An attack against Venezuela is an attack against Latin America

Commenting on the recent Executive Order US which labels to Venezuela as a threat to its national security, the Hero of the Republic of Cuba René González said that an attack against Venezuela means an attack on Latin America.

René Gonzalez in Venezuela

As part of a concert in support of Venezuela to the recent decree of the US, René González, the first of ‘The Five’ on leaving prison , expressed solidarity with Venezuela stating that “a crime is a crime against Venezuela against Latin America. “

Speaking at the same concert, the Ambassador of Venezuela to Cuba Ali Rodriguez Araque said that Venezuela ” is not alone in his battle against imperialism “and has the support of the Cuban people, with the support of the peoples of Latin America and the world.

CUBA-LA HABANA-CONCIERDO DE SOLIDARIDAD CON VENEZUELAWashington issued an executive decree that established sanctions against Venezuelan officials and are qualified to Venezuela as an “extraordinary and unusual to US national security and foreign policy threat” , a statement that provoked strong criticism from the international community.

Leaders of many countries have expressed their support for the Bolivarian Republic, and also in several countries of Latin America and the world including Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Spain and China, there have been marches in support of Venezuela.

nicaragua in solidarity with venezuela

Nicaragua in solidarity with Venezuela

An attack against Venezuela is an attack against Latin America La Santa MambisaGreat Concert in Solidarity with Venezuela Tonight in Havana   Jamaica Times

Just out: New report into the International Commission of Inquiry into the Case of the Cuban Five

report on inquiry into the case of the cuban fiveThe report of the proceedings of the International Commission of Inquiry into the case of the Cuban (Miami) Five, held at the Law Society in London in March 2014, is now available in a new publication.

Sara ChandlerElizabeth WoodcraftThe two Commission Coordinators, Sara Chandler (photo left), chair of the Law Society Human Rights Committee and leading barrister Elizabeth Woodcraft (photo right) launched the report at a packed meeting at the House of Commons in London on 10 September, hosted by Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn and Baroness Angela Smith.

Olga Salanueva, wife of René González, the featured speaker at the London meeting, recounted the latest visa denial by the British Government banning her husband from entering the country.

In a 44-page magazine format, written in English and Spanish, the outstanding success of the Commission and its associated events is recorded. It presents the concluding statements of the three presiding judges Yogesh Sabharwal, Zak Yacoob, and Philippe Texier, who, after hearing two days of testimony from witnesses, called upon President Barack Obama to grant “unconditional pardons” to the Five and to release “immediately and unconditionally” the three who remain in prison.

“This report will help impress upon the US authorities that legal opinion amongst some of the world’s most distinguished judges considers that the only just resolution of our case is for a complete and unconditional release of our three brothers remaining in prison,” said René González, first of Cuban Five to be released Continue reading

JSC Interviews Rene Gonzalez, Part 3: Support 5 Days for the Cuban 5, June 4 -11, Washington

JSC Interviews Rene Gonzalez, Part 3:

Support 5 Days for the Cuban 5; June 4 -11 Washington

5 days for the 5

In a recent exclusive interview with Cuban anti-terrorist fighter, René González ( part 1 and part 2), JSC asked Rene about upcoming international activities calling on President Obama to release Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio, the Cuban heroes who are still unjustly imprisoned in the US.  Here is his response.

 An International Commission of Inquiry recently held on March 8 and 9, in London.

“In the Colloquium for the Freedom of the Five and Against Terrorism held last November, in Holguín, Cuba, two major events were scheduled for 2014.  The first event was an International Commission of Inquiry recently held on March 8 and 9, in London. It was attended by prosecutors, judges, lawyers, and other important figures in the field of international law from several countries. It was a successful event in which the British people could become informed about all the tricks used in this trial against the Five and against Cuba.  We are very pleased with the support received. The Five express our sincere gratitude for the efforts of the international solidarity movement, and we are confident of our final victory.

5 Days for the 5

rene gonzalez 3c“The other event will be “5 Days for the Cuban 5” to be held in Washington, June 4 to 11. We hope that as many persons as possible will participate in the various events that will take place there.

“The Five expect a group of lawyers and politicians from different countries to mobilize to visit Capitol Hill or the United States Department of Justice.  Those who are not able to participate in the events in Washington may send letters from their countries to these offices.

“In view of the international situation and the places where these campaigns will be held, they take on special significance in the struggle for the release of the Five.   International solidarity is essential for the cause and it is necessary to mobilize more the public opinion in the United States.”

The role of the Jamaican and Caribbean Diaspora

René emphasized the important role of the Jamaican and Caribbean Diaspora in these actions, and reiterated the call to these communities and Latin American communities, both in the United States and Canada, to participate in street activities to be carried out during “5 Days for the Cuban 5” in Washington. He also asked that we focus our efforts on these objectives.

The anti-terrorist Cuban fighter said that he is expecting greater participation in the activities, and noted that the Latin American and Caribbean communities in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom need to know in greater detail the injustice against the Five. The case of the Five, he explained, is also a manifestation of discrimination against minorities in the U.S. judicial system, whether based on skin colour, nationality or political ideas.

Go beyond political boundaries

 With regard to the efforts of the Solidarity Movement, he urged us to go beyond political boundaries, “which means involving people of any political party, creed or organization in the campaigns for the Five … among these people will be influential persons in the political organizations of one’s country … convening only people from the left hinders broader participation in actions.  Among non-left persons sympathies have grown in many important figures.  We should not ignore them, as they are more influential than the left in the higher circles in many countries.”

While expressing appreciation for the opportunity to address the Jamaican and Caribbean peoples on the Cuban Five through JSC, René stressed his interest in taking this opportunity to acknowledge all the efforts and sacrifices made for so many years by the international Solidarity Movement in favour of this good cause.

The Five were fighting not only for the Cuban people

five cuban heroes 12“The Five were fighting not only for the Cuban people, but also for other peoples. We must recall that the bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight in 1976 killed also Korean and Guyanese passengers. A bomb planted by terrorist Posada Carriles´s henchmen in a hotel in Havana killed an Italian tourist. We have worked to prevent all this from happening and we have achieved it to a large extent.”

René also mentioned that his daughter and his wife Olguita, as well as Gerardo´s wife Adriana, are really pleased with the warm welcome and strong solidarity they received during their visits to Jamaica.

Thanks to the government and people of the Caribbean

“On behalf of the Five and the Cuban people, René González thanked the Governments of Jamaica and other Caribbean countries and their peoples for their sustained support for the fight against terrorism, and for peace and the release of the Five from U.S. prisons and their return to the homeland. We cannot forget, he said, that in December 1972 some Caribbean countries were spearheads that broke the siege and isolation imposed by the United States on Cuba through the Organization of American States (OAS). We hope that now the Caribbean region also acts as a strong force that helps us achieve the freedom of the Five.”

Wishes of happiness and success for the Jamaican people from the Five

“Before concluding I would like, on behalf of the Five and the Cuban people, to wish all friends from JSC and the Jamaican people in general, happiness and success this year, and to convey to them our deepest appreciation for their sincere and heartfelt solidarity.


Cuba: Art against Solitary Confinement . . . a tribute to all political prisoners

In a few days the building of Cuban Art from the National Museum of Fine Arts will exhibit the installation “do not thank the silence”, created by the renown Cuban artist Alexys Leyva Machado (Kcho). The idea was inspired by the experience of the Cuban Five in Unit Special Albergamiento (Special House Unit), known as El Hueco in FDC (Federal Detention Center) in Miami, where they remained for 17 months even though according to the regulation of U.S. prisons the maximum period is 60 days..

cuba solitary confinementThrough Kcho’s idea, visitors will discover one of the most sadistic edges of the American prison system and may remain locked up for 5 minutes in a cell about 15 feet long and seven wide with no more furniture than bunk iron with a fine mattress, and concrete seat and table. The toilet is metal and there is a sink and a “mirror” which returns your sad look.

These conditions are created to make people feel like junk, to degrade them to the lowest level,  commented René González and Fernando González to Kcho at a meeting held last Wednesday, March 19.

Kcho researched the topic in detail but the testimony of the two anti-terrorist fighters who have returned to Cuba, as well as drawings of Antonio Guerrero, were vital to the realism that distinguishes the work.

As you enter you feel the discomfort

“I feel that people will come spontaneously and most will want the full experience, including passage through the cell, which is optional.  As you enter the installation you feel, from the outset, the discomfort of being in a controlled, contained space, surrounded by fences and padlocks. That’s the idea,  said the artist.

kcho cuban artist“This will be like a big black cube” described Kcho “half covered by a translucent black curtain, so that you can see something, but likewise be hidden. There will be orange overalls with the name and the judgment of each Five printed on the back. ” Whoever decides to have the experience must remove all their belongings and get one of the uniforms, including flip flops. From that time receive a sentence similar to the treatment gap, that includes wives, their feet chained and called “walk” when taken out of the cell.

The work includes a lounge (also behind bars) for temporary exhibitions and a small “classroom” with desks where some of the audiovisual made on the subject of the Five in the 15 years of struggle for liberation is screened.

A critique of the system that has made prisons a lucrative business that needs offenders

“But it is not only for the Five-said Kcho it is also for the countless and unknown Cubans who have suffered during these fifty years of fighting the United States for Puerto Ricans and all political fighters who have faced the empire. It is also a critique of the system that has made prisons a lucrative, cynical business, a system that needs offenders whom they allegedly seek to reform. ”

rene fernando kcho y olga 1

Kcho: “I’ll be the first to live the experience, I’ll stay that opening night. I’m from little sleep, so I will apologize license to keep a notebook for painting. I will endure only so many hours locked “.

kcho construction underwayKcho: “This work is an indictment of an unjust regime that makes man trash. The U.S. has more than 2 million prisoners and the system operates as a business. Prisoners are needed to make it profitable. In the case of Herman Wallace, for example, the Black Panther who was freed only when he was about to die and spent over 40 years in solitary confinement. ”

kcho construction 2Kcho: “The background to this work is in one I did in 1999 for House of the Americas which was called “Do not thank silence”. It was a great boat cage, a prison.  In 1990 he  made another cage that is in the Fine Arts Museum – it also talks about the detention. It is a call not to be complicit in this silence that reigns in prisons. That silence is bad.

kcho fernando 2

Fernando: “Part of the punishment is solitary confinement, you never see anyone, you have to wait to feel a key to see if your scream made case and ask the guard for cleaning chemicals. In my last experience they almost always said this was apparently due to financial problems. ”

kcho rene 2Even within the Hueco (Hole) they applied various schemes explained as safety, said Fernando and René to Kcho, including the chains that bound both hip and feet.

kcho y fernando 3

This was the first meeting with Fernando and Kcho since his return to the country on 28 February after serving his full 15 years, 5 months and 15 days.

rene fernando y kcho 3

“No thank to silence” will be opened shortly in the National Museum of Fine Arts. Its dimensions, bars and locks, security cameras and the presence of similar employees in El Hueco objects, multiply the realism of the work.

kcho with keysAmong the pieces that multiply the realism of “no thanks to silence”, is the ring stand with multiple keys (see right hand Kcho) and the “line” which consisted of a long rope made from a piece of sheet which is tied at the tip a toothpaste tube (see left hand René), this served to switch to, under the door at full speed, “magazines and a whole lot more,” according to testimony of Antonio Guerrero in the series of watercolors I die as I lived.

Source: Kcho: arte contra la injusticia

International Commission of Inquiry for the Cuban Five in London a Big Success

More than 2,000 people attended the International Commission of Inquiry and associated events for the Cuban Five in London earlier this month. Full reports, photos and films will be available soon, but in the meantime here are some of the highlights.

As well as two days of Commission hearings, associated events included a parliamentary meeting, international concert and closing dinner.

Family members, international guests and public observers at the International InquiryFamily members, international guests and public observers at the International Inquiry

Click here to view images from all the events.

 Over 300 people from 27 countries congregated in London’s Law Society on 7-8 March to hear moving and powerful testimony from 20 expert witnesses into the case of the Cuban Five. You can read a more detailed report from the Commission here
René González was due to be a key witness but was denied a visa

on the day he was due to fly from Havana by the British government. Despite this further injustice René was able to give his testimony to the Commission via Skype and received a standing ovation from delegates in the hall when he appeared on the screen.

The Commission heard testimony form René González via Skype

Three Commissioners presided over six sessions which heard compelling evidence from Cuban victims of terrorism, the families of the five, US legal experts and members of the defense team, and Amnesty International. The Commissioners’ Preliminary Conclusions can be read here  and their final report will be published on the Voices for the Five site within a few weeks.

Voices for Cuba Concert and associated events

As well as the central events of the Commission hearings there were a number of other important activities including a parliamentary meeting, concert and closing meal.

US author Alice Walker and ten British actors during the spoken word section of the Voices for Cuba concert dedicated to Five and their familiesUS author Alice Walker and ten British actors during the spoken word section of the Voices for Cuba concert dedicated to Five and their families

Almost 2,000 people attended a spectacular concert at the Barbican Centre on Friday evening featuring stars of the Buena Vista Social Club Eliades Ochoa and Omara Portuondo , Omar Puente’s Cuban jazz quintet, and spoken word from US author Alice Walker and ten British stars of stage and screen. Standing in for her father, Irmita, daughter of René González, moved many in the audience to tears with an emotional speech

 Omara Portuondo and Eliades Ochoa performing together at the Voices for Cuba ConcertOmara Portuondo and Eliades Ochoa performing together at the Voices for Cuba Concert

The evening ended with a fabulous and impromptu rendition of the beautiful Cuban anthem ‘Guantanamera’ which saw thousands standing, dancing and singing along asOmara Portuondo sang the words “Volveran” and “They will return” as she left the stage

 The weekend ended with a closing meal at Congress House, which was addressed by British trade union leaders, and also by René González via a specially prerecorded message for the event

We will write again to let you know when the final report, and more photos, films and testimonies are up on the Voices for the Five site.

A huge thanks is due to everyone who attended and/or supported the International Commission. A full list of donors and sponsors are listed here , and there is still time to support the Commission and have your name included as a supporter by donating here

  • Links
 There are now more than 5,800 names in support of the Five on the Voices for the Five website? If you have not done so already, please add your name and message of support at
 Thank you from all at the Voices for the Five and Cuba Solidarity Campaign team

United Kingdom Denies Visa to Cuban Antiterrorist Rene Gonzalez

London, Mar 5 (Prensa Latina)

rene gonzalezThe government of the United Kingdom denied visa to Cuban antiterrorist fighter Rene Gonzalez, invited to the International Commission of Inquiry about the case of the Five, to be run on March 7-8 in London.

According to a press release, on Monday, March 3, some few hours before Rene Gonzalez should take his flight from Havana to London, a visa request to travel to the United Kingdom was denied to him.

According to the text, released by the International Committee for the Release of the Five, Gonzalez was the main witness of the event, to be held at the London Law Society.

According to the note, in his denial letter, the UK Immigration office and the Visa Office argued that the refusal is due to item 320 (2b) of the Immigration Law, stipulating that the entry to the country of a person who has been condemned to more than four years of prison is banned.

Although it may be granted in exceptional circumstances, the British government warns that Gonzalez’ participation to the International Commission is not considered a sufficient reason to justify his visa.

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Cuba: Terrorist Attack Against Italian Young Man Remembered

September 4 2013

Source: Prensa Latina

Giustino Di Celmo holds a portrait of hiThe death of Italian Fabio Di Celmo because of a terrorist attack was remembered today in this capital by the workers of the Hotel Copacabana, the place where the attack was perpetrated 16 years ago.

Each September 4 will be a reason to again raise our voices and tell to the whole world that Fabio is not dead, he lives more than ever today, and he will always be with us as a proof that Cuba has only one route to follow, a route to the peace, with solidarity and against terrorism, the workers expressed in an official statement.
In the homage Fabio’s father Justino Di Celmo participated, and remembered Fabio’s sensibility and his interest for the causes of the deprived.

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René González speaks at news conference for the Cuban 5

Washington, D.C. — René González, the first of the Cuban Five to be released from U.S. jails, was the first speaker at the press conference on May 30 in Washington, D.C., that opened the Second “Five Days for the Five.” The purpose of this international event is to take up the case of the Cuban Five and raise awareness about both this serious criminal injustice and the overall criminal U.S. policy toward the Republic of Cuba.

Free the Cuban FiveTo change U.S. policy and to liberate the rest of the Five — our brothers Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández and Ramón Labañino — we must let the people of the United States know of this effort and convince them to join it. While we know a good job is being done in the legal arena, we also know that victory in most cases can be won only through the pressure of public opinion.

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The American people must be informed on the Cuban Five Case

Rene y lawyer Phil Horowitz in cubaCuban anti-terrorist fighter Rene Gonzalez said in Havana that the American people must be provided with information about the case of the five Cubans, who were arrested in the U.S. for having thwarted actions by Miami-based ultra-right organizations.

The United States is the appropriate scenario to talk about the Cuban Five, said Rene Gonzalez, who served 13 years in a US prison and over one year under probation since October 2011, till he renounced his American citizenship in exchange for a modification of his parole conditions to stay in Cuba with his family.

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