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Vol. 78/No. 41      November 17, 2014

Now is time to step up
efforts to free Cuban Five!

Now is the time for supporters of the Cuban Revolution to step up efforts to get out the truth about the Cuban Five and broaden support for the international fight to free Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero!

A series of editorials in the New York Times has called for shifts in U.S. government policy toward Cuba, including an end to the U.S. economic blockade, normalization of relations and a swap between the Cuban Five and U.S. operative Alan Gross. The campaign has drawn criticism from other papers that stand behind U.S. state policy and represent the prevailing views of the U.S. ruling families, opening a bourgeois debate on how best to advance Washington’s goal of undermining the Cuban Revolution.

This debate has put a spotlight on Washington’s unremitting hostility toward revolutionary Cuba — one of the most constant features of U.S. foreign policy for more than half a century. This has included thwarted military invasions and assassinations; numerous acts of sabotage and terror; and a crippling financial and trade embargo. With different and shifting tactics, the aim has remained the same: to overturn the revolution that threw off a U.S.-backed military dictatorship and brought workers and farmers to power.

The Times most recent editorial on Cuban policy focused attention on the Cuban Five, creating an opening for discussion among working people and others about who the five revolutionaries are, why they were framed, why they should be free and what we can do about it.

At the same time, the ruling-class debate takes place as the world can see the moral values of the Cuban Revolution put into practice in West Africa, where hundreds of Cuban medical volunteers have responded in a swift and decisive manner to help combat the deadly Ebola epidemic. This provides a new opening to talk about Cuba’s internationalist foreign policy and why three of the Five — Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González and René González — were among some 425,000 Cubans who volunteered to help Angola defeat invasions by the white supremacist army of apartheid South Africa between 1975 and 1991. And on what side of that battle Washington stood.

The debate also takes place during an uptick in labor resistance and social protest, spurred by the world crisis of capitalism and the exploiters’ drive against the living standards, political rights and very dignity of workers and farmers. This includes growing protests against police brutality, plea-bargain frame-ups, abuse of prisoners and summary killings by cops from Ferguson, Missouri, to Staten Island, New York.

And now we have another powerful tool in the fight to free the Five in a new series of watercolors by Antonio Guerrero titled “Absolved by Solidarity,” which graphically depicts how the FBI, federal prosecutors, court officials and the capitalist press engineered their frame-up.

We should have no illusions that the opinions of the Times represent a shift in U.S. state policy. The Obama administration has thus far shown no such inclination, nor have the main mouthpieces of America’s ruling families. The Times, once a major voice of the U.S. ruling class, represents today a narrower layer of bourgeois public opinion than at any time in its history.

Now is not the time — if there ever could be one — to become complacent and put hopes in the Obama administration, much less rely on the editorial board of the Times. Now, more than ever, is the time to redouble our efforts to build a “jury of millions” that can make a difference.

Free the Cuban Five! Normalize relations with Cuba! End the U.S. embargo!
Related articles:
‘NY Times’ puts focus on rulers’ Cuba policy debate
‘Unbroken tide of solidarity will carry us home’:
Sister of Antonio Guerrero talks about brother’s new prison paintings at colloquium for Cuban 5 in Havana
Who are the Cuban Five?
UN condemns US embargo of Cuba for 23rd straight year
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