The most important feature of the monthlong exhibit, sponsored by the Minnesota Cuba Committee, was the number of new people learning about the political frame-up of the Cuban Five for the first time.
Many also learned about Washingtons decades-long effort to punish the Cuban people for making and successfully defending their socialist revolution, of which the Cuban Five are examples.
Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González were arrested Sept. 12, 1998, in Miami. They were framed up by the U.S. government on a series of conspiracy charges, including conspiracy to commit espionage.
Their crime? The five had accepted assignments to keep the government of Cuba informed about the activities of U.S.-backed counterrevolutionary groups based in southern Florida, groups that have a long record of carrying out violent attacks against Cuba and against supporters of the Cuban Revolution from U.S. soil.
Hernández was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years. The U.S. government held him responsible for the Feb. 24, 1996, shooting down by the Cuban Air Force of two hostile aircraft that had entered Cuban airspace in disregard of repeated warnings. The flights were staged from Florida by Brothers to the Rescue, a Miami-based counterrevolutionary organization that had repeatedly violated Cubas air space despite Havanas formal protest to Washington and advance notification of the consequences.
Hernández is an accomplished cartoonist. His humorous drawings have been published since 1982 in Cuba.
The Minneapolis exhibit was shown at two venues: Regla de Oro gallery from Nov. 1-13; and at a large studio in the Casket Arts Building from Nov. 19 to Dec. 1.
A group of 50 high school students from the Perpich Center for Arts Education visited the exhibit at Regla de Oro on Nov. 1. And more than 65 people came to a well-attended opening of the exhibit on Nov. 6.
We stand in solidarity with these workers, said Bernie Hesse, political director of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189 at the opening. Ricardo Levins Morales, a well-known artist in Minneapolis, also spoke. I just learned about the Cuban Five case, said Robert Dickson, after attending the exhibit opening and an informative talk and discussion on the case a few days later at the art gallery.
The show and the accompanying talk really helped me to learn about the Cuban Revolution and the injustice of the U.S. legal system. What struck me the most is how these five men, despite everything, have persevered in mind and spirit, and the support that they have gotten on an international scale, Dickson said.
More than a dozen copies of The Cuban Five, Who They Are, Why They Were Framed, Why They Should Be Free were picked up at the gallery. The attractive booklet, recently published by Pathfinder, carries articles reprinted from the Militant. (See ad on this page.)
On Nov. 19, the show opened at the Casket Arts Building in the spacious art studio of David Schnack and Mark Wojahn, along with photographs taken by Schnack during a recent trip to Cuba. Around 75 attended the event, most with little or no previous knowledge of the case. As a result of that success, the artists agreed to open the studio to the public Nov. 26-27. About 75 people came.
The final public event was a Dec. 1 showing of the film, Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up? by Saul Landau as part of a monthly film series put on by Wojahn in the Casket Arts Building. It was attended by 25 people. Members of the Minnesota Cuba Committee led a discussion on the Cuban Five case following the film presentation.
This was the second exhibit in Minneapolis of artwork by one of the Cuban Five. In November 2010 the Minnesota Cuba Committee sponsored a monthlong showing of works by Guerrero titled From my Altitude, held at Homewood Studios in the heart of the Black community here.
The next stop for Humor from my Pen is the Calles y Sueños gallery in the Pilsen section of Chicago, Ill. The exhibit is set to open in early March.
U.S. Embassy protest in London: Free Cuban 5!
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