Breaking the Silence: Justice for the Five
Peoples’ Tribunal & Assembly September 21-23, 2012
Toronto, August 30, 2012: Almost 14 years ago, the Cuban Five – René González, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Fernando González – were falsely charged and wrongly convicted in a Miami courtroom of “conspiracy to commit espionage” against the U.S. on behalf of the Cuban government. Ever since the unjust conviction, the five Cubans have been held in separate U.S. prisons, often in solitary confinement.
In fact, the politically-motivated trial and conviction of the Cuban five had nothing to do with threats to U.S. security. The Cuban Five never conspired to commit espionage. They were on a mission to monitor and report on violent groups in Miami that are well known by the U.S. government to be responsible for terrorist acts against the Cuban people.
For more than 50 years, hundreds of attacks have been launched against Cuba by these extreme right-wing groups, whose aim is the violent overthrow of the Cuban government. Their campaign of bombings, assassinations and other attacks has left 3,478 Cubans dead and 2,099 seriously injured.
The Cuban Five were peacefully trying to do what U.S. law enforcement authorities have refused to do – prevent terrorism. This horrific injustice against the Five has provoked an unprecedented campaign in the U.S., Canada and around the world to demand that their convictions be overturned and that they be granted immediate release.
As part of this international effort to achieve the freedom of the Cuban Five, a number of trade unions and solidarity groups from across Canada, in coordination with the Canadian Network on Cuba and La Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba, are convoking a Peoples’ Tribunal & Assembly on September 21-23, 2012 in Toronto, to shed new light on this egregious injustice and to build a broad public campaign to demand their freedom.
The Peoples’ Tribunal & Assembly aims are: to act as a forum for education and for launching an appeal to get justice for the Cuban Five; to break the silence of the mainstream media about this case; to map out the next steps of a broad and united campaign on the Cuban Five across Canada.
The Peoples’ Tribunal, composed of prominent Canadian and international panelists, will hear from expert witnesses before rendering a ruling. Although the Tribunal’s ruling will not be legally or judicially binding, it will carry moral force and suasion of the outrage of concerned people across Canada and internationally.
Witnesses will testify to the suffering caused to the Cuban people and to others as a result of all the terrorist attacks against Cuba and Cuban interests. They will testify to the unjust trial in Miami, the U.S. government’s covert payments to journalists covering the trial, the horrendous sentences given to the Cuban Five and the violation of international law by the United States government regarding the inhumane treatment they have endured, the denial of visitation rights to family members and the U.S. government’s harbouring and protection of self-confessed anti-Cuban terrorists.
The Peoples’ Assembly will serve to develop and adopt an extensive plan of action to pressure the Canadian government to join the international demand urging U.S. President Obama to use his authority to immediately release the Cuban Five and allow them to return to their homeland.
Guests and participants include:
Family members of the “Cuban Five”; Livio Di Celmo, a victim of terrorism against Cuba, Montréal, Québec; Danny Glover, actor, U.S.A.; Gloria La Riva, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five – U.S.A; Cindy Sheehan, anti-war activist, U.S.A.; Libby Davies, NDP MP, Vancouver East; Rodolfo Dávalos Fernández, lawyer, Havana, Cuba; Tony Woodley, UNITE trade union, UK; José Pertierra, lawyer, Washington, D.C.; Denis Lemelin, National President, Canadian Union of Postal Workers; Marie Clarke Walker, Canadian Labour Congress; Isaac Saney, professor, Dalhousie University, Halifax; Arnold August, writer, Montréal, Québec; Raymundo Navarro, Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC); Bernie Dwyer, documentary film producer, Ireland; Julian Rivas, journalist, Venezuela; Wes Elliott, Grand Chief, Grand River Territory; Keith Bolender, journalist and author, Toronto; Richard Klugh, lawyer for the Cuban Five, U.S.A.; Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada, United Steelworkers; Stephen Kimber, professor of Journalism, University of Kings College, Halifax; Alicia Jrapko, International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, U.S.A.; William Sloan, civil rights lawyer, Montréal, Québec.
For more information about the Peoples’ Tribunal & Assembly, and to find out details about registration, go to www.freethe5peoplestribunal.org or contact the Organizing Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.