Presentation on Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban Five work

We have the upcoming five days for the Cuban 5 in Wash DC. Danny Glover, Dolores Huerta, Glen Ford, Angela Davis, Ramsey Clark will be there.  If you cannot go, you can encourage others to go, you can publicize it, you can encourage your contacts in the DC area to go, you can donate to make it a success. The International Committee to Free the 5 now has a $5000 matching fund, so every dollar you donate is doubled. The whole series of events is expected to cost $30,000.
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Letting Rene Gonzalez stay in Cuba is a victory like getting Mumia Abu-Jamal off death row. It shows some pressure on the government is having an effect, and we have noticed it as early as 2005. Yet it is not what we want. Another of the Cuban 5 is due to be released next February.
The Obama administration has recently ruled out exchanging the Cuban 5 for Alan Gross.  After the US Supreme Court ruled out giving them a fair trial, at the instigation of the Obama administration, this seemed the most likely method for them to gain their freedom.
 The Cuba solidarity movement here in the US has been lacking in defending the Cuban 5. We have yet to build a broad, national movement to free the Cuban 5.  There have been important activities by different groups and individuals, but that is not the same as a national movement. To get the government to feel real pain for their crimes requires building a powerful national and international force.  There is not even division among elected officials or in the corporate media about the case.  No national representative has spoken out about the case.
Latin America has changed in the last 15 years, but the Latin America solidarity movements have not adjusted to this change.  The time of building solidarity movements with one or another nation in Latin America:  Cuba, Venezuela, El Salvador, Colombia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Honduras has passed.  Latin American nations are rising as a collective group. Now, if we want to defend one, we need to defend the others. Intervention in Colombia would seriously threaten Venezuela. A coup in Venezuela would have a disastrous effect on Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador.
Building solidarity with Cuba and the Cuban 5 means not restricting ourselves to Cuba, but working in and building the movement with all the nations of the Americas that are rising up. Otherwise, we artificially limit ourselves and isolate ourselves from natural allies.
In addition, the Cuba movement should play a more active role in the anti-war movement struggles.  It has tended to isolate itself from these other movements, so that when there were opportunities to build new allies, these were not taken up. As an example, the struggle to defend the hunger strikers and political prisoners in Guantanamo, in Cuba, has not met with the active participation of the Cuba solidarity movement.
What are upcoming activities of the Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban 5?
  1. We will be working with others to protest the presence of Colombia’s ex-Pres Uribe in Chicago Friday, May 10
  2. Event on Venezuela since the elections with two local Venezuela groups, Thursday, May 16 DePaul.  With Bert Hestroffer and Lee Artz
  3. Day of Action to Shut Down Guantanamo Friday, May 17, 4:00pm until 6:00pm  Federal Plaza
  1. Report back on North Korea, Thursday, May 23 DePaul.
The DPRK is the victim of sanctions and blockade like Cuba, the government not recognized by the US.
  1. Speaking at ALD May 24 and 25 at U of C and Winnie Mandela HS.
  2. Be at the LASA conference and Cuban 5 days in DC
  3. Workshop at the Left Forum in NYC with the Cuban Mission and Arnold August
  4. A event about Cuba in conjunction with other groups at the NOW conference, July 5-7
  5. Pastors for Peace Caravan party in July
    10.And what will be significant, Working with other groups to bring Mumia Abu Jamal: Long Distance Revolutionary to a commercial theater in Chicago
May Day began as a day of protest of immigrant workers demanding an 8 hour day.  We have come a long way, but working people need to continue fighting to restore the 8 hour workday.  And millions of Latino workers in this country must endure a system of American apartheid.  Our laws acknowledging they are human beings and that they have “God-given” human rights, as it says in the Declaration of Independence, are denied to millions of Latinos.  That they are treated as second class, at best – that is a system of apartheid.  Even Black slaves were honored by our freedom-loving forefathers as being 3/5 s of a person.
This May Day Bradley Manning, a patriot to the American people and the people of the world, remains in prison for exposing US terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The perpetrators of this terrorism remain free.  Bradley Manning is a hero who is standing up for the rights of all of us. Imprisonment of Bradley Manning is the imprisonment of all of us.   You should follow Courage to Resist about his case.
This May Day the Cuban 5 still remained jailed or trapped in the so-called US criminal system.  As Mumia Abu Jamal said, they are imprisoned because they exposed the terrorism of Miami exile Cubans against Cuba.  They have been imprisoned here in the US since 1998, framed up in a Miami court,  denied the right to a fair trial by the US Supreme Court. Even the United Nations Human Rights Commission has condemned their incarceration. Take a card and read about the case.
 Last Wednesday I  was in Philadelphia for the rally for Mumia. He remains locked up for life, like the Cuban 5, denied a fair trial. He has been imprisoned since 1981, 33 years, allegedly for killing a cop, even while another man has confessed to the murder.
 Leonard Peltier of the American Indian Movement, imprisoned in 1976, remains locked up for life, allegedly for killing 2 FBI agents, even though the bullets and gun used to kill them  were not tied to Leonard.
 Lynn Stewart, the human rights lawyer remains locked up, and the government refuses to let her out of prison, even though she is may well be dying of cancer.  Oscar Lopez Rivera, the Puerto Rican nationalist, is spending his 32 year in prison, imprisoned on “conspiracy” charges.
 Meanwhile the big bankers who looted this country leading up to 2008, they remain free, they still make more money than you and I can imagine.  They are out free, not even suffering the minor punishment the Chicago police torturer Jon Burge has received.
It is hard to imagine how rich the rich are.  The UN said $60 billion would end world poverty. The 100 richest billionaires last year made $241 billion last year. The 100 richest billionaires last year made $241 billion.  The money the 100 richest made last year would eliminate world poverty 4 times over. If we took $60 billion of their last year’s income, leaving these 100  with an annual income of  $180 billion, we  world poverty would be ended. But instead 19,000 children die every day in the world  because of lack of food and lack of clean water.
 This system is insane and criminal. Yet last month we saw North Korea made out to be the insane country. The US killed 4 million Koreans in their war on Korea.  They killed 20% of the population of the North.  They threaten the North with invasion and nuclear weapons. Like Malcolm X said, the US government and the US corporate media are good at tricking us into believing the criminal is the victim and the victim is the criminal.
 The US is trying to overthrow the government in North Korea, and it is now trying the overthrow the new elected government of Venezuela. The US has a blockade on both Cuba and North Korea.  On a smaller scale the US government has done the same to the Occupy Movement.  It infiltrated agents to disrupt it, it used its secret police to disrupt it, it used their corporate media to smear and violence-bait it in the press. It has used police violence to deny the occupy movement its First Amendment right to assembly.
We must keep on fighting for our rights, and for our planet.  The rulers of our country hope by their tremendous wealth, their tremendous power and their tremendous control, that they can disorganize and demoralize us.  We must keep fighting back, were must keep resisting, as time is on our side, not theirs. And remember, as Utah Phillips said,  “the degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free.”


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