[act-ma] 6/13 - LGBTQ Forum - Rainbow Solidarity for the Cuban Five

IAC Boston iacboston at iacboston.org
Tue Jun 12 04:05:01 PDT 2007


*** Stonewall Warriors and Women's Fightback Network Pride Forum*

<%20http://www.freethefiveny.org/rainboweng.shtml>*Wednesday, June 13 - 
6:30 PM *
*Action Center*
*284 Amory Street (the Brewery), JP   *
(steps from Stonybrook T stop on the Orange Line.

donation  refreshments  childcare



/*SPEAKERS:*/

*LeiLani Dowell* - National Organizer F.I.S.T. (Fight Imperialism Stand 
Together), Rainbow Solidarity with the Cuban Five
*Mia Campbell* - Women's Fight Back Network, Politic'n with the Sisters
*Rev. Franklin Hobbs* - Director Boston HIV State of Emergency Committee
*Gerry Scoppettuolo* - Stonewall Warriors, International Action Center

** Rainbow Solidarity for the Cuban Five*

These U.S.-held political prisoners were jailed merely for having 
infiltrated CIA-backed right-wing terrorist commando organizations to 
monitor and stop attacks on Cuba from U.S. soil.

The struggle to win their freedom has galvanized a broad united front 
among those who battle oppression based on their gender expression 
and/or sex and who they love. Individuals and organizations have signed 
on from 45 countries, from every continent and from virtually every 
state in the continental U.S.

** Advances in LGBT rights and HIV Care in Cuba*

hear about the advances in free gender reassignment surgery, medical 
care and possible government-endorsed civil unions or marriage. We in 
the U.S. and elsewhere need a radical solution to end the HIV epidemic.

Discussion  to follow

for more information on Rainbow Solidarity for the Cuban Five - 
http://www.freethefiveny.org/rainboweng.shtml
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 *LGBT Center hosts meeting for Cuban Five*
By Brenda Sandburg
New York

The lesbian, gay, bi and transgender community is using its power to 
help build the worldwide movement to free the Cuban Five.

Helena Wong, Benjamin Ramos, Leslie Feinberg,<br>LeiLani Dowell, Joan 
Gibs and Teresa Gutierrez<br>applaud Secretary Jorge Luis Dustet 
from<br>the U.N. Cuban Mission as he holds up<br>Rainbow Solidarity with 
the Cuban Five photo.

Helena Wong, Benjamin Ramos, Leslie Feinberg,
LeiLani Dowell, Joan Gibs and Teresa Gutierrez
applaud Secretary Jorge Luis Dustet from
the U.N. Cuban Mission as he holds up
Rainbow Solidarity with the Cuban Five photo.
WW photo: G. Dunkel

As part of its effort to forge new ties, Rainbow Solidarity for the 
Cuban Five held a meeting at the Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender 
Community Center in New York City June 2. Leaders from various 
organizations voiced their commitment to work on behalf of the Cuban 
heroes, noting that the U.S. government's persecution of them is 
connected to its imperialist wars abroad and attacks on immigrants at home.

A representative of the Cuban government welcomed the support of the 
LGBT movement. "The Cuban Five represent the altruism and courage of the 
Cuban people," Jorge Luis Dustet, second secretary to the Cuban Mission 
of the United Nations, told the crowd. "Thank you for the work of the 
Rainbow Solidarity. Our message to you will always be: ¡Hasta la 
victoria siempre!"

The Cuban Five---Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, 
Fernando González and René González---were prosecuted in the U.S. 
because they infiltrated CIA-backed right-wing terrorist organizations 
operating in the U.S. in order to monitor and stop their plans to attack 
Cuba. Imprisoned for nearly nine years, the five were given sentences 
ranging from 15 years to two consecutive life terms.

Dustet said the U.S. government's recent release of terrorist Luis 
Posada Carriles shows the innocence of the Cuban Five and how necessary 
it was for the Cuban government to send them to the U.S. to collect 
information on people like Carriles. Carriles organized the mid-air 
bombing of a civilian passenger plane in 1976, which killed 73 
passengers, and directed the bombing of tourist hotels in 1997. He 
escaped from prison in Venezuela in 1985 and secretly entered the United 
States in 2005. The U.S. government arrested him on an immigration 
violation but freed him in April, ignoring calls by the Venezuelan and 
Cuban governments for his extradition.

Teresa Gutierrez, founder of the New York Committee to Free the Cuban 
Five, said their case is thoroughly political and has everything to do 
with U.S./Cuba relations. The U.S. government imprisoned the five as a 
way of attacking Cuba. She emphasized that the main way to free them is 
to change public opinion and organize pressure on the U.S. government.

"We've almost run out of legal options," Gutierrez said. "That's why 
these meetings are so important. We have to reach new sectors."

Rainbow Solidarity for the Cuban Five was initiated in January 2007 to 
build support among the LGBT communities. The group issued a call that 
demands a new trial and freedom for the Cuban Five, declares the right 
of the Cuban people to sovereignty and self-determination, and demands a 
halt to U.S. acts of war against Cuba, including the economic blockade 
and CIA-trained and -funded attacks by mercenary "contra" armies 
operating on U.S. soil.

In four months the call has received endorsements from more than 1,000 
unions, organizations and individuals in 40 countries, as well as every 
state in the continental U.S.

Leslie Feinberg, one of the initiators of the Rainbow Solidarity call 
and author of the soon to be released book "Rainbow Solidarity: In 
Defense of Cuba," presented a framed copy of the call with the first 
1,000 signatures to Dustet. The crowd responded by cheering Dustet and 
giving him a standing ovation.

Feinberg told the crowd that the call has been translated into Chinese, 
Tagalog, Farsi, Turkish, Greek, Croatian, Portuguese, Italian, Danish, 
Japanese, French and German, and additional translations are planned in 
Swahili, Urdu, Indonesian, Arabic, Korean and Bengali. A streaming video 
in American Sign Language is also in the works.

"On what basis does this initiative call for solidarity from communities 
struggling against oppression based on sexuality, gender expression and 
sex?" Feinberg asked. "In essence, what defined the left wing of the 
early gay liberation movement in the United States, and what fueled its 
vitality, was its solidarity on the basis of a common enemy, not a 
common oppression." The community at that time stood with immigrant 
workers organizing the United Farm Workers and with the Black Panther 
Party and the Young Lords.

"Today, our communities have a particular responsibility in the United 
States to defend the Cuban Five because this country is the aircraft 
carrier from which Wall Street and the Pentagon are launching a covert 
war against Cuba," she said. "And those who are battling oppression 
based on same-sex love are called upon to play a leadership role in this 
struggle because it is our love and our lives that have been used as a 
political cover for this dirty war against a people who have fought 
enslavement for 500 years."

Ben Ramos, a coordinator of the Popular Education Project to Free the 
Cuban Five and co-chair of the meeting, noted that it was natural for 
the LGBT community to take up the case of the Cuban Five. "We have been 
integral in the anti-war movement, we are instrumental in the 
development of unions and workers' rights campaigns" and in fighting to 
free political prisoners, Ramos said. Ramos was also a leading organizer 
of the event.

Other speakers proclaimed their support for the five as well.

"We have a responsibility to the Cuban Five because their story is our 
story," said Helena Wong, director of the Committee Against Anti-Asian 
Violence. She said immigrants come to this country because of what the 
U.S. government is doing to their homelands and then are locked up in 
detention centers for trying to start a new life here. Likewise, she 
said, "The government puts resources into Israel and Iraq and to 
militarizing the borders," while refusing to meet the needs of the Black 
and Brown communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Yancy Mark Gandionco, on the LGBT Desk of the U.S. Chapter of BAYAN 
Philippines, compared the U.S. government's imprisonment of the five to 
the Philippine government's attempt to quash resistance by arresting 
progressive leaders. Charged with sedition and rebellion, they were held 
in prison for two years and freed because the Filipino people stood up. 
"The most powerful weapon is the weapon of resistance," Gandionco said.

Joan Gibbs, an attorney and activist who is focused on freeing political 
prisoners, pointed to the success of the Puerto Rican movement in 
freeing five Nationalists who were imprisoned for more than 25 years. 
She said the victories of the civil rights movement were also won in the 
streets. Gibbs also paid tribute to Cuba for fighting apartheid in 
Africa and giving asylum to great fighters like Assata Shakur. "When the 
African people called, only one country went without imperialist designs 
and that was Cuba," she said.

LeiLani Dowell, a leader of Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) and 
co-chair of the meeting, spoke about the International Youth Conference 
on the Cuban Five that was held in Cuba in April. She said the 
participants stressed over and over that it is primarily the 
responsibility of the people of the U.S. to build awareness of the Cuban 
Five to win their freedom. She repeated the words of Cuban National 
Assembly President Ricardo Alarcón: "The U.S. people will find the keys 
to unlock the gate for the Cuban Five."

-- 
*******************************************
International Action Center

Boston:
617-522-6626
iacboston at iacboston.org
http://www.iacboston.org

National Office:
212-633-6646
http://www.iacenter.org 

Troops Out Now Coalition
http://troopsoutnow.org 

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