Vancouver Protests Continue:
"The 5 Are Heroes, US Government: Let Them Free!"
By Noah Fine
As the U.S. Government moves in an attempt to close the case of the 5 Cuban Heroes in there favour, protest and cries for justice ring louder then ever as the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver organizes its 27th and 28th monthly picket line in front of the U.S. Consulate.
On Tuesday March 25th, energetic chants of “Free the Cuban 5 now!” rang throughout the streets of Downtown Vancouver as over 25 people gathered outside the U.S. consulate.
David Whittlesey, a participant in the U.S. civil rights movement and long time social justice activist opened the protest with an update on the case of anti-Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles known for his admitted terrorism against Cuba who currently walks free in Miami while the Cuban 5 remain in prison.
After David spoke, the picketers hit the pavement and chanted and marched in a long picket line stretching in front of the consulate as people stopped to pick up information on the case.
The next speaker was Kira Koshelanyk, a coordinator of the Alison Bodine Defence Committee (ABDC). Kira passionately related the case of the Cuban 5 to the Case of Alison Bodine, a young Cuba solidarity activist and Pastors for Peace Caravanista who was politically targeted by the Canada Boarder Services Agency for her social justice work and now faces a two year ban from Canada.
After several more rounds of pickets and chants with Cuban flags waving in the wind, the last speaker to take the megaphone at this picket was Noah Fine, coordinator of the Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver. Noah spoke about the wives and family members of the Cuban 5 who have continuously been denied visas by the U.S government to visit their loved ones in prison.
On April 22nd, cries of “U.S. Hands Off Cuba!” and “Let the 5 Free!” welcomed supporters to the U.S. Consulate for the 28th time in 28 months.
Max Tennant from Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) opened the picket beautifully and moved the crowd by reading some of the poetry written by the 5 while in prison.
Inspired by the poetry, protesters took to the sidewalk, picket signs and banners in hand, with loud and incredible chants of “We Fight We Fight for Liberty! The Cuban 5ive will be Free!”
Next up was Tamara Hansen, the coordinator of VCSC. Tamara spoke about the U.S. attempt to militarily invade Cuba through the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. She outlined that this military invasion was one of the first major terrorist attacks conducted against the island and the first major defeat for the U.S in Latin America.
Picket MC Sarah Alwell, Coordinator of the Social Justice Committee of the Capilano Students’ Union, closed the protest by outlining the importance of the Cuban 5 and what they represent for the movement for Social Justice. She also reiterated the necessity for people to come to the streets to demand justice and that “as long as the Cuban 5 are imprisoned we will come to the streets every month until the very day that they are free and reunited with their loved ones!”
The picket ended with people energized and ready to continue the fight for justice!
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