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International leaders gather in Washington to support ‘the Cuban Five’

Five-day event seeks to raise awareness, ease U.S.-Cuba tensions

April 18, 2012

WASHINGTON

People from all over the U.S., along with international representatives of organizations supporting the “Cuban Five,” will gather here April 17-21. 

The International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five announced the event on its webpage.

The main objective of the International Committee ― a network of concerned citizens from several countries in Europe, Latin America and the United States ― is to raise awareness about the case of the Cuban Five ― Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, and Rene Gonzalez, internationally known as the Cuban Five ― who were arrested in 1998 and convicted of espionage-related charges at a controversial trial in Miami in 2001.

The defendants and the Cuban government unsuccessfully argued that the five Cuban expatriates were only monitoring Florida-based ultra-right organizations that have carried out alleged terrorist actions against Cuba.

During their 11 years in federal U.S. prisons, visitation by the prisoners’ families and others has been severely restricted and in at least one case disallowed altogether.

An April 21 rally near the White House will urge Obama to free the Cuban Five.

During the five-day event, activists will also raise awareness about the ongoing U.S. blockade of Cuba and the U.S. government travel ban on Cuba. The program includes public meetings, film showings and a day of lobbying the U.S. Congress.

A major event will take place April 20, entitled “Obama Give Me Five.” The focus of the event will be analyzing ways to improve  U.S.-Cuba relations.

Some of international leaders expected to attend the event include Father Miguel D´Escoto, Nobel Peace Laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Noam Chomsky, Danny Glover, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Angela Davis, Gayle McLaughlin, and representatives of the National Lawyers Guild, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Network on Cuba, the School of the Americas Watch, IFCO/Pastors for Peace, Global Exchange, Alianza Martiana and others.

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