Cuban Five Gathering to Be Held in Havana

JUVENTUD REBELDE

Young people from around the world are preparing to participate in the Third International Youth Congress in Solidarity with the Five Cuban Antiterrorists to be held in Havana from June 11 to 13. The Young Communist League of Cuba (UJC) said that the gathering is being held at a crucial moment in history and represents a demonstration of the unity in favor of freedom for the five

Nyliam Vázquez García/nyliam@juventudrebelde.cu

Young people from around the world are preparing to participate in the Third International Youth Congress in Solidarity with the Five Cuban Antiterrorists to be held in Havana from June 11 to 13.

The Young Communist League of Cuba (UJC) said that the gathering is being held at a crucial moment in history when the world youth movement finds itself immersed in critical battles in the context of the economic crisis. The participation in this gathering at such a time represents a demonstration of the unity in favor of obtaining freedom for the five Cuban antiterrorists.

In a trial plagued with irregularities and held in a highly biased Miami court, the Cuban Five —Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero and René González— were given harsh sentences ranging from 15 years to consecutive life terms plus 15 years.

The five Cubans were working to uncover information about terrorist activities being planned and carried out against Cuba by ultra-rightwing organizations based in southern Florida with a long record of terrorist actions against Cuba and the Cuban people. When they turned their information over to authorities they were arrested and have been in jail ever since.

During the international gathering, participants will share experiences and draw up a new roadmap with an aim to expand the calls and actions against the injustice committed against the five men who have spent more than 12 years in US prisons.

UJC National Executive Board member Leira Sanchez told Juventud Rebelde that the gathering for the Five is a very important event for the UJC. “The aim is to bring together, in Cuba, young people from around the world united for a cause championed by the Cuban Revolution; but also to guarantee the ongoing struggle for self-determination, sovereignty and independence that our Five heroes stand for.”

The youth leader said that one of the main objectives of the event is to break down the wall of silence build up by the US government surrounding the case of the Five.

“To have an impact on international public opinion and to once and for all put an end to the injustice, young people from around the world together with the solidarity committees must come together in a creative and active manner,” said Leira Sanchez.

The Third International Youth Congress in Solidarity with the Five Cuban Antiterrorists is held every two years in Havana. Among the goals of the gathering is to provide participants with an update on the current state of the process of the Cuban Five and what needs to be done to have a greater impact in the struggle to obtain their freedom.

The gathering includes four workshops. In the first workshop, participants will share regional experiences and strategies in the struggle to free the Cuban Five.

José Luis Bencomo, from the University of Information Sciences, leads the workshop devoted to new technologies. The workshop will be accessible via Internet and social networks, and an interactive forum will be open on the Internet on June 13.

Adán Iglesias will head the workshop on using humor to raise awareness about the case. He called on cartoonist to submit their work regarding the case of the Cuban Five to the JR website which is hosting an online gallery.

A fourth workshop, on Culture and Nation, will be hosted by the Hermanos Saiz Association and will focus on the experiences of young artists and their efforts to help win freedom for the Cuban Five.

“The fact that more than 180 participants from around the world will gather in Havana is significant for our organizations, because it is also a demonstration to the world that the Cuban Revolution is strong and well,” said Leira Sanchez.

Speaking about the Cuban experiences that will be brought to debates and workshops, Sanchez said that among the national initiatives that will be presented are those led by the University Network of Solidarity with the Five and the Jose Marti Pioneers Organization.

“Despite all our efforts, we are aware that there stills exists a profound ignorance regarding the case and the goals is that every single corner of the planet, no mater how small and remote, learn about the case of the Cuban Five and join the solidarity movement against the injustices committed,” concluded Sanchez.

The misguided arrest of the Cuban Five in 1998 and the subsequent travesty of justice led to their convictions on multiple unsubstantiated charges in 2001. The Cuban Five were dedicated to uncovering plots by ultra-rightwing Cuban-American organizations based in Miami with a long record of terrorist actions against Cuba and the Cuban people.

A UN Working Group reviewing the case determined that the trial did not take place in a climate of objectivity and impartiality, which is required in order to conclude on the observance of the standards of a fair trial.

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