Worldwide Pressure to Free the Cuban Five is Intensifying
TORONTO, September 18, 2012 – The opening of the Peoples’ Tribunal and Assembly will take place on Friday, September 21, at 7:00 p.m. at the Steelworkers Hall at 25 Cecil Street, Toronto. The public is invited to attend the Tribunal and Assembly sessions on September 22 and 23, 2012, to be held at Toronto City Hall.
With Tribunal participants present
Friday, September 21, 2012 at 11:00 am, Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Room 303, Toronto
Individual interviews may be scheduled in advance and will follow the media conference
Peoples’ Tribunal and Assembly
Saturday, September 22, 2012– “Peoples’ Tribunal”
8:45 am to 4:00 pm, Peoples’ Tribunal, Toronto City Hall Council Chamber
Followed by a rally at 4:00 pm for freedom for the Cuban Five
Opposite the United States Consulate, University Avenue south of Dundas Street W.
Sunday, September 23, 2012– “Peoples’ Assembly”
10:00 am to 12:45 pm, Peoples’ Assembly, Toronto City Hall Council Chamber
1:45 pm to 4:30 pm, Workshops to strategize and develop action plans for justice
and the release of the Cuban Five
“On May 27, 2005 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention…took a stand in favour of the Five. A record number of 12 prestigious “Friends of the Court” petitioned the US Supreme Court to revise the case which was brought to this highest court in the land by the Cuban 5 lawyers. However, despite the world-wide condemnation, the US Supreme Court refused to review the case in 2009. To add insult to injury, the Supreme Court did not give any reason for its denial.”
Arnold August, member of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five and the Comité Fabio Di Celmo pour les Cinq of the Table deconcertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba, writing in GlobalResearch.ca, April 13, 2010.
Amnesty International, October 2010 Report:
“[H]aving reviewed the case extensively over a number of years, the organization believes that there are serious doubts about the fairness and impartiality of their trial which have not been resolved on appeal. … Amnesty International is supporting calls for a review of the case by the U.S. executive authorities through the clemency process or other appropriate means.”
UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions ? Five-judge opinion issued May 27, 2005:
“… the climate of bias and prejudice against the accused in Miami persisted and helped to present the accused as guilty from the beginning.”
Jimmy Carter, President of the United States, 1977-1981, Statement made on March 30, 2011:
“I believe that the detention of the Cuban Five makes no sense, there have been doubts expressed in U.S. courts and by human rights organizations around the world. They have now been in prison 12 years and I hope that in the near future they will be freed to return to their homes.”
Miguel D’Escoto, President of the United Nations General Assembly, 2008-2011:
“The Cuban Five were in the United States because they infiltrated, not government agencies, but the terrorists who work out of Miami, to stop their attacks. Miami has been one of the biggest terrorist havens in the world. The government’s pretext of a global war against terrorism is not credible when the most distinguished of anti-terrorism heroes are punished. President Obama has the power, without needing to go to any court, to immediately correct this.”
On July 9, 2012, Kenneth Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, wrote a letter of protest to U.S. President Obama in defense of the Cuban Five. On behalf of the organization’s 3.3 million members, he stated, “The continued incarceration of these Cuban patriots is morally indefensible. I urge you to exercise the power of your office and grant a pardon to the Cuban Five, allowing them to return to their families in Cuba.”
Trade unions representing hundreds of thousands of members in Canada and Québec have spoken out for justice for the Cuban Five. Representatives of several of these unions will participate in the Peoples’ Tribunal and Assembly on the case of the imprisoned Cubans, to be held in Toronto, September 21-23, 2012.
In 2008, 56 Members of the Canadian Parliament from Québec and Canada signed a letter that deplored the unfair trial and conditions of detention imposed on the Cuban Five. The letter declared that the continued imprisonment of the Five could not be justified and demanded justice for the imprisoned Cubans and for their families. The letter was signed by 40 Bloc Québécois and 16 New Democratic Party MPs and was forwarded, during the week of June 23, 2008, to David Emerson, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, with copies to Michael Mukasey, Attorney General of the United States, and David Wilkins, Ambassador of the United States to Canada.
In March, 2008, 92 Québécois personalities in the artistic, legal, political, and academic milieus, labour organizations, religious organizations and community groups signed a letter calling for the immediate release of the Cuban Five. Their letter was addressed to Michael Mukasey, Attorney General of the United States; David Wilkins, United States Ambassador to Canada; and Maxime Bernier, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Signatories included Claudette Carbonneau, president of the CSN (the Confederation of National Trade Unions, in Québec), and Elsie Lefebvre, former Bloc Québécois party Member of Parliament.
The Canadian Federation of Students, acting on a resolution passed during its Semi-annual General Meeting in May 2008, wrote a letter to U.S. president George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain, demanding the immediate release of the Cuban Five. The CFS represents more than half a million students across Canada.
Other International Voices Speak Out for Justice
Eleven international Nobel Prize winners have protested the unjust treatment of the Cuban Five:
Zhores Alferov, Nobel Prize in Physics, 2000
Máiread Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize, 1976
Darío Fo, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1997
Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1991
Günter Grass, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1999
Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel Peace Prize, 1992
Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize, 1980
José Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize, 1996
José Saramago, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1996
Wole Soyinka, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1986
Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize, 1984
Eight of the above Nobel Laureates wrote and sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney General in 2007, calling for freedom for the Cuban Five. The letter was also signed by 6,000 intellectuals and artists of all the world.
On February 8, 2007, 110 Members of the U.K. Parliament demanded of the U.S. Attorney General that the Cuban Five be freed.