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Danny Glover Seeks Justice for The Cuban Five

Actor and Activist Danny Glover Seeks Justice for the Cuban Five                  

Casa de Las Américas is in the house

 

By Dominic Redmond  

 

On September 12th, 1998 five Cuban men–Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, FernandoGonzález and René González– were arrested and wrongfully placed in prison to serve two life sentences. The Cuban Five, as they are called was convicted of committing espionage conspiracy against the United States. However, they maintain that they were on assignment to watch terrorist groups throughout Miami.

Tuesday evening, at the Howard University School of Law, students and activists gathered to address The Cuban Five. The Moot Court Room was almost filled to capacity as the discussion, headed by actor and activist Danny Glover discussed the case. Nearly 100 people sat in the room anxiously awaiting every word.
The forum began with Gloria La Riva, the coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. The audience sat in awe as Gloria spoke on the details of the case and why she feels this is a national issue that should be made more public.

“This injustice is one that needs to be stopped” were Gloria’s closing remarks.

Actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover injected the audience with enthusiasm and passion for the case. His first remarks were ones of honor and praise to the Howard University law school and to the people of Howard University.

“[It’s a] pleasure to be here with such courageous students, thank you Howard University for having me,” said Glover.

From this remark arose a common feeling of pride amongst the crowd. He spoke about the need for justice to be brought about and there is no better time than right now.  Gerardo Hernandez, one of the men arrested with the Cuban Five, is one of Glover’s close friends and brothers. Glover’s only wish is that Howard can help in getting this case more notarized and bringing justice to these men.

The evening continued with remarks on the case from Martin Garbus, one of the country’s leading trial lawyers, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a professor of Government and Public Policy, Kurt Schmoke, Vice President and General Counsel of Howard University, Anderson Francois, Supervising Attorney of the civil rights clinic and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the partnership for civil justice fund.

Each panelist shared the same message–people must use social media to spread awareness about The Cuban Five and bring justice to these men. It is the job of the students, leaders and activists to spread awareness through social media efforts and educate others about the injustices of this case.

Irene Barnes, a Howard University Law student, said that she “found [the forum] very informative and an important topic for us to be informed on.”

 

Little White School Bus Makes it to Texas

It has been three years since Casa de las Americas purchased the little white school bus that you see in the picture for the Santos Cruz School in Puerto Esperanza, Pinar del Rio, Cuba. It is a school for children with special needs that was partially destroyed by Hurricanes Ike and Paloma back in 2009 . Franklin Flores and Jaime Mendieta of Casa de las Americas joined a contingency of construction workers organized by IFCO to make repairs to the school. During their time there they learned of the schools’ need for transportation for the children between their homes and the school. It is then that the idea to offer this gift to the children and the families of the Santos Cruz School became a goal.

The money to purchase the bus came from the generous contributions of many friends and members of Casa that have worked and attended various Casa fund raising events. Before its delivery, the bus needed some TLC and repairs, not to mention all the necessary paperwork for all sorts of permits. Pictured beside the bus, from left to right, are Franklin Flores, Tom Whitney (from IFCO) and Jaime Mendieta. Together they drove across many states between New York and Texas. “The bus made it”, exclaimed Franklin when they arrived on Sunday, June 15, 2012. Their road trip began on Saturday, June 9th and it took a little over a week to get there.

Along the way, they met many wonderful people that offered them room and board or simply welcomed a conversation about Cuba because their knowledge of it is limited and not always accurate given the cold war that exists between the two nations. According to the three companeros, the experience of driving through so many small towns offered repeated opportunities to confirm that there are many good people that live in this country and many intelligent and just minded folks that understand that the time for Cuba and United States to have a peaceful relationship is long overdue.
Casa de las Americas is particularly grateful to Gail Walker and Luis Barrios, the Co-directors of IFCO for allowing us to join the Pastors for Peace caravan and ensuring that Casa’s little white school bus makes it to its final intended destination.

It’s time to lift the U.S. imposed blockade on Cuba, grant the wives and families of the Cuban Five visas to see their incarcerated loved ones, Free the Cuban Five, and the U.S. to have peace with Cuba.

“Little White School Bus Makes it to Texas” by Nancy Cabrero

“Hacer es la mejor forma de decir” Jose Marti

Nancy Cabrero
President
Casa de las Americas

The people stand against NATO

Originally posted by A.N.S.W.E.R

“NATO: Shut it Down! Wall Street: Shut it Down! Homeland Security: Shut it Down!” That forceful chant rang out as protesters, many thousands strong, marched on the NATO Summit on May 20 in Chicago.

Responding with determination in the face of an organized campaign of government threats and intimidation aimed at anti-NATO protesters, an impressive number of young people, union members, antiwar organizations and community members filled the streets to demand “U.S./NATO Out of Afghanistan Now!” during the opening day of the NATO Summit.

The Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANG8) estimates the crowd size as about 15,000.

In the week leading up to the NATO Summit, thousands of people marched and rallied in Chicago. The actions included a large rally of nurses demanding higher taxes on the rich and a march on Mayor Emanuel’s house, 1,000 people strong, which demanded “Health Care not Warfare!”

People came in buses, by train and by car caravan from all over the country to take a stand in Chicago against imperialist war and capitalist austerity.

In a moving display of solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and the Middle East at the end of the march, Afghanistan and Iraq veterans took off their medals and hurled them toward the NATO Summit grounds. One of those who returned his medals, Marine Vince Emmanuelli, said: “Our enemies are right here and we look at them every day. … They are the millionaires and billionaires who control this planet and we’ve had enough of it.” (WBEZ Chicago)

Months-long campaign against protesters

Though the military machines of NATO are the greatest purveyors of violence in the world, local and federal law enforcement agencies and the media engaged in a months-long attack campaign against protesters and protest groups.

The Chicago chapter of the National Lawyers Guild set up a 24-hour hotline to provide support for people who were arrested before and during the NATO protest.

Prior to the May demonstration, the NLG Chicago chapter reported:

“More than two-dozen people had been arrested so far in the lead up to the NATO summit. At least 7 arrestees in addition to the ones with terrorism-related charges are currently in custody.

“During a Wednesday night house raid, police broke down the doors of multiple apartment units with guns drawn and searched residences without a warrant or consent. In addition to 9 arrests made that night, NLG attorneys believe that two undercover police or confidential informants were arrested with the others and were later released. Of the 9 activists arrested, 6 were released without any charges despite being shackled for at least 18 hours in solitary confinement and denied access to attorneys.”

At the May 20 mass march, a police mob surrounded and brutally attacked the demonstration as it was winding down, swinging their clubs at people’s heads and injuring many dozens. At least 45 people were arrested. Among those injured were ministers, community activists, journalists and others who tried to rescue people from police.

‘The people will not be bullied or silenced by the police and government’

The ANSWER Coalition in Chicago went all out to build the March on the NATO Summit, both through street outreach and social media outlets, and had a big presence at the protest with banners and placards and large amplified sound that unified large numbers of marchers with booming chants. The banners and placards read: “No War on Iran! Hands off Syria!”, “Troops Home Now! Money for Jobs and Education!”, “Unite the 99%: Fight Racism!” and “U.S./NATO Out of Afghanistan Now!”

Asked what she thought of the protest, ANSWER organizer Ymelda Viramontes said: “Today’s protest shows that the people can and will resist the government and Wall Street’s attempts to bully and silence us. The number of people that came out into the streets of downtown today to show solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, Iran and Syria and demand no U.S. or NATO intervention—that’s a good indication that we can build a powerful movement against war and racism right here in the U.S.”

The people stand against NATO

Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies

Center for Human Rights