The Militant, Vol. 77/No. 27, July 15, 2013, front page, editorial
Join us in mobilizing support in the U.S. and worldwide for the defense campaign to win freedom for all the Cuban Five — Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González.
The “crime” for which these five Cuban revolutionaries were framed up and imprisoned some 15 years ago by the U.S. government was volunteering to come to this country to monitor activity by counterrevolutionary Cuban-American groups. Operating on U.S. soil with virtual impunity, these outfits have a long record of violent assaults on Cuba and supporters of Cuba’s socialist revolution there, in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and elsewhere. During their trials and ever since, the Five have affirmed their determination and pride in doing their part to head off provocations that could have served as a pretext for military action by Washington against Cuba.
By no choice of their own, the Five find themselves on the front lines of the class struggle in the U.S. and conduct themselves accordingly. Like millions of workers, they’ve been run through the “justice system” of cops, courts and jails. Working people in the U.S. face a plea-bargain expressway to prison, mandatory sentences, lockdown and “solitary,” and conditions aimed at corroding their morale, sense of self-worth and human solidarity.
René González explains that when the Five tell fellow prisoners why they refused to cop a plea with U.S. prosecutors and courts, they win respect for standing up for what they believe and for the socialist revolution they defend. González was released last year after 14 years, and is now back in Cuba after international defense efforts pushed back punitive steps by Washington to make him stay in the U.S. three years on probation.
As shown earlier this summer by the “5 Days for the Cuban 5” — the most successful defense activities so far in the U.S. — there are growing opportunities to organize meetings and events of all kinds to win support for this worldwide campaign. These include working with others to organize broadly sponsored exhibits of the political cartoons of Gerardo Hernández and works by Antonio Guerrero — the latest of which features a collection of 15 watercolors, one for each of the 15 years since the arrests, entitled “I will die the way I lived.”
We need to reach out to unions, Black rights organizations, Puerto Rican groups, opponents of deportations and other targeting of immigrants, church-related human rights organizations, and other labor, political and social rights groups.
The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists voted to join the fight at their May convention. The United Steelworkers union in Canada, one of the country’s largest labor organizations, unanimously adopted a resolution in April. John McCullough, executive director of Church World Services, has called on Washington to release the Five. Supporters of the campaign to win freedom for Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar López Rivera are linking their efforts to those for the Five.
The integrity, dignity and steadfastness that marks the political conduct of the Cuban Five and their relations with others inspires such support — if their supporters are able to make the facts more and more widely known.
Join with others to broaden support for this international defense campaign. Order copies of The Cuban Five: Who They Are, Why They Were Framed, Why They Should Be Free to spread the word.
It is along this road, as Gerardo Hernández has said, that the “jury of millions” will be built that will win their freedom.
Editor’s Note: The Militant is an international Socialist newsweekly associated with the Socialist Workers Party and the leftist publisher, Pathfinder Press.