September 14, 2012 - No. 114
Free the Five Cuban Patriots
Imprisoned by the U.S.!
Fourteen Years Too Many! Free the Five
Cuban Patriots Imprisoned by the U.S.!
• Fourteen Years Too Many! Free the Five Now!
• A Father's Plea for Justice -
Giustino Di Celmo
• A Challenge to Journalism - Ricardo
Alarcón de Quesada, President, National Assembly of Cuba
• 17th Annual Toronto Day of Friendship
• Eight Annual Montreal Day of Friendship a
Free the Five Cuban Patriots Imprisoned
by the U.S.!
Fourteen Years Too Many! Free the Five Now!
September 12 marked the 14th anniversary of the unjust
imprisonment of the Cuban Five, Fernando González Llort,
González Sehwerert, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, Gerardo
Hernández Nordelo and Ramón Labañino Salazar,
Cuban patriots imprisoned for reporting to U.S. authorities terrorist
activities against Cuba carried out from U.S. soil. A related
anniversary was marked on September 4, the 15th
anniversary of the death of Fabio Di Celmo, a Montrealer of Italian
origin killed in 1997 by a
bomb set by anti-Cuban terrorists in the Copacabana Hotel in Havana
where he was staying.
The Cuban Five were
sentenced to lengthy prison terms in September 1998 for their work to
expose the notorious anti-Cuban terrorist groups based in Miami which
are instigated and
funded covertly or overtly by the U.S. government.
Since their arrest, the U.S. government, despite its claims of being
opposed to terrorism, has done nothing to end terrorism against Cuba
launched from U.S. soil. Instead, it has done everything in its power
to submit the five Cuban patriots to vindictive treatment, beginning
with 17 months
of solitary confinement before the start of their trial in Miami in
That trial has been
denounced internationally, including
by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in May 2005. On March 4,
2009, then President of the UN General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto
Brockmann called for the release of the Five during the session of the
UN Human Rights Council. Many
other internationally-known personalities and organizations, too
numerous to mention have taken a stand to call for the freedom of the
Even though René González was released
from prison in Marianna, in northern Florida on October 7, 2011, after
13 years of unjust imprisonment, the U.S. government refuses to let
him leave the country. The struggle to liberate the Five continues.
To add further insult to these injustices, the U.S. has
overlooked the self-admitted terrorist Luis Posada Carriles' presence
in the U.S. Vindicated of some minor immigration charges in
2010, since then this mastermind of various terrorist attacks against
Cuba has roamed the streets of Miami as a free man
where he continues to conspire with his criminal counterparts. This is
the self-righteous hypocrisy of a country that has carried out
state-sponsored terrorism against Cuba for decades, as well as its
notorious coup d'etat against Chile in 1973, amongst many other crimes
including today the drone attacks in Pakistan, and others that
have yet to come to light.
The United States persists
in denying the Five their
freedom, according to their politics of revenge against the Cuban
people who defend its sovereignty and independence. The families of
the Cuban Five are similarly victimized because they are denied visas
enter the United States to visit their loved ones in prison.
Justice-loving people in Canada, the United States and
around the world demand the immediate release of the five patriots. In
addition to the thousands of ordinary citizens, many public
personalities, Members of Parliament and organizations have spoken in
favour of their release.
To publicize the case of the
Cuban Five, and with the
aim of raising public pressure for their release by U.S. President
Barack Obama, a meeting entitled "Breaking the Silence -- Tribunal and
Popular Assembly: Justice for the Five" will be held in Toronto from
September 21 to 23. One of the highlights will
be the Peoples' Tribunal with Canadian, Quebec and
international speakers and expert witnesses who will
expose what took place in the trial of the Cuban Five and their
imprisonment since then.
TML calls on everyone to go all out to support
the work of the Tribunal by sending delegates to the meeting and
popularizing its verdict and the case of the Cuban Five. Organizations
and individuals can endorse the People's Tribunal and register to
participate by visiting the official website for the
event, where the program, poster and brochure can also be found: www.freethe5peoplestribunal.org
Join the Work to Free the Cuban Five and
Oppose U.S. State-Sponsored Terrorism Against Cuba! Hands Off Cuba!
End the Blockade!
A Father's Plea for Justice
Fabio Di Celmo was an Italian tourist who, while
visiting Cuba, lost his life on September 4, 1997. A resident of
Montreal, Fabio was the innocent victim of a terrorist attack against
Cuba. On the 15th anniversary of his death, his father, Giustino Di
Celmo, recounts its impact.
There is no greater pain than the one felt by a father
over the death of his son, even more so when that son has died a
violent and cruel death...
Fifteen years ago, on September 4 of 1997, a murderous
bomb that was planted at the lobby of the Copacabana Hotel, cut short
life of Fabio Di Celmo, my son, my Fabiucho, a young man who had barely
lived 32 years when he became an innocent victim of a terrorist action
that plunged my entire family
into grief and despair...
Recently, on June 1, 2012, the day when Fabio would have
celebrated his 47 birthday, his mother, Ora Bassi, who for more than
sixty years had been my wife and my love, passed away. Ora shared with
me the pain of having lost Fabio, our youngest son. She died without
the comfort of knowing that the person
who masterminded and ordered that terrorist action had been tried for
his crime. That is not fair.
Photo of Fabio di
Celmo, killed in a Havana hotel bombing in 1997. Held up at the October
6, 2011 Havana vigil for victims of state
Luis Posada Carriles masterminded the terrorist action
that killed my son. I will never forget the statements made by this
criminal, which were published by The
York Times on July 12 and 13
of 1998. After recognizing that he had hired the murderous hand of the
Salvadoran mercenary who planted the
bomb at the Copacabana Hotel, he confessed to the journalist, without
any decency, that he was not concerned about Fabio's death and that he
slept like a baby because.... "The Italian was in the wrong place at
the wrong time."
However, despite innumerable denunciations, Luis Posada
Carriles, a confirmed and confessed terrorist, is walking freely down
the streets of Miami and has been awarded several recognitions and
honors granted by the Cuban-American mafia and the extreme right of the
United States of America. The farce of
his trial at El Paso, Texas, was the last straw. He was only tried for
being a liar, although evidence showed that he had masterminded the
action that caused Fabio's death...
And then I ask you:
How is it possible that a country that is said to
condemn terrorism is sheltering a terrorist with such a long record of
crimes, including the blowing up in mid-air of a CUBANA airliner off
the coasts of Barbados, the murder of hundreds of Venezuelans and the
death of my son?
How is it possible that the US Government includes Cuba
in a list of terrorist countries when Cuba has only been a victim of
the terrorist actions perpetrated by the criminals that the US
Government itself has hired and protected?
Why is it that the big media do not say that the Five
Cuban anti-terrorists are still imprisoned in the United States for
trying to prevent the commission of terrorist actions in Cuba while the
terrorists are living in freedom in the United States?
How is it possible that the big media remain silent in
the face of such injustice, thus denying the American people the
opportunity to know the truth?
I could ask many more questions which will make my
statement endless. The answers to those questions would confirm the
double-standards of the US Government and the big media when it comes
I only wanted to tell all of you that I am a
hard-working and peace-loving man, a 92 year-old man who, despite his
pain, does not harbor any ill feelings of revenge. Since Fabio died I
swore to have no rest until justice is served, and so I decided to stay
in Cuba. I want to be part of the struggle that this country
is waging for justice.
I swore I would stay in Cuba until the final moments of
my life because, as I have said many times, everyday I see Fabio
walking down the streets of Havana; at the court where he used to play
football; at the restaurant he longed to have, which is now named after
him. Day after day I pass by the house where
Fabio used to live and I feel that by doing that I can look after him,
because a good father never abandons his children.
I am very grateful to all those persons who have given
me words of encouragement; those who have not abandoned me in this
struggle for truth and justice; those who work to knock down the wall
of silence that surrounds the terrorist actions perpetrated against
Cuba; the Cuban Five, who infiltrated the Miami
mafia groupings and risked their lives, their families and their
happiness to try to prevent the commission of terrorist actions like
the one that cut short the life of my son. I feel grateful to the
Government and the Communist Party of Cuba, the Cuban Institute of
Friendship with the Peoples, the Cuban-Italy Friendship
Association, La Villeta, the Comitato Fabio Di Celmo and all other
institutions that both in Cuba as well as in Italy have supported me in
this endeavor. My special gratitude goes to the people of Cuba, to each
and every one of those persons whom I meet in the streets and hug me on
behalf of Fabio. All of them
make me feel that the members of the Di Celmo family are not alone when
we keep on crying out for JUSTICE for Fabio before the deaf ears of the
government that is sheltering the mastermind of these actions...
Finally, I would like to convey my gratitude and respect
to Commander Fidel Castro. I want Fidel to know that I will never cease
in the struggle to bring Posada Carriles and all other terrorists to
justice. I will always reject the hypocrisy and double standards of the
United States Government. I will never get
tired of living up to my determination, of struggling until the last
moments of my life. I dream of hugging Fidel again, as he once hugged
me and Ora, and telling him: Did you see, my Commander? Justice has
been served! ....the terrorist have been prosecuted...No one else will
ever cry for their crimes, as Tiziana,
Livio, my wife and I did...!
I ask all of you to allow me to fulfill this dream.
Together we could make it, if we denounce the injustice and double
standards of the imperialists; if we struggle to have Posada Carriles
extradited to Venezuela so that he is tried for the crimes he
committed; if we all struggle for the freedom of the Cuban Five
and for peace in a better world for all.
Thank you, very much.
A Challenge to Journalism
The government of the United States committed flagrant
violations of the Constitution and Law to guarantee the unjust
convictions of the five Cuban patriots who will soon complete 14 years
of arbitrary and illegal punishment. It was not an isolated act but
rather a systematic effort that encompassed the period
of the Five's prosecution, in which many millions of dollars were
There is still only partial information about the
duration, the persons involved, the resources used and other important
aspects of this operation. Regardless, that conduct requires the
authorities -- both the Court and the Executive -- to provide for the
immediate freeing of our compañeros. Washington has also
to hide what it did, thus committing an additional crime, that of
This is the essence of the Affidavit that Martin Garbus,
attorney for Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, has just submitted to
Joan Lenard, judge of the Southern District of Florida. The text
supports his previous motion demanding the overturning of Gerardo's
conviction, and failing that, for the judge to order discovery
of all the evidence the Government is hiding, and to grant an oral
Although there are many other
violations detailed in the
appeals process -- now in its last, extraordinary phase -- this
document focuses on the conspiracy of the Government with the local
Miami media to convict the accused beforehand and make a fair trial
The substance of this conspiracy was using that media to
unleash a propaganda campaign of unprecedented hatred and hostility.
For that they employed a considerable number of "journalists" -- in
reality, undercover Government agents -- who published articles and
commentaries that were repeated day and night,
producing a real storm of misinformation.
From Nov. 27, 2000, when the trial began, to June 8,
2001, when they were declared guilty, The
Miami Herald and El Nuevo
Herald alone published 1,111 articles, an average of more than
day. Something similar occurred with the Diario Las Américas,
completely saturating the written press.
The "journalists" received pay from Radio and TV
Martí, in other words, from the U.S. federal budget. These
individuals did additional work in those two stations, which was
disseminated in the Miami area, where both anti-Cuba media had and
still have direct transmission. It was also reproduced through local
media (another violation of U.S. law that prohibits official propaganda
within the United States).
It is not just Radio and TV Martí and the print
newspapers. The so-called "journalists" appeared also on local radio
and television stations, in Spanish and in English, and they used other
publications -- some free -- which are circulated there.
It was impossible to escape the endless propaganda in
any part of southern Florida.
But the criminal action of the "journalists" -- and of
the Government that paid them -- went beyond propaganda. During the
trial the defense complained several times that the journalists tried
to influence the members of the jury, by revealing materials that the
judge had ruled inadmissible, which obviously only
the U.S. Attorney's office could have provided.
And if this were not enough, the "journalists" were
determined to harass the witnesses and jurors. The jurors complained to
the Judge that they were afraid, that they were pursued with cameras
and microphones, something acknowledged several times by Judge Lenard,
who asked the government, obviously without
success, that it assist in preventing situations that tarnished the
image of the U.S. judicial system. (See the official trial transcript,
pages 22, 23, 111, 112, 625, 11644-14646).
In August 2005, the three judges of the Court of Appeals
ruled unanimously to declare null and void the Miami trial because it
was conducted under what they described as "a perfect storm of
prejudice and hostility" created precisely by the local media. When
they issued the historic opinion, the three judges did
not know, nor could they know, that the one responsible for that
"perfect storm" was the Prosecution that failed in its constitutional
duty to uphold the law and guarantee a fair trial.
The first news of the Government's conspiracy with its
paid "journalists" surfaced a year later, in September 2006. Since
then, the Government has resisted the efforts of U.S. civil society
organizations to have the government comply with the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA), and reveal the extent of these
payments and contracts. The Prosecution has also opposed the demand
contained in the extraordinary appeals of our compatriots and has
threatened to resort to "executive privilege" and the pretext of
national security to perpetuate the cover-up.
The case of the Five has a strange relationship with the
media and journalistic profession. In Miami the media was a decisive
instrument to convict them. Outside of Miami they are punished with
The irrefutable denunciation of Martin Garbus presents a
challenge to professional journalists. Will they maintain the silence
again, making themselves accomplices of those who sullied their noble
profession? Or will they rescue the honor of their profession by
calling for the charlatans to be unmasked and that
truth and justice prevail?
The great irony in the case of the Cuban Five seems to
be its relationship with the media.
In Miami, the case had out-of-proportion coverage, and
the "journalists" and local media were instrumental in the creation of
an environment of irrational hatred that would result in the outcome
predetermined by the government. Self-appointed professional
journalists distorted the facts, lied and fabricated an image
that showed the accused as present threats to the community. In their
role as covert government hirelings, these "journalists" fulfilled the
task they were paid to perform.
They coordinated their actions with the prosecution and
terrorist groups from the early stages of jury selection; and they did
this especially to introduce -- more than seven months after the
arrest -- a new and totally fabricated accusation of "conspiracy to
commit murder." Most of the trial and media attention revolved
around this infamous slander. The jurors were constantly overwhelmed by
interviews and press conferences with colleagues and relatives of the
victims, conducted right in front of them, outside the courtroom. Then,
at home they would see and hear this repeated on radio and TV. In their
own homes they could see
themselves being followed by cameras and microphones as they were
leaving the courthouse.
Outside Miami, the trial of the Five did not catch the
interest of the big corporate media. Details of the case were not
reflected in news agency dispatches, published in the print media, or
covered by radio or TV outside Florida. It found no space -- not even
once -- on the TV channels that are devoted exclusively,
24 hours a day, to reporting US court occurrences.
How to explain such a disinterest? It was, at the time,
the longest trial in the history of the United States. Generals,
colonels, high-ranking officials and experts, an admiral and an advisor
to the president were called as witnesses; well-known terrorists
identified as such -- some of them wearing their war-trade costumes --
took the stand. This was a squabble implying international relations
and issues related -- truly or allegedly -- to national security and
terrorism, the favorite topics of the big media. But nobody said
anything except the local media. For the rest of the people the trial
simply did not exist.
The subject was ignored outside Miami. But there, local
correspondents and broadcast stations reported everyday and took part
enthusiastically in the media madness that flooded the city.
The ironclad censorship imposed on the case allowed for
the amazing impunity with which the authorities protected the
terrorists and, unjustly and cruelly, punished five men who confronted
them heroically, unarmed, without resorting to violence, without
hurting anyone. The prosecution never concealed that
this was its purpose. They clearly said it several times, as can be
read in the records of the proceedings. They had no concerns, because
they trusted the silence of the big media and knew the general public
seldom reads official records or attends court sessions, and finds out
what happens through journalistic accounts.
The jurors, for their part, day after day for more than
half a year, saw how the prosecutors held friendly chats with witnesses
who bragged of their violent militancy and their terrorist
accomplishments; they heard the strong statements of the former and the
threatening diatribes of the latter.
When they got home to their families and neighbors, they
were harassed by the same images. These were known faces and voices.
They had been seen shortly before, when they kidnapped
the 6-year-old child, Elián González. They defied the
federal government and its judges, created chaos in the city and
threatened to set it on fire. The jurors remembered that nobody had
been punished or prosecuted then. They had witnessed the unprecedented
impunity, and feared it could be repeated and turned against them, if
they did not deliver the verdict this mob demanded; they had confessed
this many times when they were interviewed during the jury selection
process. They were afraid.
And their fear increased as the long months went by; it
grew even more when the "journalists" ran after them with their lights
and microphones. The jurors complained many times and the Judge
believed they were right. But things remained the same.
The prosecutors, on their part, kept telling them that
they, as jurors, had a serious responsibility; that in their hands was
nothing less than the survival of the United States and of the
community that was watching them.
The jurors were frightened and felt abandoned. Not a
single voice was heard in the local media to defend them and call for
serenity and prudence. Most of all the jurors wanted to have the damned
trial over with, go back home, and be forgotten.
They did not take long to decide. The longest trial in
history ended with the shortest deliberation. But that was not news
The habeas corpus
requests for the Cuban Five unjustly
imprisoned in the United States, and in particular the affidavit
submitted by Martin Garbus, Gerardo's lawyer, focus on the role
performed by "journalists" who, paid by the US government, created an
environment of hysteria and
irrational hatred that frightened the jurors until they brought in a
guilty verdict despite the fact that the US Attorney did not present
any evidence and -- even worse-- admitted they could not substantiate
their main charge.
However, this is not a confrontation between the Five
and their lawyers against journalism and journalists. It is really the
The operation orchestrated in Miami by the US Attorney's
Office, apart from violating the Constitution and the rules of due
process, was also an insult to a profession that deserves respect. It
was a Miami newspaper -- The Miami
Herald -- that first revealed the
existence of the secret operation in which some of
their writers took part. These, by the way, were fired, because their
editor considered their actions in violation of journalistic ethics.
The author of the revelation, Oscar Corral, paid dearly
for his defense of professional ethics. Instead of being awarded for
his investigative reporting he faced, in his own words, "an
campaign to intimidate, harass, and silence. It was a barrage. Some
threats were very specific and mentioned my family."
This made his editors move him to live in a safer place.
True journalism was also a
victim of government
But, who were the "journalists" paid by the government,
and why were they hired to do what they did?
All of them, without exception, were members of -- or
close links with -- organizations that in Miami cultivate violence and
terrorism. Some of them are themselves convicted and confessed
terrorists; a few had done some previous journalism and are able to
write more or less a couple of pages; others would not have passed the
admission exam to any
school of journalism. They all have a long experience as provocateurs
and frequently take part in radio and TV programs, characterized by
their impudence and loudness, which openly promote the use of force
against Cuba. All had the qualifications to
be hired by Washington to carry out a clandestine operation. In other
words, they were people they could trust and so were given the job and
paid generously. After all, the money did not come out of their own
pockets; it was taxpayers' money.
It was all paid out of Radio and TV Marti budgets. These
are government enterprises, financed by the federal budget which is fed
from taxes and other public contributions; that is, from the money of
the citizens and residents of the United States. But these, who
unknowingly were paying for the covert operation,
never heard about it.
For this reason, Garbus' affidavit stresses the fact
that this is a matter of exceptional importance. First of all, for our
Five compatriots, who will soon reach their 14th year in prison. But it
is also important, and very much so, for those who are not in prison.
It is particularly important for true journalists,
without quotation marks. Those who perform with honesty a profession
some others corrupted and turned into an instrument to kidnap five
In the closing lines of his affidavit, Garbus mentions
the US Attorney General: "Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. was not
responsible for this prosecution when it began. He is now. [Gerardo
conviction should be vacated."
The professional journalists and the media outside Miami
were not responsible for this crime when it was committed. But now that
they know what happened, they cannot avoid their responsibility.
Silence now would be complicity.
Part Four: A Fabricated Murder
On February 24, 1996, a lamentable event took place in
front of the Malecón in Havana. Two small planes belonging to a
terrorist group in Miami were shot down by anti-aircraft defenses when
they violated the Cuban national territory. Dozens of similar
violations had taken place that year and the government had publicly
warned it would not tolerate repetitions of such actions.
The event greatly increased tensions
between the United States and Cuba and was the subject of intense
debates within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and
the UN Security Council.
On May 7, 1999 -- more than three years
and two months after the event -- the government of the United States,
irresponsibly and capriciously, used the incident and turned it into
Count No. 3, Conspiracy to Commit Murder, against Gerardo
Hernández Nordelo alone.
The proceedings against the Five
focused mostly on this charge. To this accusation the court devoted
most of its sessions, experts and witnesses. Relatives of the men who
lost their lives on February 24 were present every day in the
courtroom, made public demonstrations, and gave press conferences right
then and there in front of the members of the jury.
This issue was the focus of the media
campaign. Thousands of articles and comments were produced about it for
the press, radio and television.
Strangely, the media paid great
attention to Count No. 3 even before it existed. It can be stated
without a doubt that the charge was the result of a conspiracy between
the government and the terrorist groups responsible for the event. In
this conspiracy, the "journalists" paid by the government had a
In September 1998, when the FBI
arrested the Five, the US Attorney pressed charges against the accused.
Count 3 was not there, there was no mention of aircraft incidents,
shot-down planes or anything of the sort. The accusation against
Gerardo was added more than seven months later when he and his comrades
were in solitary confinement, isolated from the world, in their first
visit to "The Hole" that lasted 17 months.
An analysis of the Miami press between
September 1998 and May 1999 is evidence of the previous statement. We
can find many declarations by leaders of terrorist groups widely spread
and amplified by "journalists," asking the government to add the new
allegation. Among other things we can read extensive information on the
meetings between prosecutors and terrorists, from which the "Second
Superseding Indictment" would emerge to take the place of the first and
include Count 3.
A reading of both documents from the US
Attorney would make any self-respecting journalist be surprised and
feel an obligation to enquire. According to these documents, the FBI
had managed to discover who Gerardo Hernández Nordelo was
really, and what he was doing in the United States, at least since
1994, more than two years before the 1996 incident. They had been able
to decipher his communications with Havana; they knew what he was doing
and what he was being instructed to do. Thus, they did not act against
Gerardo and his comrades, because they knew his work was not at all
damaging to the US or the American people.
They also knew that Gerardo had nothing
to do with the 1996 events. In those days, there was a great uproar,
not only in Miami, but also in Washington. Bill Clinton, the president
at the time, has written that he had received proposals even of a
military attack against Cuba. The more aggressive groups in South
Florida ranted night and day, calling for war. The complicity of these
groups with the local FBI is well-known. Can anyone believe they would
have done nothing against "the culprit" for the shooting down of the
planes? That they would have done nothing against him if they had had
him right there, surveilled by the FBI, in Miami?
And Cuba? None of the communications
between Havana and Gerardo, in the FBI's possession and presented at
the trial, suggest that there was even the slightest concern about his
safety or the need to protect him from the risks he could face if he
had had any participation in the incident. Gerardo continued his work
in Miami for almost three more years. He came to Cuba for vacation and
nobody thought he should stay here to protect his life.
When he was arrested in September 1998,
he was not charged with anything related to the 1996 events simply
because the FBI knew, at least since 1994, what Gerardo was doing and
therefore knew he had nothing to do with that unfortunate incident.
However, in 1999 they came up with the
unbelievable slander of accusing him of first degree murder -- with
malice aforethought -- and they did this -- the FBI, that is, the
government -- to satisfy the wishes of the terrorist mafia and their
lip-servicing buddies in the media who were also on the government
So weak was the charge that the US
Attorney understood later they could not prove it and asked to withdraw
it. This would have made front page news in any other case, but not in
the case against the Five.
Celebrations of Friendship with Cuba
17th Annual Toronto Day of Friendship Celebrated
On August 25, the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association
in Toronto and the Association of Cuban Residents in Toronto "Juan
Gualberto Gomez" held the 17th annual Toronto-Cuba Friendship Day at
Nathan Philips Square in front of Toronto City Hall, under the slogan,
Friendship for the World."
City Councillor Joe Mihevc,
read a message of greetings from the Premier of Ontario. Representing
the Consulate General of Cuba in Toronto were the Consuls Julio E.
Pujol and Raul Delgado Concepción who gave the main speech. The
celebration was attended by the Consuls of El
Salvador, Haiti, Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, local
community organizations which work to build support for Cuba such as
the Toronto Forum on Cuba and the Latin American Solidarity Network,
the President of the Jamaican Residents Association
and representatives of political parties.
People from all walks of life took part in the day's
activities, including sampling Cuban cuisine and the varied
presentations of Cuban musical groups Iyá Iré, Yani
Borrell and Clave Kings and Paul Terry and Son de Cuba.
Eighth Montreal Day of Friendship a Success
The large banner of
the Cuban Five was designed by Quebec artist Armand Vaillancourt.
On September 8, the Eighth
Montreal Day of Friendship
with Cuba was held in the Saint-Michel district of Montreal which is
celebrating the 100th anniversary
of its founding. The day was dedicated to the Cuban
literacy method Yo Si Puedo (Yes I Can), as September 8 is
International Literacy Day. This
literacy method is part of the rich contributions Cuba has made to
enable the people of poor countries to read and write in a short period
of time. It is recognized and practiced internationally and has helped
many countries including Venezuela, Bolivia and Haiti to reduce and
even eliminate illiteracy.
For this Day of Friendship, the Table de concertation de
Québec-Cuba organized a festive, social and political evening to
celebrate the bond that unites the peoples of Cuba and Quebec.
This friendship was forged since the early years of the revolution
infamous blockade imposed by the U.S.
government against Cuba and through the opposition to the threats posed
United States against Cuba and against
Cuba's right to be. This friendship is reflected in the support of the
Quebec people for the campaigns organized to demand the release of five
Cuban heroes unjustly imprisoned
in the United States since 1998. It is also reflected by the tens of
of Quebeckers who visit the island every year.
Alain Gonzalez Gonzalez, Consul of the Republic of Cuba
in Montreal delivered greetings on the occasion, as did
Councillor Frantz Benjamin who spoke on behalf of Annie Samson, Mayor
Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc Extension. The event was animated by the
radio personality Maggie Metellus. Music, poetry, songs and dance by
the artists Acalanto, Vic Vogel, Junior Sandlaire and Los Quebecos Del
Sonalso filled the space, to the delight of all those present.
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