Home | About Us | Newspapers | Materials | Campaigns & Issues | Links | Contact Us

    Native People's Alliance Fundraiser in Seattle for Cuban 5ive
    A Huge Success!

    By Kerri Goodwin
    On May 24, 2008, the Native People’s Alliance with Friends and Allies called out to all peace loving people and supporters of the Cuban Five to come together for a fundraiser to support the case of the Cuban Five in Seattle, Washington.

    The Cuban Five are five heroes who are being held in jails across the United States for defending their country from attacks by US-backed terrorist groups. Organizers from the Free the Cuban Five Committee-Vancouver and the Indigenous Rights and Action Project from Vancouver went down to Seattle to attend the exciting fundraiser that the Native’s People Alliance with Friends and Allies was hosting. After crossing the border and driving down to Seattle, we pulled into the driveway of El Centro de la Raza, where the event was being held.

    Upon arriving, we met with Harold Belmont, an active organizer with the Native’s People Alliance with Friends and Allies, who gave the opening welcome with song and also spoke passionately about his history of going from being a dispossessed drunk on Skid Row to being radicalized with the social movements of the 1970s. In particular, he talked about how his involvement in the American Indian Movement impacted him. He said after hearing about the Cuban Five case, it was important to undertake immediate action. This case is also strongly connected to the Indigenous political prisoners and struggle today. This fundraiser was his effort to help for their freedom.

    Roberto Maetras, the executive director of El Centro de la Raza, welcomed us in to the center and spoke some of the dynamic works that the center has done. He spoke about one of the exciting events that had happened when a delegation of Cuba came to visit the center. He sang a song that gave the crowd an interesting look at Cuba. Beatrice Funk, who is on the National Lawyers Guild, spoke briefly about the legalities around the case of the Five.

    After a few speakers, everyone was standing as Harold Belmont and Kelly White welcomed everyone for dinner and also gave the ceremonial offering plate before everyone ate a very delicious meal.

    Harold invited Aaron Mercredi next, who is an organizer with the Indigenous Rights and Action Project (IRAP) and Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) to speak about the Cuban Five and other political prisoners such as Leonard Peltier that are being held in US prisons today. “Leonard Peltier and the Cuban 5 are people who are the backbone of our movement today. Their example and their legacy inspire new generations of fighters who have joined the fight for social justice,” Aaron said. Aaron ended his talk by saying that we, the people of Canada and United States, need to take a step further to build the work about cases that are unjust. Jane Cutter, who is an active member and organizer of the antiwar organization International ANSWER in Seattle, gave an outlook on the work that the National Committee for the Five organizes.

    It was very exciting to see that the Indigenous community took a big step forward to become closer to connecting the struggles that Indigenous people face and the Cuban people face against imperialism that lies in Canada and the United States. The event came to a closing with a ceremonial blanket song and material give away about the Cuban Five.

    The event fundraised over three hundred dollars for the legal costs for the five heroes. It was a huge honour for Free the Cuban 5 Committee-Vancouver and the Indigenous Rights and Action Project to be a part of this significant event. Together we must stand for social justice and freedom for all political prisoners, regardless of borders!

    Back to Article Listing