STATEMENT BY THE JULY 26 COALITION OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY
NOW IS THE MOMENT TO CELEBRATE AND RENEW OUR COMMITMENT TO END THE US EMBARGO!
On December 17, 2014 Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernandez, and Ramon Labanino — unbowed and unbroken Cuban revolutionaries – returned to their homeland where they joined the previously released Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez.
THE CUBAN FIVE ARE NOW, FINALLY, FREE!
The July 26 Coalition of New York and New Jersey is proud to have been part of this international struggle for many years and to have worked hard to organize public events and protests to get out the truth and build support for the Cuban Five. We raise our fists in salute to Antonio, Fernando, Gerardo, Ramon, and Rene!
We welcome the prospect of a full normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. But, as Cuban President Raul Castro stated in his announcement coinciding with that of President Barack Obama, “This in no way means that the heart of the matter has been solved. The economic, commercial, and financial blockade, which causes enormous human and economic damages to our country, must cease.”
This great victory now creates more favorable-than-ever conditions to fully and completely end all US economic and travel sanctions against Cuba. For over 50 years these sanctions have been the permanent face of Washington’s unremitting — until now — economic and political war against the Cuban Revolution and it’s fighting people. This bipartisan campaign to defeat revolutionary Cuba has included permanent military threats alongside actual violent and terrorist acts planned and carried out by forces inside and outside the US government. Since the 1959 triumph of the Cuban Revolution some 3500 Cuban citizens have been killed from such US-based counter-revolutionary violence. It was precisely to thwart, prevent, and disable such anti-Cuban murderous terrorism that the Cuban Five were dispatched to work undercover in South Florida.
For a genuine normalization of relations — as now agreed to by the Obama Administration — to have any real content, such US-government funded and organized programs and projects of subversion and worse must cease. All supporters of Cuba’s right to self-determination must unite and step up our activity to drive the final nails into the coffin of the shameful US blockade until it is legally and practically dismantled in full.
The cause of the Cuban Five, and the international struggle to free them, inspired the world. Their heroic actions on dangerous missions to protect their nation and their Revolution, as well as their conduct as prisoners, under harsh and brutal conditions, are examples that will live forever in the record of history. Their return to Cuba ends a grotesque travesty of justice that galvanized massive protest all over the globe. While the United States government and big-business media tried to ignore it, the struggle to “Free the Cuban Five” continued to resonate and grow everywhere people heard the truth and the facts, including inside the United States.
Fighters in the United States against the evils of mass incarceration and the class-biased, racist, and murderous criminal justice system here, with its frame-ups and rigged processes that almost always exonerates brutal and killer cops, can point to the fight to free the Cuban Five as an example of how great victories can be won.
Ever-growing majorities of US citizens as a whole — including among Cuban-Americans — have long favored the normalization of US-Cuban relations and the lifting of economic and travel sanctions. The dramatic December 17 announcement by President Obama codifies a shift within the US ruling elites towards conceding diplomatic normalization and ending the economic and travel embargo as long demanded by US and world public opinion. This political retreat being implemented by the White House and State Department represents a recognition that Washington’s over-five-decades-long anti-Cuba economic and political war has reached a dead end. It was accomplishing nothing but humiliating isolation in world politics (as registered year after year at the United Nations General Assembly) and an accumulating political price that was becoming unsustainable.
This was particularly evident in Latin America and the Caribbean where US anti-Cuba policy has been under harsh attack for years and has contributed significantly to the deepening erosion of US political influence. These historic developments bring great joy and satisfaction to defenders of Cuba and solidarity activists in the United States and around the world. We will work to bring down the remaining barriers to fraternal interaction between the people of Cuba and the United States, starting with fully winning the right of US citizens to freely visit Cuba and see its reality for themselves. We look forward to welcoming Cuban citizens — representative of the large majority that support their Revolution — to our hospitality in the United States.
Revolutionary Cuba sent hundreds of thousands of volunteer troops and military advisors on critical combat missions to southern Africa to support independence struggles threatened by the racist South African regime covertly backed by the United States government. As Nelson Mandela always and often said, this selfless Cuban internationalism and solidarity was decisive in the historic defeat of South African apartheid. Cuba continues to lead in its contributions to bringing health care to many countries on the Continent of Africa, including the most recent humanitarian effort to combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa with its medical personnel. The Cuban Revolution will continue to inspire by its example.
LET THE BATTLE OF IDEAS AND VALUES GO FORWARD!
iLA LUCHA CONTINUA!