Political Prisoners in Latin America & The Cuban 5

Posted: January 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Latin American-Canadian Solidarity Association (LACASA) and the International Network in Solidarity with Colombian Political Prisoners (INSPP) are organizing the screening of From Beyond These Walls. LACASA and Free the Cuban Five, London Committee are organizing the screening of The Trial.  SUN FEB 10 (1-4 pm) at Old East Studios (755 Dundas St.)

From Beyond the Walls: A Visit with the Women of El Buen Pastor, Patio Six (film by Ernesto Pacheco, play directed by Frida Espinosa Cárdenas in collaboration with INSPP and AFGJ) is a play based on testimonies, poetry, and collective statements of the political prisoners of the Buen Pastor Women’s Penitentiary in Bogota, Colombia collected between 2008 and 2011, and on letters written by ex-political prisoner Liliany Obando.

Currently there are approximately 10,000 political prisoners in Colombia. Colombian jails also hold more than 4,000 mothers. The stories presented are of women and mothers deprived of their liberty due to their political work in Colombia. This is a story of revolutionary motherhood, family resiliency, and of an ongoing struggle — we are responding to the call for international solidarity. This particular subject is fundamentally important in the context of the peace talks between FARC- EP and the Colombian government presently taking place in Havana, Cuba because the political prisoners of war and of conscience held in the nation’s prisons or abroad as the result of the internal armed conflict, of the application of state terrorism, the persecution and criminalization of social protest.

Political prisoners of conscience and prisoners of war in Colombia, subjected to every type of physical and procedural torture, are crammed into the jails of the so-called System of High and Medium Penitentiaries and Prisons (EPCAMS), which is inspired in its concept of high security by the US. Additionally, insurgent combatants have been sent to the US, ignoring their status as political prisoners of war, given absurd sentences and imprisoned in undignified conditions violating their basic rights as in the cases of Simon Trinidad, Sonia and Ivan Vargas of the FARC-EP.

The INSPP and LACASA struggle for the immediate release of all the political prisoners. In the specific case of Simon Trinidad, we join the call to President Obama and the government of Colombia for their intercession aimed at making possible his participation in the discussions in Havana.

Speakers to include  Humberto Ponce de Leon, a political refugee from Colombia and member of LACASA, the Canadian solidarity campaign in support of Colombian Political Prisoners, and the International Network in Solidarity with Colombian Political Prisoners.

The Trial: The Untold Story of the Cuban Five

Produced by the Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC) in association with Telesur. Narrated by Danny Glover.

 Who Are the Cuban Five?

The Cuban Five are five Cuban men in U.S. prison, serving four life sentences and 77 years collectively, after being unjustly convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001. They are Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and René González. The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of conspiring to commit espionage on the United States, and other related charges. But the Five never engaged nor planned to engage in espionage. They were only monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups, to stop terrorist attacks on Cuba. The Five harmed no one and neither used nor even possessed any weapons while in the United States.

The Cuban Five’s mission: to stop terrorism:

For more than 40 years, anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based in Miami and financed by the CIA, have engaged in countless terrorist attacks against Cuba, and against anyone who calls for normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba. More than 3,400 Cubans have died as a result of these terrorists’ attacks. The Miami terrorists operate with complete impunity inside the United States to attack Cuba—with the knowledge and support of the FBI, Homeland Security and the CIA. In the early 1990s, with the U.S. refusing to apprehend the Miami terrorists, Cuba sent the Five to Miami to monitor the terrorists. The Cuban Five infiltrated the terrorist organizations and successfully stopped many plots. Cuban and American lives were saved. But instead of arresting the terrorists, the FBI arrested the Cuban Five ANTI-terrorists, on Sept. 12, 1998.The Five were illegally held in solitary confinement for 17 months in Miami’s federal detention center, unable to properly prepare a defense. During the seven-month trial based in Miami, a virtual witch hunt atmosphere existed. Despite five defense motions for a change of venue out of Miami, the judge denied the Five their right to be tried free from the prevalent anti-Cuba hysteria in Miami. In a blow to justice, the Cuban Five were convicted June 8, 2001 and sentenced to four life terms and 77 years in Dec. 2001. The Free the Cuban Five, London Committee and LACASA are committed to for the immediate release of the 5 heroes.

  1. […] Political Prisoners in Latin America; Colombia: A Case Study (1-4pm) […]

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