Monday, January 12, 2009

'Cuba 5' Prisoner in Kentucky

LaRiva to Address Case of Imprisoned Human Rights Activist Ramon Labanino

Nashville, TN: Gloria La Riva, former 2008 Presidential Candidate, will speak in Nashville on Sunday, January 18th at 6pm at the Nashville Peace and Justice Center concerning the case of Ramon Labanino, a Cuban human rights activist currently incarcerated in Pine Knot, Kentucky about one hour north of Knoxville. Labanino is one of the Cuban 5 human rights activists who were sentenced to a total of 75 years in prison for attemtping to stop terrorist acts against Cuba sponsored by the CIA in 2001. La Riva, who came in 9th in the Presidential election of 2008 as a candidate for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, is a founding member of the National Committee to Free the Cuban 5.

The event, which is being sponsored by the Emma Center will be held at 4732 Longdale Drive in South Nashville on the grounds of the Nashville Peace and Justice Center, coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, which took place in January of 1959. Rosa Penate will also be in attendance at this educational forum to answer questions concerning the Cuban 5 and give an update on the condition of Ramon Labanino, who has been in jail since 2003.

Chris Lugo, an organizer for the Emma Center which is sponsoring the event, said he hopes that President Elect Obama will consider freeing the Cuban 5 and reversing US Policy towards Cuba, "I believe that it is time for a change in US foreign relations with Cuba and I sincerely hope that President Elect Obama will show a gesture of good will towards Cuba by lifting US sanctions and free the Cuban 5."

The United States has maintained a crippling military and economic embargo on Cuba since the administration of John F Kennedy. Cuba, which is less than 90 miles from tip of Florida, became the subject of a US economic embargo and military blockade in 1961, which has resulted in separated families and tremendous hardship on the people of Cuba, who continue to show good will toward the people of the United States although not to its government.

The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001. They are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González. At great personal risk to their own safety and that of their families these men sought to expose the criminal actions of terrorist groups operating in the United States with the full knowledge and support of the FBI and CIA. The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related charges.


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