ACFS end of year BBQ 6 Dec 09  

Shake your Maraca for Cuba

After a busy year it's time to get together, relax and farewell the brigadistas!

Sun 6 Dec
12noon, Synergy Park (next to Zamia Cafe), Kings Park

BYO plate or drink to share

More info:
Ph 0421 113 343

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Ibero-America asks Obama to end the blockade of Cuba  

ESTORIL, Portugal, December 1.—The 19th Ibero-American Summit, which ended today in this city, approved a joint declaration demanding the end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, mounted by the United States for 50 years, which was signed by the 22 member countries of the bloc.
The special communiqué asked Washington to immediately halt the implementation of measures adopted against the island in the last five years to intensify the blockade’s impact, and reaffirms "that in the defense of free exchange, transparent practices and international trade, the implementation of unilateral coercive measures is unacceptable."
"We reiterate our most energetic rejection of the implementation of laws and measures contrary to international law" that have tightened the blockade and "exhort the U.S. government to put an end to their application," reads the text, which also condemned the imposition of the arbitrary Helms-Burton Act.
The Summit asked Washington to comply with the 18 resolutions condemning the U.S. coercive unilateral policy passed by the UN General Assembly.
The Estoril Summit likewise demanded an end to the impunity enjoyed by the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, the mastermind of many attacks and violent acts against Cuba.
In a communiqué the dignitaries from 22 countries rejected condemned the fact that the criminal, responsible for a bomb explosion aboard a Cuban passenger plane in 1976, has still not been put on trial for acts of terrorism.
The forum reaffirmed the value of extradition legislation as an essential tool in combating terrorism and called on states that receive such applications from Ibero-American nations to duly consider them, in full adherence to the applicable legal framework.
At the same time, delegates to the meeting established a common position for confronting climate change with a global, effective and immediate response, guided by justice and equity.
The position of the Ibero-American community was reflected in a special communiqué adopted by the Summit in the Cascais Miragem Hotel in this Portuguese resort 25 kilometers from Lisbon.

Consulate General of Cuba
Tel: (02) 9698 9797
Fax: (02) 8399 1106

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Action Plan for release of the Cuban Five  

Action Plan adopted by participants at the 5th International Colloquium
 "For the Release of the Cuban Five and Against Terrorism"
Nov. 21, 2009

The 5th Colloquium held in Holguin is especially relevant after the rejection by the Supreme Court to review the case in June, 2009; the resentencing process of Antonio on October 13th with the unjust sentence of 21 years and 10 months, the next resentencing of Fernando and Ramon dated for December 8th; and the unchanged sentences of Rene and Gerardo, the latter being the most difficult, and the current rejection to grant visas to Adriana and Olga.

This has been a political case, but it was never before required to exert the power of international condemnation and solidarity before Obama´s Administration that has the legal and constitutional power to put an end to this injustice.

All our efforts in the struggle for the release of the Five are intended to influence United States, where the big media continues to ignore the case. The work of more than 300 committees in over 100 countries has begun to bear some fruit. This a fact acknowledged by the prosecution in Miami itself in the view for the resentencing of Tony: "There is much international noise around the case, it is necessary to improve the image of U.S. justice."

Regarding this, we need to set our goals towards strengthening those aspects that we will work harder on.

Main proposals made by participants to attain the release of the Five
1 - Widen working spaces
      • Continue spreading the case and demand solidarity among all social    movements and broaden the political spectrum of sectors to which we bring our message, mainly governments, parliaments, religious organizations, celebrities, legal organizations, human rights organizations, trade unions.

      •  Promoting the participation of activists for the freedom of the Cuban Five in the U.S. Social Forum 2010.

      •  Continue to strongly denounce the double standards of the U.S. government that keeps five innocent people in jail and shelters, self-confessed terrorist like Luis Posada Carriles  and Orlando Bosch.
2 - Working with Parliamentarians

      • Bond the request of parliamentarians from every country to U.S. Congressmen.

      • Favor the visit of activists for the freedom of the Five to U.S. Congressmen and to the  Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi herself.

      • Bring about the visit of parliamentarians from other countries to the five in their prisons.
3 - Working with Trade Unions

      • to have activities organized by or related with trade unions impacting on U.S. counterpart  trade union.

      • To carry posters of the Cuban Five in the demonstrations to take place coming May 1st in  each country.
4 - Expand the use of new ICT (Information and Communications Technology)
      • Use youtube to upload videos on personalities that could have an impact in the U.S.                  audience.

       • Improve our websites, bulletins and messages, use the social networks that provide the  opportunity to create Blogs, and use Facebook and Twitter.

       • Achieve a larger presence in big media, even publishing a page on a national newspaper in the U.S.
        • Disseminate and sites as language reference  centers on the case of the Cuban Five.
5 - Cultural Resources

       • Spread knowledge about the intellectual work and artistic sensibility of the Cuban Five.

       • Make use of all cultural events, ranging from concerts to exhibitions, including world known personalities and to strengthen our efforts to bring the case to the media.
6 - Solidarity

        • Thousands of people work in the world to lift the genocidal blockade against Cuba, for several reasons not all of them work for the release of the Cuban Five. We must gather the work of all those who are in solidarity with Cuba because demanding the release of the Five is to demand the right of Cuba to live in peace.
7. Nobel Peace Prize for the Five
8. Demand that the U.S. government must grant humanitarian visas to Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez.

       * Take advantage of the existence of the International Commission for the Right to Family Visits, whose members are recognized international figures from 27 countries.

        * Carry out actions in every country where there are members of the Commission in order to petition for visas and join with other important personalities who are not involved.
           The petitions should be directed to Barack Obama, and other officials of the United States government.

        * Take advantage of important dates for families and women: Christmas and New Year’s, Valentine’s Day and International Women’s Day.
9. Continue the support for the legal battle of the case

         * Regularly report on developments in the case.
         * Publicize the contents of the amicus briefs delivered to the Supreme Court, as well as other published legal documents.

         *Continue identifying important figures in the judicial sector in order to involve them in the struggle to free the Cuban 5.
10. Work with Governments

         * Obtain statements on the case by  heads of state and other high officials of governments

         *Ask heads of state to request that Obama commute the sentences of the Five
11. Work with the younger generations

         * Prioritize teachers as sources to get out information about the Five

         * Use literary work by and about the five to teach young people and reinforce in them ethical and human values

          * Produce literature and other educational tools for people of very young age

          * incorporate the subject of the Five as a component of community projects
Important dates to Remember:
December 8:   Resentencing of Fernando and Ramón
December 10; International Human Rights Day
December 24, 25: Christmas Eve and Christmas
December 31, January : New Years Eve and 51st Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution
February 14;   St. Valentine's Day
March 8: International Women's Day
May 1: International Workers Day
2nd Sunday of May: Mother's Day
June 17: Anniversary of the Open Letter to the People of the United States

Participants of the Colloquium for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, Holguin, Cuba

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The San Francisco Labor Council Passes a Resolution in Support of the Cuba Five.  

The San Francisco Labor Council Passes a Resolution in Support of the Cuba Five. Comité Internacional por la Libertad de los Cinco 2009-10-28

On Monday October 26th, 2009, the San Francisco Labor Council (SFLC) passed a resolution in support of the Cuban Five and their rights for family visitation.

The Cuban Five are five men who came to the United States to monitor anti Cuban terrorist groups in Miami to protect the lives of not just Cubans but U.S. citizens as well. They are facing lengthy sentences and have been incarcerated for over 11 years. As this case gains international support there has been a significant increase in the number of resolutions by unions and city councils and the support of personalities in the U.S.

This particular resolution was brought up to the Executive Board of the SFLC by the American Federation of Teachers local 2121, that passed a similar resolution on August 25th and amongst other things stated that they will ask the SFLC for endorsement.

The San Francisco Labor Council is the local body of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and serves as headquarters to the Labor Community in San Francisco. The SFLC represents more than 100,000 union members and their families who belong to over 150 affiliate unions. The AFL-CIO is the largest federation of unions in the United States and Canada.

The SFLC Resolution, calls for President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to consider the violation of International Covenant and due process for a fair trial associated with the conviction and imprisonment of the Cuban Five. The resolution also calls for diplomatic improvement in the relationship between the United States and Cuba.

Additionally it calls for the pardon and release of the Cuban Five to their homeland. It also demands that the US government to immediately grants visas to Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez to visit their husbands in prison. And finally the SFLC calls on President Richard Trumpka of the AFL-CIO to send a letter to President Obama expressing support for content of the resolution.

Copies of this important resolution will be sent to President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Bay Area Congressional members, including State Senate members Mark Leno and Leland Yee, California State Assembly members Tom Ammiano and Fiona Ma, and all the members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

For more information please visit:

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UN General Assembly says enough is enough  

ACFS Perth Statement

United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba, October 2009

The Australia Cuba Friendship Society Perth Branch applaud the 187 principled countries for the stand they have taken to condemn the United States blockade of Cuba in the United Nations General Assembly for the 18th consecutive year.

The vote in favor of the resolution to condemn the blockade was higher than ever, with 187 votes in favor of the condemnation, 3 votes against (the United States, Israel and the tiny Pacific island of Palau), and two abstentions (The Marshall Islands and Micronesia, also tiny Pacific states which, like Palau, are highly dependent on U.S. aid).

Every year of voting sees increasing condemnation of this inhumane blockade. The brutality of the blockade is so blatant that every single one of the United States NATO allies voted to condemn the U.S. policy.

We applaud also the spirit of the Cuban people who continue to move forward with great humility and dignity sharing freely with others in need what they have been able to achieve despite the blockade.

This US blockade, classified, as genocide by Section C of Article II of the Geneva Convention of 1948 must end. President Obama must exercise his presidential prerogative to cease this murderous policy.

We demand

That the new Obama administration accepts the UN Resolution 63/7 and end the US blockade against Cuba immediately as this is political barbarism. The recent measures taken by the Obama administration don’t go far enough and do not represent a serious attempt to remedy the policies regarding Cuba of the last 10 US administrations.

That the Obama administration immediately closes the Guantanamo Naval base and returns full sovereignty over the land to the Cuban people.

That the US administration grants visas to the wives of Gerardo and Rene, Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez.

That the Obama administration releases the Cuban Five heroes because the charges brought against them and their imprisonment is politically motivated.

Perth, Western Australia, 31st October 2009.

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Latin Night 7 Nov 2009  

Dear ACFS contact list:

Please find attached information on a Latin Night celebration to raise awareness and funds for a youth project in El Salvador.

Please if you can attend support this cause.

Yours in friendship,

Vinnie Molina

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2009 Cuba brigade information session  

Cuba Today
"A better world is possible"

We encourage all interested people to come along to this information session about the Southern Cross work/study brigade to Cuba. Hear from past brigadistas about their first hand experiences of the cultural, political and social conditions in revolutionary Cuba.

Learn about this year's program that explores Cuba's innovative approaches to the environment and climate change. Cuban brigades are suitable for all ages and Cuban hosts always take great care of visitors.

Sat 24 Oct
3pm at the Activist Centre (15 / 5 Aberdeen St, East Perth - next to McIver station)

Presented by the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society

For more info: Elizabeth 0421 113 343 or email

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Calls at UN for anti-Cuba blockade to be lifted  

• Leaders speak in favor of reforming the organization

NEW YORK, September 23.— Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva stated that without a political will, obsolete measures such as the U.S. blockade of Cuba will continue to exist. The dignitary was the first speaker at the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly, which took place today.

For his part, Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez, stated that as Americans, "we feel the ethical duty and political responsibility of likewise reiterating in this international forum that we will persevere in our efforts toward American integration without exclusions, exceptions, or blockades like the one affecting Cuba."

Likewise, Bolivian leader Evo Morales stated that in order to change the world, "we will first have to change the UN and end the blockade of Cuba."

Meanwhile, during yesterday’s session, U.S. President Barack Obama called for a "new era of commitment" to the world and promised to work alongside other nations while defending his own country’s interests.

"The time has come for the world to move in a new direction. We must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect," said Obama during his speech before the Assembly.

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed reaching an agreement on a provisional reform of the Security Council before the end of the year. "The crisis is forcing us to demonstrate imagination and boldness," he said, stating that, "in politics, the economy and environmental policy, the need for global government is imperative," EFE reports.

Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi also called for a reform of the UN, by transforming the General Assembly into its central apparatus and transferring the prerogatives of the Security Council to that authority.

He also commented that, according to the UN Charter, all countries are equal, irrespective of their size, but the vast majority of them are not represented on the Council.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Libyan diplomat Ali Treki, General Assembly president for the next period, both called for a reinforcement of multilateralism.

For the former, this is the time to act with a spirit of renewed multilateralism, to create "a United Nations of genuine collective action".

Among the most important issues facing the international organization, Ban mentioned nuclear disarmament and the battle against poverty and climate change.

Meanwhile, Treki alerted delegates to current challenges related to peace and international security. He identified the challenges of conflicts among states, civil wars, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, organized crime, the deterioration of the environment, extreme poverty and the spread of infectious diseases.

The Libyan diplomat called on members to work for the revitalization of the General Assembly and "a more representative and reformed Security Council." He also reaffirmed a commitment to the environment and a non-selective approach to the issue of human rights.

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Juanes: this Concert is the Greatest Deam of Love and Peace( Videos)- (Eng.& Span.)  

Van Van Closes Peace without Borders Concert

HAVANA, Cuba (acn) Van Van, the popular Cuban band, was in charge of closing the 2nd Peace without Border Concert in this city, attended by over one million Cubans.

Worldwide Repercussion over Peace Concert in Havana

ACN Breaking News: Over One Million People at Peace Concert

Concert for Peace: Jovanotti Returns to Havana

World Music Stars Parade on the Peace Concert Stage in Havana

Love and Peace in Mega-concert in Havana

Puerto Rican Olga Tañon Opens Peace without Borders Concert

Pictures Taken by ACN news agency: Roberto Morejon, Sergio Abel, and Ismael

Juanes: this Concert is the Greatest Dream of Love and Peace
HAVANA, Cuba, Sep 20 (acn) “This concert is the greatest dream of peace and love I have experienced after the birth of my children,” affirmed on Sunday Colombian singer Juanes before over one million Cubans enjoying Colombian singer Juanes (L) performing in Havana City along Spanish Miguel Bose (R)the Peace without Borders presentation in this city.

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¡Más de un millón de cubanos
cantaron con Juanes a la Paz!

Abrazo emocionado tras la materialización de un sueño. Miguel Bosé, Olga Tañón y Juanes.  Foto: Sergio Abel  ACNEn la Plaza de la Revolución este domingo. Fusión de pueblo y artistas, de sueños y esperanzas. El cierre del fabuloso espectáculo fue con Los Van Van. Conmovedoras palabras de despedida de los participantes y estremecedor abrazo de Juanes, Olga Tañón y Miguel Bosé en el escenario. Muchos lloraron por la emoción de haber logrado este noble propósito. Agradecidos los cubanos aclamaron al elenco manifestándole cariño y admiración. Fue un regalo para Cuba y un hermoso tributo a la solidaridad

Participantes en el concierto Paz sin Fronteras: Juanes, Miguel Bosé, Víctor Manuel y Luis Eduardo Aute, Juan Fernando Velasco, Jovanotti, Olga Tañón, Danny Rivera, Silvio Rodríguez, Amaury Pérez, el grupo Orishas, Carlos Varela y X Alfonso, Cucu Diamante y Yerba Buena y la orquesta Los Van Van. los artistas de España, Colombia, Italia, Ecuador y Puerto Rico, coincidieron en destacar al pueblo como el gran protagonista de la jornada.
tri_red.gif (91 bytes)Video de Juanes tri_red.gif (91 bytes)Video de Danny Rivera

De los intérpretes en el espectáculo

Juanes: a pesar de las diferencias todos somos hermanos, el amor es más fuerte que el odio y nada hay más importante que la paz. Aquí vemos lo importante que es el amor y la paz, este es el mensaje no más.Todos estamos conectados. Lo importante es el amor, lo importante es la paz. No creo lo que mis ojos ven, este concierto es el sueño más grande de paz y amor.

Van Van cierra a ritmo cubano, bailar sin parar, ¡la candela!
Carlos Valera
canta Colgando del cielo
Luis Eduardo Aute:
habrá un antes y un después de este histórico concierto
Silvio Rodríguez
canta El Escaramujo y Ojalá
Orichas :
¡que se sienta Cuba en todo el mundo!
Cucú Diamante y Yerba Buena:
Cuba, que viva Cuba
en el concierto se habla el mismo idioma, el de la paz
Miguel Bosé:
la paz, el derecho más grande que tiene el ser humano
Víctor Manuel:
feliz de estar nuevamente en Cuba
Amaury Pérez
cantó Yo tengo un amor difícil y Hacerte venir
Juan Fernando Velasco:
agradecido por la oportunidad de enviar al mundo un mensaje de paz
Danny Rivera:
hay que luchar por la justicia
X Alfonso
canta con un coro de niños
Olga Tañón:
Cuba y Puerto Rico son de un pájaro las dos alas

tri_red.gif (91 bytes)Olga Tañón inició el desfile y dejó caliente la pista
tri_red.gif (91 bytes)Víctor Manuel, Amaury, Miguel Bosé, Carlos Varela, Jovanotti, Cucú Diamantes y Yerbabuena
Después del concierto:
Juanes: la alegría que siento es indescriptible, muy fuerte, estoy muy emocionado, queremos muchísimo a los cubanos y deseamos que esta relación sea más intensa
Olga Tañón: nunca me arrepentiré de haber venido, este es el viaje más importante de mi vida
Víctor Manuel: ha sido la tarde de domingo más completa
Amaury Pérez: me siento orgulloso de ser cubano y haber tomado parte en el concierto
Danny Rivera: parecía que el mundo estaba cambiando
Antes del concierto:
tri_red.gif (91 bytes)
Olga Tañón: será el concierto del siglo
tri_red.gif (91 bytes)
Miguel Bosé: canto a los mejores sueños de los seres humanos
tri_red.gif (91 bytes)Yotuel Romero: vi en los ojos de Juanes la pureza y la paz
tri_red.gif (91 bytes)Jovanotti: será una experiencia única, inolvidable
tri_red.gif (91 bytes)Danny Rivera: es como si toda América pueda tocarse con las canciones

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ACFS group booking at Che film premiere  

CHE Film - with Australia Cuba Friendship Society 6:00 PM
Please join the Australia Cuba Friendship Society for the opening of the Benicio Del Toro film on the life of Che Guevara at the cinema Paradiso in Northbridge on Thursday 1st October -- The evening will commence at 6:00pm with greetings from the Branch President of the Society followed by the latest hits from Guatemalan singer/songwriter Carlos Castellanos --- The film starts at 6:30pm with drinks and nibbles to follow for those who wish to stay on after the film. Tickets are available now by ringing Vinnie on 0419 812 872 or Elizabeth 0421 113 443 - Bookings and tickets available now! please dont miss out as numbers are limited -- Prices: $15 ($20 solidarity) All proceeds to go to Las Tunas Children's hospital in Cuba -- Please collect your raffle door ticket at the door and try your luck for a surprise Cuban prize.

Vinnie Molina ACFS president 0419812872

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Review of new Che Guevara film  

Join ACFS at the opening night in Perth on October 1, 6.30pm, Paradiso.
Email: for details

Che Film in two parts
Film directed by Steven Soderburgh
Review by Richard Titelius

According to the notes accompanying the release of the movie there were 7 years of research and filming undertaken to make this movie of the life of Che in two parts which comes in at just over four hours.

Upon seeing the movie one will be struck by the efforts taken to present a historically accurate, passionate and compelling rendition of the life of arguably the world’s most iconic revolutionary.

The movie received its world premier at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008, for which Benicio Del Toro received the award for Best Actor for the colourful, engaging and serious portrayal of the Argentine physician who went on to lead the Cuban revolution with Fidel Castro in the 1950’s.

The movie has gone on to receive mixed reviews around the world where the First World bourgeois media feels compelled to acknowledge the icons enduring legacy in front of the rest of the world, while also pandering to those who support its capitalist interests which Che fearlessly denounced on their own soil and in front of their own institutions.

The movie played to mild protests from Cuban expatriates at its opening in Miami and on the other side of the Florida Straits a few days later in November 2008, the movie played to a strong ovation, according to the official Cuban media Granma.

The movie has been released in Australia and is unlikely to receive much interest from the Cinema multiplexes around Australia and will spend much of its release in art house cinemas where its thoughtful and difficult though universal themes of justice, freedom and liberty will receive a more receptive audience.

The movie starts with the auspicious meeting of Fidel Castro (Mexican actor Demian Bichir) and Ernesto “Che” Guevara in the home of a Cuban friend in Mexico City in July 1955.

The movie follows in tone and sentiment with 2004’s “The Motorcycle Diaries” which traced the journey of the young Che Guevara with his friend Alberto Granado from Argentina, through Chile and Peru and eventually to Venezuela. It was on this trip that the young Che saw the harsh conditions and exploitation under which many people lived in the Latin continent and awoke in him the fierce desire to change the material conditions under which these people lived.

Soderburgh’s Che then passes from Mexico City to the southern shores of Cuba via the good ship Granma and on to the mountains of Sierra Maestra where the revolutionaries scored their first significant victories.

Part I alternates in grainy black and white film to the occasion in 1964 when Che visited the United States and gave an interview to the US media and delivered a passionate and fiery speech to the UN General Assembly on the resolve of the Cuban people.

The movie has its strong portrayals of battle with the armed forces of the government of Fulgencio Batista though these battles do not glorify war or violence in any way but show that a people who want justice, liberty and a better life must be prepared to fight those who will use violence including torture and other deprivations to resist the struggle of the people for a better life.

The movie contrasts with the texture of the usual Hollywood movies about the wars fought in the interests of capital where the protagonists of the conflicts and its soldiers have little interest in bringing freedom, justice and a better life to the lands where the wars are fought. In this sense Che the movie is the antithesis of most war movies (the wars of imperialism) where the protagonists of these movies are usually seen engaged in destruction and messing around with the women and messing up themselves. In this war Che makes it clear that any revolutionary can leave at certain times if they are not ready or able to continue and are given explicit instructions about the rules of engagement with the masses and the consequences for transgression which can include death. The revolutionaries also take care of the wounded of their enemy as well as their own.

The first part of the movie was shot in Cuba itself and the smaller part actors are peppered with the accents of indigenous Cuban actors and the vegetation and buildings in the towns and countryside are also reminiscent of a recent visit to Cuba-as are the old yet immaculately kept US cars from the late 1940’s and 1950’s which adorn the set in the urban settings. Part II is shot in Bolivia and Spain.

Part I of the movie concludes as the army buoyed by their victory in Santa Clara head on to the final victory in Havana.

If the tone of this Part I is predominantly upbeat as one knows the outcome of the Cuban Revolution, the tone of the second part is grim and forbidding though still engaging as is the enigma that surrounds much of this period of Che’s when he withdrew from his posts in Cuba and went to Bolivia.

He went there ostensibly to start the liberation of South America where the oppression and contradictions were at their greatest.

The colour and setting are more austere in Bolivia in line with the tone or theme of this part of Che’s life.

Though Fidel Castro had advised his comrade and friend against going to Bolivia as the timing was not right and to wait for things to calm down, it was Che who said to Fidel in Mexico at the start of their adventures together that if the Cuban campaign was successful that he did not want to be stopped from taking the revolution to Argentina and Bolivia.

However, almost as soon as he got there he found that he did not have the support of the Bolivian Communist Party, partly because they did not trust a foreigner, notwithstanding that Simon Bolivar who helped liberate Bolivia from the Spanish in the 19th Century was also a foreigner from Venezuela.

The film follows the errors and disappointments of the Bolivian campaign, as Che and his Bolivian, Cuban and other Latin revolutionaries find their mission becoming increasingly compromised and unable to build a better world where children no longer have to work in mines and the average miner will live longer than 30 years.

The complicity of the USA in the fate of Che which feared another Revolution in Bolivia similar to Cuba, is well featured in the movie and includes a special appearance of Matt Damon as a negotiator.

The end of the movie is tense, dramatic and unpredictable though not the typical Hollywood fare notwithstanding that this is a Hollywood movie.

Though Che the revolutionary and freedom fighter died an ignoble end without seeing his dream of a revolution coming to Bolivia, ironically 40 years later, it would be a native from Bolivia, Evo Morales and the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) who would herald in a better world for the majority of Bolivians and they would remember Che at this time.

19th September 2009

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Photos from the Perth protest for freedom for the Cuban 5  

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SMH: Impoverished Cuba sends doctors around the globe to help the poor  

CUBA, one of the world's few surviving communist nations, is quietly expanding relations in the Pacific region, and Canberra and Washington are said to be watching developments with concern.

Cuba has been flooding some poorer parts of the region with doctors and humanitarian workers since the tsunami tragedy in Indonesia on Boxing Day, 2004. Swathes of the Pacific, from Kiribati to East Timor, are becoming dependent on Cuban medical aid, and the Cubans appear to be winning hearts and minds. Following the Java earthquake in May, teams of doctors were quickly flown to affected areas.


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Interview with Attorney Richard Klugh on Cuban 5  

[Transcript of telephone interview given by Miami based Attorney Richard Klugh, who legally represents the Cuban Five in the appeals process, to Bernie Dwyer for Radio Havana Cuba on 1st September.

[Three of the Cuban Five, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez are in the Federal Detention Center in Miami waiting to attend a district court hearing on their re-sentencing as recommended by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta .

[They are being held in solitary isolation in the same Special Housing Unit that they spent 17 months awaiting trial in 2001. The re-sentencing hearing is due to be heard on 13th October 2009.]


Bernie Dwyer (RHC): Three of the Cuban Five, Ramon, Antonio and Fernando are now in the Federal Detention Center in Miami . Can you give us the background to their move from their separate prisons and the reason they are in Miami now?

Attorney Richard Klugh (RK): Ramon, Antonio and Fernando were transported to Miami within the last two weeks from their various institutions in Kentucky , Colorado and Indiana , in order to attend and be re-sentenced at a hearing by the district court judge as ordered by the court of appeals.

BD: Do they have any contact with each other?

RK: As of right now they are all separated from each other and separated from all of the other inmates. They are in the isolation units ordinarily used for special housing and it's unclear whether all of them will be allowed to leave the special housing units or isolation unit prior to re-sentencing or not. It’s our hope that it will happen.

BD: Are they permitted to have contact with their attorneys?

RK: Yes. The attorneys are visiting and are able to talk to them. The re-sentencing hearing is about a month and a half away so they need to be talking to them. That’s exactly where it stands right now. It’s a relatively short period of time before the re-sentencing occurs.

BD: Are they allowed to have family visits and phone calls?

RK: They will be allowed to have them. There is always a delay when there is a transfer such as this but they are not precluded from having family visits.

BD: Can they receive letters from supporters and friends?

RK: Absolutely and of course everybody is very encouraged to do that, to write to them in the names in which they are listed in the Bureau of Prisons directory at the address of the Federal Detention Center in Miami .

BD: Can you give a background as to why three of the Five, Antonio, Fernando and Ramon are being allowed to go back to court for re-sentencing and not Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzalez?

RK: Gerardo, because of the disputed conviction with regard to the Brothers to the Rescue matter was not eligible for a re-sentencing hearing because he has already received a life sentence as to that accusation and we were unsuccessful in the direct appeal in reversing that conviction.

He was deemed to be ineligible for re-sentencing. With regard to Rene, his sentence was based on offences as to which he really didn’t have much of a right to appeal. They were not sentences with which the District Count had any real legal limitations on what could be imposed.

And so the arguments that applied to the counts and convictions that Ramon, Antonio and Fernando had did not apply to René. That first fifteen years of the sentence is not subject to review under the federal sentencing guidelines because there is no guideline for the offence of conspiring to or acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

BD: How would you actually term this court appearance that is coming up?

RK: It’s an opportunity to have a re-consideration of the prior sentencing decisions and to basically start at a lower level of sentencing for each of them and hopefully that will result ultimately in a substantial lowering of sentences.

They would have a right to appeal from this re-sentencing decision if there are legal errors made in regard to the imposition of these sentences.

BD: Is there any chance that the judge could re-sentence them to longer terms in prison?

RK: There’s always theoretically a possibility of such a change however I think that it is well known that each of the Five has been exemplary in their conduct while incarcerated. I think they are highly regarded by other personnel within the federal prison system for their good conduct, their good works with other prisoners, etc. There really is nothing that would indicate any reason to punish them any more than they what they have already been punished for.

BD: If we look at somebody like Rene who is serving 15 years. Is there any mechanism that he can get time off for good behaviour?

RK: There is a limited provision for a reduction of sentence under the federal system so it is our hope that within the next two years at least that Rene might be able to be released.

There is sometimes a need for litigation to force them to allow the prisoner to be released in the latter stages of incarceration. I don’t know whether we will be in that position of having to litigate that with Rene or not but definitely we are prepared to insist that he be given every opportunity for early release.

BD: Do you know already who the judge is going to be at the re-sentencing hearing?

RK: it will be the same district judge that imposed the original sentences and essentially the same personnel. Some of the government attorneys are no longer with the government but essentially it will be the same personnel.

BD: Does that put prosecution and Judge in a position that if they re-sentence it appears that they made a mistake in the first sentencing?

RK: The court of appeals has already held that some of the provisions that were applied in the original sentencing were too harsh and that is the reason why we are having the re-sentencing. So those principles that were established by the court of appeals will form the basis for the re-sentencing process. And certainly it is our hope that as a result of that these sentences will be substantially lowered.

BD: The opinion that some of the original sentencing provisions were too harsh came from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ?

RK: Yes

BD: Do you feel that with the change of administration that you could expect any thing different at all in the approach taken by the court to the case of the Five. They were sentenced during the Bush administration. Do you think it will make any difference under the Obama administration?

RK: I don’t believe it necessarily would. So much time has passed. So many changes have occurred since the original sentencing. Everything that people have learned about what is and what is not something that merits a significant punishment I would think would help us in this process.

But I don’t know at the political level, the individual decisions in this case will have that effect. What I have found is that it does not have that effect ordinarily.

For us the most important part of the case that remains deals with Gerardo and trying to do something that will give him an opportunity to be released.

BD: Can you talk at this stage about how the re-sentencing case will be presented in court?

RK: Each of the three will be represented by their principal attorney. Joaquin Mendez represents Fernando. Leonard Weinglass represents Antonio and Bill Norris represents Ramon. They are each preparing individual arguments and explanations for why substantially lower sentences should be given.

It’s very important to remember that Antonio and Ramon had life sentences and the hope is that the sentences will become significantly reduced to a sentence that is more in keeping with an offense in which there was no actual commission of espionage.

[This interview with Attorney Richard Klugh was broadcast by Radio Havana Cuba on the 1st September 2009]

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Three of the Cuban Five await resentencing in Miami  

RAMÓN Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González are now being held in Miami’s Federal Detention Center to attend a resentencing hearing scheduled for October 13, the CubaDebate website reports.

Before Joan Lenard, the same judge who condemned the five Cuban antiterrorists to long and unjust sentences in 2001, a jury will have to consider the instructions from an appeals court — the 11th Circuit in Atlanta — which said the “sentences were incorrectly imposed” and thus annulled them.

According to the website, since Fernando, Ramón and Tony arrived at the Federal Detention Center in Miami they have been kept in solitary confinement, in the same unit where they were held for the first 17 months following their arrest in September 1998.

Meanwhile, the legal team defending the Five is continuing the battle in the courts. According to statements by the lawyers during a recent visit to Havana, they hope that the life sentences will be eliminated and the new sentences will be “reasonable.”

However, what they are most concerned about is Gerardo’s situation. No resentencing was ordered for him — nor for René — and Gerardo is now serving two life sentences for the unproven charge of “conspiracy to commit murder.” Within the injustice and illegality of this case, the treatment given Gerardo has been even worse, defense layers agree.

As stated many times by Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power, the Five have remained in prison longer than other people who have been sentenced for actual espionage, and the resentencing should lead to their immediate release, because they have already been unjustly imprisoned for more than 10 years.

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Cuban Ambassador in the Perth Activist Centre  

Cuban Ambassador, Abelardo Curbelo spoke to members and supporters of the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society on August 27. He spoke about the continuing blockade against Cuba and answered questions about the attitude of the new Obama administration which has toned down some of the diplomatic aggression towards Cuba but so far shows no sign of ending the blockade or freeing the Cuban Five.

A video was shown about the case of the Cuban Five and a birthday cake was brought out to mark Fidel Castro's birthday.

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Rally to "Free the Five" 12 Sept 2009  

Rally for the Cuban Five - stop the injustice!

The "Cuban Five" have, between them, been sentenced to four live terms and 75 years in United States prisons. They were falsely charged with espionage conspiracy.

Their real "crime"? They were peacefully defending Cuba from US-backed terrorist groups based in Miami.

Sat 12 Sept
12 noon, Stirling Gardens

Info: or phone 0421 113 341

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ACFS WA Branch

Vinnie: 0419 812 872


PO BOX 1455
South Perth WA 6951

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