Vancouver Vigil for the Cuban 5 Print

Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver



The Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver continued its participation in the growing annual International Period of Action in Solidarity with the Cuban Five by organizing an all-day vigil in front of the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver on September 13th, 2010. The vigil lasted 11 hours, from 8am to 7pm, and was punctuated by a spirited picket action denouncing the now 12 year imprisonment of the Cuban 5 Heroes and demanding their immediate release.

Downtown traffic slowed to look at two large banners demanding "FREE THE CUBAN 5 NOW!" while pedestrians were greeted by vigil participants explaining the case of the Cuban 5 and asking them to sign postcards addressed to Barack Obama demanding their immediate release, as well as offering Free the Cuban 5 Committee – Vancouver created postcards intended to be mailed to family and friends who may not yet have heard of the case.

Throughout the day dozens of people participated in the picket including many members of the Latin-American, faith, LGTB, Middle-Eastern, and progressive communities.

A letter of protest was written addressed to the U.S. Consul General in Vancouver Phillip Chicola, as well as to U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Although the letter was delivered during regular consular hours, the delegation was told by security guards blocking the door there was no one in the Consulate capable of receiving the letter. While the head of security finally agreed to deliver the letter personally, the delegation remained committed to returning and will have ample opportunities as monthly picket actions will continue in Vancouver until the Cuban 5 are released.

The day culminated in the busy picket action with over 40 people participating. Speakers included Free the Cuban 5 Committee – Vancouver members and decades-long social justice fighters Nestor Ortega and David Whittlesey, as well as Lyne Alton who had travelled from Vancouver Island to participate in the action. Sean O'Donoghue from La Table de Concertation de Solidarité Québec-Cuba also gave greetings via telephone, while local rapper Speeches Beyond and poets Seoniad Lamb and Luis Velasquez added an important cultural dynamic to the event in support of Cuban 5 heroes.

Participants left the picket agreeing to continue to struggle for the immediate release of the Cuban 5, and reaffirming the final sentence of the protest letter delivered to the U.S. Consulate:

"Our demand may be simple, but our voices are getting louder:

Free the Cuban 5 Now!"