Free the Cuban Five
Giustizia per i Cinque was an event! Comitato Italiano Giustizia Per I Cinque equipped Piazza Farnese with a stage, sound system and lights. [See photos]
Many speakers took the stage throughout the afternoon and evening. Among them, Rodney Alejandro Lopez Clemente-Cuban Ambassador to Italy, Marco Rizzo-Europarliamentarian, Marco Ferrando-Partito Comunista dei Lavoratori, and Patrick Boylan spoke on behalf of our group and then read a message sent to us by Robert Meeropol.
There was plenty of live music too. Victor Quinones and Teresa Lafauries as well as other talented musicians and singers performed.
We began by distributing fliers and then circulated with two different petitions. One called on Rice to allow the Cuban Five to have regular visits from their wives and children. The other petition called on Bush for the immediate release of the Cuban Five. We collected hundreds of signatures. The petition to Rice will be sent directly to Washington, D.C. The Bush petition will be sent to the national "Free the Five Committee" in San Francisco who will deliver them.
The day before our demonstration, five people were arrested in an act of civil disobedience in front of the White House as they asked to deliver petitions (102,000 signatures from 78 countries) to Bush calling for the immediate release of the Five. You can see the video of their arrest at: www.freethefive.org
We also provided addressed and stamped postcards to anyone who wanted to send a message of support to the Five; imprisoned in five different maximum security facilities throughout the United States. There were 25 postcards addressed to each of the Five for a total of 125. All were signed with heartfelt messages. Many people chose to give a donation and we collected a total of €43.20 which helped to offset the expense of the the postcards and stamps.
We estimated that by the end of the evening, about 300 people had attended the demonstration.
Special thanks to Patrick for speaking on behalf of our group. To David for his support and presence in the piazza. To Maria Chiara for her translation work on the flier and the Meeropol letter. Thanks to Anna, Gene, and Maria Chiara for gathering signatures. And, a big thank you to all our members who attended and participated in the demonstration.
Letter from Robert Meeropol
I send you my greetings from the United States and express my support for your efforts to free the Cuban Five.
My name is Robert Meeropol, but I was born Robert Rosenberg. I am the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg who were executed by the United States government when I was three-years-old in 1953 for supposedly stealing the secret of the Atomic Bomb, a crime they did not commit. I am sure there are others at this rally who can explain the details of the Cuban Five case better than I can, but I still have strong feelings about this travesty. And there is one aspect of the case I feel particularly strongly about.
The Cuban Five are suffering a grievous on-going human rights abuse. All of the Cuban Five have had their family visits severely restricted. For instance, Rene Gonzalez was not allowed to see his daughter Ivette for seven years, from the time she was an infant until she was eight-years-old. And as far as I know Rene and Geraldo Hernandez have never been permitted to see their wives for the entire term of their imprisonment. This is a human rights outrage and a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions. Simply put, it is a form of torture.
I know from personal experience how important it is for children to visit their incarcerated parents. My only memories of my parents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, are of our prison visits to them when I was a small child. It is vital to Ivette's development that she see her father on a regular basis. And it is equally important for the families of all of the Five and for the mental health of the Five themselves to have regular visits with their families.
I am not optimistic about the politically vindictive American judicial system releasing any of the Five for quite some time. That does not mean we should not raise howls of protest at their unjust incarceration. But in the mean time we must also fight for the right of the Cuban Five to see their families.
Regrettably, all but a few in the United States will close their minds to the legal injustice of the imprisonment of Cuban supporters of the Cuban revolution. But a broader segment of the population will be sympathetic to the plight of those who are not allowed to visit with family members. This is a way to broaden our movement and involve people who, as they learn more about the legal particulars, may come to see the unfairness of the Cuban Five's imprisonment. It is a way to bring more attention to this case, throughout the world which, in turn, will increase the chances for release of the Cuban Five.
I salute you for your efforts – keep up the fight.
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