BY ARLENE RUBINSTEIN
WASHINGTON — More than 100 people turned out for a “Sip and Salsa” reception with representatives of the Cuban Interests Section at the University of the District of Columbia here. The Nov. 7 event was an opportunity to speak with Cuban diplomats, learn about the Cuban Revolution and the island’s culture and view new prison paintings by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban Five.
Participants at the National Network on Cuba annual meeting, which took place from Nov. 7-9, were encouraged to attend the event.
“This is a unique exchange. Cuban food, art, music and great conversation,” said Crisarla Houston, professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, welcoming participants.
After a performance and lesson by the D.C. Casineros Dance Company, many took to the dance floor. A delicious Cuban dinner was served.
Alexander Rodríguez, Second Secretary of the Cuban Interests Section and co-chair of the event, urged participants to take time to look at Guerrero’s new 16-piece watercolor collection titled “Absolved by Solidarity.”
“This is an injustice of 16 years in prison for the noblest of causes,” said Rodríguez, “defending the Cuban revolution.”
“The paintings bring together our humanity with his,” said Jino Ray, president of the UDC Student Bar Association, one of the sponsoring groups. “We hear his voice and his sense of freedom — not the chains of prison.” Other sponsors included the Black Law Students Association, Black Men’s Law Society, Latino/a Students Association and the National Lawyers Guild.
“Before this event, I heard that they were accused of being spies,” George Duncan, who is originally from Ivory Coast, told the Militant. “But once you look at the paintings and read the explanations you get a pretty good sense that they were denied a fair trail, they were condemned to prison from the start.” Duncan came to the event with Gnaka Lagoke of the Revival of Panafricanism Forum. Lagoke invited participants to attend a public meeting here Nov. 15 titled “Revolution in Burkina Faso and the Downfall of Blaise Compaoré: Significance and Prospects for a New Burkina Faso and a New Africa.” Several workers who recently moved to Washington, D.C., from Burkina Faso joined the event.
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