WASHINGTON.—Under a burning sun, right at midday on September 12, a group of activists gathered outside the White House to demand that U.S. President Barack Obama immediately release the Five.
The vigil was organized by the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, to mark the 15th anniversary of the unjust imprisonment of the Cuban anti-terrorists.
Placards in English and Spanish read "15 años es una vergüenza" (15 Years is Shameful); "Basta ya, libertad para los Cinco" (Enough, Freedom for the Five); "A los 5 libertad, a Posada cárcel ya". (Freedom for the 5, Jail for Posada Now).
Participants toured the White House sidewalk exclaiming "Obama, Give Me Five" and "15 años es demasiado, Libertad a los Cinco Ya". (15 years is Too Long, Free the Five Now).
At the end of the vigil, a group approached the entrance to the White House with a letter to be handed to Obama, but despite their insistence, the guard on duty did not allow them to present the letter.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro also advocated the liberation of the Cuban anti-terrorists. "Dear heroes of Cuba and all of America, from the Venezuela of Bolívar and Chávez, we admire and love you. Freedom now!" he wrote on the Twitter social network.
The Nicaraguan government reiterated its commitment to fight for the liberation of the Five. "The Five never committed any crime; they are revolutionary people, devoted to the cause of their people, and have worked to fight against terrorism, this plague which has brought so much misfortune to our planet," affirmed Rosario Murillo, head of the Communication and Citizens Council.
In Moscow, Lena Lozhkina, president of the All Russia Committee for the Five, affirmed that the campaign in favor of their immediate release has grown on a par with the steadfastness of these men, imprisoned since September 12, 1998.
Lozhkina stated that the cause of the Five is known from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Magnitogorsk (Urals) to Vladivostok in the far east of the country, where Russian solidarity groups demanded freedom for the Cuban anti-terrorists outside the U.S. consulate on this 15th anniversary.
Representatives of the Spanish solidarity with Cuba movement confirmed in Madrid their commitment to the case of the Five, four of whom have been incarcerated in U.S. prisons for 15 years.
Also in Spain, activists convened by the Madrid Committee for the Freedom of the Five gathered outside the U.S. embassy in the capital to demand that President Obama release these fighters.
In Haiti, as on every September 12 since 2006, the Friends of Cuba Club in Léogâne – in the east of the capital Port-au-Prince – led a new event calling for the liberation of the Five.
The group, founded seven years ago, includes approximately 100 Haitians, most of them youth, demanded that the Five be released.
The appeal was echoed by the Paraguayan Communist Party, the Chilean solidarity with Cuba movement, representatives of Brazilian social movements in the state of Bahía, and Salvadoran solidarity organizations. (With information from Cubadebate, PL and the Granma correspondent in Haiti).