Monday, September 13, 2010

Artists for the Cuban 5

Danny Glover with Gerardo Hernandez last month at the federal pentientiary in Victorville, California, where the great actor visited the Cuban hero and pledged to organize actors and artists in support of the Cuban 5.    
Danny Glover, a longtime friend of the Cuban Revolution and of all struggles for justice and peace, is stepping up the campaign to demand freedom for the Cuban 5. As of yesterday, Sept. 12, these five young men have been in U.S. prisons for 12 long years. They are serving sentences ranging from 15 years to double-life plus 15 years. A double life sentence with 15 years added onto that! What did they do? Murder, chop up and eat children? No. Here's what they did: infiltrate terrorist groups that operate in Florida and report to the Cuban and U.S. governments on these terrorists' plans for bombings and other violent attacks inside Cuba.

In other words, they prevented terrorist attacks on civilian targets in their country. Not only that, they provided full information on the terrorists' actions and plans to the FBI--64 files filled with all the data. So they're heroes, right? Not to the U.S. government. Instead of arresting the terrorists they arrested Gerardo and his compatriots Ramón Labañino, Rene González, Antonio Guerrero, and Fernando González. And have ever since subjected them to brutal treatment, including long stretches of solitary confinement, all of them held in different states, blocking family visits. To all of which these five brave brothers have reacted with strength and steadfastness. That will no doubt continue.

But it should not have to. They should be free. And so yesterday Danny Glover and his co-chairperson Ed Asner of Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 issued a call to their colleagues inviting them to add their name to a letter to President Obama urging him to issue an order of clemency to free the five. Among those who've already signed on: Jackson Browne, Ry Cooder, Susan Sarandon, Elliot Gould, Chrissie Hynde, Bonnie Raitt, Esai Morales. If you're an artist of any type, please sign on to this urgent call. If you'd rather be invited directly by Danny Glover, check out his video appeal here.