Vancouver Forum Marks 12 Years of Unjust Imprisonment for Cuban Five Print

Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver

On September 9th, 2010 participants gathered, some for their first time and some after many occasions, to hear about the struggle for liberation of the 5 Cuban Heroes held in U.S. prisons. This event was organized in Vancouver as part of an International Period of Action taking place to mark the 12th year of the unjust imprisonment of the Cuban 5 and to strengthen the worldwide campaign to free them.

The Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver and Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) co-organized this very special event to commemorate these 12 years of struggle. The event was honored to have as special guest speakers, Basilio Gutierrez, Vice President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and Raul Cardoso, from the Canada desk of ICAP.

To begin the event, the evening's facilitator, Tamara Hansen, coordinator of VCSC announced the loss of a great fighter in the Cuba solidarity and social justice movement, the passing of Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr. Walker was the founder of the IFCO/Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba which has been for over 20 years organizing one of the greatest international campaigns in solidarity with Cuba and to end the immoral and inhuman blockade by the U.S. government. Tamara introduced a beautiful book addressed to the family, friends and co-fighters of Rev. Lucius Walker and encouraged all of the participants of the event to write their feelings towards Walker in its' pages.

The event continued with a wonderful musical opening by long time supporter of the Cuban 5, Joaquin Ernesto, who gave tributes to Walker and the 5 Cuban Heroes sharing songs from Cuba and Latin America.

The live music made way for the introduction of the first of the two special guests from Cuba. Raul Cardoso spoke first with aid from a PowerPoint presentation to explain the history of U.S. sponsored terrorism against Cuba and to outline the work of the Cuban 5 to expose the terrorist crimes. Raul also gave an in-depth history of the case of the 5 Cuban Heroes from its' beginning.

Basilio Gutierrez spoke next, passionately describing the situation of the legal process of the Cuban 5 and the necessity of the international movement to free the 5 Cuban Heroes. He explained that the legal avenues of the case are coming to a close and that the decisive battle for their freedom will come from the political pressure of the campaign to free them.

After these two dynamic presentations, the floor was opened up for questions and discussion. Many of the participants at the event asked questions or made comments about the case of the 5 Heroes, the Cuban revolution and Fidel's recent talks in Cuban public life.

People participating in the event created a lively discussion which led Basilio to state that we must organize more events to be able to address all of the questions and comments that were brought up about the 5 Cuban Heroes and Cuba.

The event was a great launch of the International Period of Action in Vancouver and to demand:

Free the 5 Cuban Heroes Now!