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Vol. 77/No. 43      December 2, 2013

Cartoon exhibit in Albany, NY
gains support for Cuban Five
ALBANY, N.Y. — “Humor From My Pen,” an exhibit of cartoons by Gerardo Hernández, one of the Cuban Five, was shown here Oct. 10-24 at the First Unitarian Universalist Society.

It was viewed by more than 100 members of the congregation, as well as members of other churches, community organizations and others who use the building’s facilities.

Among those who came to see the exhibit were a dozen students from the State University of New York at Albany, who attend a public speaking class held at the Universalist Society facilities, where they heard a five-minute presentation about the exhibit and the international campaign to free the Five.

Shown along with the cartoons during the two-week exhibit were videos by actor Danny Glover and Dolores Huerta, a founder of the United Farm Workers union, that presented facts about the frame-up of the five Cuban revolutionaries by the U.S. government.

Glover described the bombings and other attacks carried out by the Cuban-American rightist forces the Five were monitoring in the U.S.

A Jan. 20 statement by Hernández that was enlarged by local Democratic Party political activist Fredda Peritz was prominently featured on the wall. “Someone once said that ‘humor liberates’ (and if nobody did say that, I will say it now),” Hernández wrote. “For me it is something that ‘gets us out’ for at least a few moments from behind the walls where we have been unjustly imprisoned for almost 15 years.”

“This exhibit shows that the prison system has not been able to strip Gerardo of his sense of humor or his humanity,” said Mabel Leon of Pastors for Peace at an Oct. 24 program attended by 35 people.

This was the first event ever held in the Albany area for the Cuban Five. In the course of publicizing it, many organizations heard a summary of the facts in the case by local activists, and hundreds of flyers with information about the Five and the exhibit were distributed. The Oct. 24 program was co-sponsored by the Social Responsibilities Council of the Unitarian Universalist Society, Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, the Solidarity Committee of the Capital Region and Pastors for Peace. The groups publicized the exhibit through their newsletters, email lists and websites.

SALAM Project (Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims) brought a large display to the meeting highlighting Muslims who have been framed up by the police in recent years.

The group’s organizer, Lynne Jackson, had been unfamiliar with the case of the Cuban Five until she received a leaflet about the meeting at a picket line demanding release of political prisoner Lynne Stewart, 74, a lawyer who was framed up and given a 10-year prison term for “conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist activity.” The frame-up stemmed from her legal defense of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, a Muslim cleric convicted in 1995 of “seditious conspiracy” for alleged links to a plot to bomb targets in New York.

The main speaker at the event was Pepe Rossy, who described how Carlos Muñiz Varela — a friend and fellow fighter for Puerto Rican independence and supporter of the Cuban Revolution — was gunned down by Cuban rightists in Puerto Rico in 1979.

Earlier in the day, Rossy and other supporters of the Five brought some of Hernández’s cartoons and spoke at a meeting of a half-dozen students and some faculty members on the University of Albany main campus about the fight to free the Five. The meeting was sponsored by the Department of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies.
Related articles:
Cuba hosts intíl conference to free Cuban Five
Who are the Cuban Five?
Expansion of culture, learninging at center of Cuban Revolution
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