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Vol. 79/No. 5      February 16, 2015

Seattle program: ‘Paintings
show spirit of Cuban Five’

SEATTLE — Some 70 people attended a program on the case of the Cuban Five at the Columbia City Gallery here Jan. 28. The program was held in conjunction with an exhibit of “I Will Die the Way I’ve Lived,” 15 watercolors by Cuban Five member Antonio Guerrero. The Cuban Five are Cuban revolutionaries who were framed up and imprisoned in U.S. jails for working to expose plans by Cuban-American paramilitary groups based in southern Florida to attack Cuba and supporters of the revolution in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The last three were released Dec. 17 and returned to Cuba in an agreement between Washington and Havana to reopen diplomatic relations.

Jane Cutter spoke for the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, explaining the most important factor in winning their freedom was the integrity with which the Five conducted themselves. She urged people to pick up copies of the Pathfinder Press book I Will Die the Way I Lived , which was used as the catalog for the exhibit.

“These paintings were created by Guerrero in prison and show the unbroken character of the Five, and their sense of humor,” said John Martinez, co-chair of the Human and Civil Rights Committee of American Federation of Teachers Local 1789 at Seattle Community College. “Exhibits like this have been part of the defense effort worldwide.”

A print of the painting “The Jury’s Verdict” also was on display, taken from Guerrero’s second set of watercolors, “Absolved by Solidarity,” which was completed to mark the 16th year of their incarceration.

“In fact, this is how the imprisonment of the Cuban Five ended. They were absolved by solidarity — by the international jury of millions,” Mary Martin of the Socialist Workers Party said to applause. “Now our task is to demand the end of the U.S. embargo against Cuba.”

“I didn’t know much about the Five until recently when I began reading the Militant. I was touched profoundly by the depth of the Cuban Five’s struggle. I was especially touched by ‘The Welcome.’ Antonio Guerrero enters his new ‘home’ and all of his possessions in the world are a bed covering and a roll of toilet paper,” Johnnie Dwire, a grocery store worker and a student at Seattle Central, told the Militant.

“It was sobering to think of how this American ‘democracy’ handles any sort of political opposition to the policies of imperialism, and how anybody’s life can suddenly be upended on no legal ground whatsoever,” Dwire said. “I’ve already recommended the exhibit to several friends.”

The exhibit runs through Feb. 22 at the Columbia City Gallery. In March it will be shown at the offices of the Musicians’ Association of Seattle, Local 76-493 of the American Federation of Musicians.
Related articles:
Castro: End US embargo, normalize Cuba relations
‘Our fight for justice was a fight to defend Cuba’
Excerpt from new book ‘Absolved by Solidarity’
Video ‘Cuba and Chernobyl’ is now available
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