September 13, 2011

Canadian Labour Congress join CFS, MPs and other voices in supports Cuban Five

Following Resolution GR-39 "Solidarity with Cubans on Trial," The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) has agreed joined with a number of other Canadian organizations calling for Justice for the Cuban Five.

The CLC's resolution, passed at their 2011 convention, calls to "express our solidarity with the Cuban 5; and write to the United States' (US) President Obama asking him to allow visitation rights for the families of the Cuban 5 and urging him to immediately release the Cuban 5." Their letter is reprinted below.

The CLC joins with a number of other voices in support of the Five, from Canada. On Dec. 12th 2007, forty Bloc Québécois deputies and sixteen NDP Members of Parliament in Canada sent a letter to Canada's Foreign Minister speaking out in favour of the Cuban Five.

Shortly before he died in August, Jack Layton, leader of the NDP spoke at a solidarity event for the Cuban Five and said: "Hundreds of thousands of Canadians go to Cuba, but are not sufficiently aware of what faces the Cuban Five and their families. [...] This is the beginning of a campaign, and our Party will be part of it. How moved I am by your stories."

In addition to the labour movement the Canadian Federation of Students has called for the Five's immediate release. In a 2008 letter their National Chairperson wrote that "The ruling of the United Nations and Amnesty International confirms that the case of the Cuban 5 is a highly political trial that was thoroughly unfair and unjust. As such, we urge you to act immediately to allow visitation rights to the family of the Cuban Five and to release them from jail without delay."

Dear President Obama,

On behalf of 3.3 million members of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), I am writing to protest the continued imprisonment of the Cuban 5 and to ask you to intervene so as to procure their release from prison and be allowed to return to their families in Cuba.
Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Fernando Gonzalez, and René Gonzalez have been imprisoned since 1998. René Gonzalez was released from prison last October but must carry out three years supervised probation in Miami. He was recently denied permission on humanitarian grounds to return to his country for at least two weeks to see his dying brother, Roberto.

These men were charged with multiple offences including conspiracy to commit espionage. In truth, they were in the United States unarmed and never posed a threat of any kind to U.S. national security.

They were in the United States to monitor the activities of Cuban exiles who, operating from bases in Miami, were planning violent actions against innocent people in Cuba. In fact they were trying to prevent more brutal acts against their country and save innocent lives. The continued incarceration of these Cuban patriots is morally indefensible.

I urge you to exercise the power of your office and grant a pardon to the Cuban Five, allowing them to return to their families in Cuba.

Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

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