The Infinite Weight of 16 years

_10th-international-symposium-for-the-five-2014-09-12( Photo: Roberto Suárez )

The kids are grown up, the Five have aged, there is no family which time has not reached to see the end of this fight. So much injustice calls for strengthening the global solidarity movement with this cause

By: Nyliam Vázquez García and Susana Gomes Bugallo

So that Ignacio René, the grandson of René González, will not have to fight for Gerardo, over 280 delegates from around 45 countries have met in the 10th International Symposium for the Release of the Five and against Terrorism, to tell how they have made this fight theirs, and what is the plan so that Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio do not spend a second more in prison.

The reason given by Irma González, daughter of René, amid the exchange of the children and nephews of the Five, was the perfect reflection to illustrate the need for the end of an injustice that has lasted for 16 years.

This is the first colloquium in which Fernando is participating after having completed serving his sentence. René was in the ninth and now is travelling various parts of the world, as well as other family members, to support what is happening in these days of intense solidarity.

Living testimony to the manipulations of the trial and the inner world of these men part of the rigged trial, is in the Acquitted by solidarity exhibition by the poet hero which inaugurated this conference and shocked everyone by mixing complaint, patriotism and even humour implicitly involved in the 16 watercolours. But more than that, what can be seen, said Maria Eugenia Guerrero, sister of Tony, at the inauguration- is the love that the artist puts into his work.

The new exhibition by Tony-a journey through the memories of the seven months of the trial-continues the story begun by the artist in the exhibition I die as I lived. With his particular way of telling the dramatic experiences, as he has done with the Hole, in those of the trial, there is also a lot of synthesis and reflection without an iota of hatred. Tony returns to his sensitivity to talk about love and the profound significance it had for them to speak their truth in Miami, despite knowing that in that city a fair trial would be impossible.

Justice in London, a documentary by Roberto Chile on the International Commission of Inquiry held in March, was presented as evidence of the fight in Europe. Rob Miller, director of the campaign of solidarity with Cuba in Britain, told the media of some of their expectations for the next analysis that must occur in his country due to the recent denial of visa to René to participate in London in activities in commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the arrest.

Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the United States, who gave strength to this meeting with his wise arguments, confirmed that the event is proof that Cuba has earned respect with the actions of many friends around the world who have made this struggle the centre of their life.

It is not a crime to prevent violence in the world, nor a crime what is done to protect the people. Many decent people in America suffer the injustices committed against these men and are here to confirm the position of all those who want peace on earth, he said on behalf of the 38 Americans, the largest delegation attending the symposium.

Christopher Matlako, representing the South African Communist Party, said that the solidarity is growing in his country and the solidarity movement proposed to hold a meeting in South Africa as a symbol of the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

For his part, Marcelo Elio Chavez, president of the Chamber of Deputies of the Legislative Assembly of Bolivia, denounced that the United States called terrorists patriots, dignified and defenders of independence. He further ruled that Washington has not responded to any of the reports various international organizations have issued demanding justice.

Tamara Hansen, University of Vancouver, Canada, said that we all have the political responsibility to fight for the Five and we must do it in a more coordinated and attractive way to achieve effectiveness and reach everyone through social networks or any more interactive and dynamic way. She called for each country to gather their solidarity groups each fifth day of each month to face any representatives of the USA, as the solidarity movement of her region has done for 106 months.

To us the Five remind us of our imprisoned comrades, said Wafika Mehdi Ibrahim, representative of the fight in Lebanon, who brought greetings and the testimony from Anwar Mohamad Yassine, who spent 17 years imprisoned in Zionist prisons and is now an active member of the Committee in Solidarity with the Five in their country.

Graciela Ramirez, coordinator of the International Committee to Free the Five, called for unity of the solidarity movement and read a message from Alicia Jrapko, coordinator of the organization in the United States, who is leading the actions taking place these days in Washington.

Jrapko proposed holding the 4th Five Days for the Five in Washington in September 2015, to allow more time to organize the event, which necessarily is looking to shake the American public that knows little of the injustice committed on its soil.

A life in the battle

When they started this fight they were still infants. Today they are men and women who continue demanding justice for the murder of their family members at the hands of terrorists. Odalys Perez Rodriguez, daughter of the captain of a Cuban airliner that was flown from Barbados and blown up on October 6, 1976, advocated the imprisonment of Luis Posada Carriles and the rest of the murderers who remain free, while the Five are suffering prison.

Researchers and active fighters against terrorism denounced the constant attacks on the State and people of Cuba, how the Five fought to prevent these actions against any country in the world, and the sentences they received as an extreme and irrational injustice.

Not another colloquium, not another second

The Final Declaration concluded the first day of the Symposium. It planned to increase the call for upcoming events, to give more strength to this fight.

After the committee meeting of the different geographical areas of the world, representatives of these groups told the rapporteur of their discussions and proposed initiatives considered most effective.

Letters to the American president and his wife by the thousand and are designed to raise their position on the case; Miami activists protesting outside the office of the judge of the case, Joan Lenard; digital campaigns targeting youth; increased use of new technologies and social networks to disseminate information; plan more attractive and varied activities that include cultural, sporting and recreational events; take the case to world religious leaders to pray for the rights of the Five; were some of the proposals.

Fernando González thanked Holguin, headquarters for nine years, the delegates to the 10th Colloquium, and all fighting for Five in the world.

He reasoned that the fight should focus on that every action has repercussions in the United States, in order to influence the power structures. He said that this is the time to put pressure on this government, to see more losses than gains in their attitude and feel the need to eliminate this policy of continued aggression against Cuba.

The Final Declaration mentioned that this cause is the most urgent for Cuba, together with the lifting of the genocidal blockade maintained for more than five decades. The solidarity movement of the world agreed that the actions will continue until the Five return home.

As the Action Plan of the 10th International Colloquium for the release of the Five and against Terrorism, in addition to the ideas of the working committees, it was agreed to continue to involve all people of good will into the cause, especially young.

The upcoming international events and initiatives in each region should have the greatest possible coverage and grow in visibility and influence. Mobilising the world’s parliamentarians to influence peers and enlist artists who are followed by people is one of the purposes in order to succeed in this struggle.

Symposium delegates united on one of the points of the action plan’s commitment to youth organizations to add the new generations to fight for the return of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio.

Also at the event were José Ramón Balaguer, member of the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee and head of its Department of International Relations; Rogelio Sierra, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, and Ricardo Alarcon, tireless fighter in the case of the Five.

Translated by ESTI

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