Elizabeth Palmeiro addresses Montreal conference on the Cuban Five, September 30, 2010.
On September 30 the conference "Human Rights -- Cuba and the Five, as well as a concert and recital on October 1 were held in Montreal in support of campaign to win freedom for the five Cuban anti-terrorists unjustly imprisoned in the U.S. since September 12, 1998. Elizabeth Palmeiro, the wife of one of the five, Ramón Labañino, came to Montreal and spoke at the two events organized by Base de Paix, in collaboration with the Table de concertation de solidarité Québec Cuba, the Bolivarian Society and A la défense de l'humanité. These two events served as a valuable opportunity to provide an update on the situation of the Cuban Five and the present campaign to win their freedom.
At the conference, held at the Université de Québec a Montréal, Her Excellency Teresita Vicente, Cuban Ambassador to Canada, set the tone explaining that the main obstacle to human rights in Cuba is the economic blockade imposed by the U.S. for over 50 years. She pointed out that this October, for the 19th consecutive year, the UN General Assembly is once again expected to adopt by overwhelming majority a resolution demanding an end to the blockade. She pointed out how contrary to U.S. disinformation, it is the U.S. blockade which violates the people's human rights. She added that despite this situation the Cuban people's full participation in all decisions which affect their economic, political and social conditions is the guarantee that they enjoy their rights.
Elizabeth Palmeiro hailed the organizations in Quebec who organize picket lines, petitions, meetings and events to smash the silence on the Cuban Five. She emphasized the significance of each action held to demand the release of the Five. She gave the recent example of one of the five, Gerardo Hernandez, who was arbitrarily put in solitary confinement on July 21 but was released on August 3 after a concerted international campaign. These actions are very important and they must increase she stressed. She denounced the U.S. policy of double standards, on the one hand permitting known terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles to roam free in Miami while the Five remain in prison. Elizabeth noted that during this visit she had met with parliamentarians, a senator and had plans to meet with other political figures to take a stand in favour of the Five.
Singer and poet Orlando Silverio performed two songs written by the Five, giving a preview of the next day's concert and recital.
Singer and poet Orlando Silverio performs at the October 1 concert in Montreal.
On October 1, the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre was packed for the concert. Several foreign dignitaries were present: Lesbia Margarita Morales Castillo, Consul General of Venezuela, Walter Estenssoro Borda, Consul General of Bolivia, Galo Oliva, Consul of Ecuador, Laureano Cardoso, Consul General of Cuba, as well as Sylvia Garcia, an official of the Cuban National Assembly. It was a magnificent evening with singer Orlando Silverio and others performing songs and poems written by the Five which reflected their courage and determination and their great pride and love for their families, people and country. In the background paintings inspired by these writings were unveiled throughout the performances.
It was a beautiful evening which affirmed the struggle of the Five, the Cuban people and all the peoples of the Americas to determine their own way of life, free from outside interference, especially terrorist activity from the U.S. Empire.