and humor — emerge ever more clearly. Above all, we see the respect they’ve earned among others behind prison walls. And why the same thing is increasingly true among working people across the U.S. who themselves know firsthand the wheels of capitalist ‘justice.’”

Chapters in the book include: “Preface,” “Friendship with René Changed My Life,” “In Prison I Saw Fernando’s Spirit of Resistance,” “How We Got Out of the ‘Hole,’” “Ramón Is Someone You’re Proud To Know,” “They Offered ‘Whatever You Want’ – If I Would Become A Traitor,” “Salute To Nelson Mandela,” “The Torture of Campos,” “From the Hole,” “In the U.S. Prison System, Just Going To Trial Earns You Respect,” “I’ll Never Allow Them the Pleasure of Destroying our Family,” and “Why Do We Fight for the Five? Because We Are Fighting for Ourselves.”

Some of the words published here are tributes by their fellow inmates whose lives were transformed by friendship with one or another of the five Cubans during their time together in prison. Another part consists of articles, poems and messages written by one or another of the Cuban Five themselves. Others are interviews with them, spreading the truth about their prison experiences around the world.

This book is published along with another book that contains 15 high quality watercolor paintings by Antonio Guerrero, with the title I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived, and two other books, The Cuban Five: Who They Are, Why They Were Framed, Why They Should Be Free, and Cuba and Angola: Fighting for Africa’s Freedom and Our Own. [The latter book has not yet been published in Farsi.]

Voices From Prison: The Cuban Five is translated by Naser Yekta in 104 pages with a run of 1,000 copies and a price of 4,500 tomans [$1.50]. It is published by Talaye Porsoo.

‘I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived’

I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived is a collection of 15 paintings that Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five imprisoned in the United States of America, painted in commemoration of the 15th year of their imprisonment. This collection has been displayed in Cuba, the United States and other countries. The writings in the book describe the atmosphere in which these paintings were created.

Antonio Guerrero learned to paint for the first time while imprisoned in the U.S. prison in Florence, Colorado. His fellow prisoners guided him, and by reading books he became his own teacher.

In the first description by Guerrero about these paintings, we read: “‘You have to try to do something from the inside out, rather than keep painting from the outside in,’ insisted Arthur, my brother-in-arms and fellow artist. A photographer and art critic, he told me this after seeing and photographing many of my works.

“I spent several weeks repeating his words to myself and making them mine. Then one day images began to take shape in my mind. I made sketches and then painted them on watercolor paper as colors started to appear.

“All the images had one thing in common. They recalled the unjust, cruel treatment we received from the very first day of our detention. They portrayed moments during the seventeen months of isolation we survived in the punishment cells of the Federal Detention Center in Miami — the ‘hole.’ After I finished painting fifteen, I decided to stop. That number coincides with the number of years of captivity we will complete on September 12, 2013.”

Below we see some of the paintings of this book.

I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived: 15 Watercolors by Antonio Guerrero for the 15th Anniversary of the Imprisonment of the Cuban Five in the United States has text by Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and is translated by Naser Yekta in 35 pages, with a run of 1,000 copies and a price of 7,000 tomans [$2.20]. It is published by Talaye Porsoo.

Related articles:
UK event backs Cuban 5: ‘They are not broken’
Who are the Cuban Five?
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