Cuba Round-up: Free the Cuban 5

The Cuban Five have been unjustly locked up in the US for more than six years, political prisoners in US imperialism’s war against Cuban socialism. This year Cuba called an international month of action from 12 September to 6 October, with protests organised globally to demand their release. In Britain the Revolutionary Communist Group’s Rock around the Blockade campaign answered the call for action.

Action in support of the Five kicked off in London on 15 September. Members of Rock around the Blockade held a lively rally in Trafalgar Square in the centre of London to call for the immediate release of these prisoners of US imperialism, culminating in a march through the square, holding placards that spelt out the words ‘Free the Five’. On 22 September in Manchester activists held a highly visible protest for the release of the Five, with stalls, flags, banners and placards in solidarity with Cuban socialism. More events are planned, including a protest in Scotland outside the US consulate in Edinburgh. As Cuba regularly points out, the international campaign to free the Five must gather strength if these revolutionary fighters are to be freed.

On 28 July RATB supporters in Newcastle organised a ‘Celebration of Resistance’ in the city centre to mark the 54th anniversary of the attack on Moncada Barracks, which sparked the revolutionary struggle in Cuba. The celebration was supported by rock band OPEN, local DJ Stres, and comrades’ own musical talents. The event was harassed by the police, who wrongly claimed that it was illegal to collect donations. One comrade was arrested. However, the event continued, and a picket of the police station was quickly organised until the comrade was released.

In Glasgow in August comrades held a successful showing of the film The Revolution will not be televised, in the working-class district of Govanhill. Local people who turned up to the meeting were inspired to see the power of the masses when they actively step in to politics and history, and a good discussion followed on the nature of the Venezuelan revolution. Activists in London screened The Cuban excludables, about the treatment in the US of Cubans who emigrated to the US during the Mariel boatlift. Film showings are an increasingly valuable way of drawing people into discussion of the anti-imperialist movement in Latin America. Check the events listings for details of other film showings.

At a time when most British people are sickened by the imperialist occupation of Iraq and by British complicity in the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, while in Britain we are witnessing the creeping privatisation of our health and education systems, the example of the Cuban Revolution shows that a more just type of society is possible when working class people take charge.

This October marks the 40th anniversary of the murder of Che Guevara by CIA-backed terrorists. Rock around the Blockade will be holding meetings and events to demonstrate that Che’s revolutionary and internationalist message is as important today as it ever was. We are also building for the Cuban speaking tour next spring (see page 9), with protests, discussion meetings, film showings and fund-raising gigs, to help raise people’s knowledge about Cuba in preparation for the tour. Get in touch and be a part of it! See page 9 for details of how to join Rock around the Blockade.

FRFI 199 October / November 2007