Grand final weekend for the Freedom of the Cuban Five in Perth
With a welcome to country by Balladong Noongar Man Barry McGuire the exhibition of Gerardo Hernandez cartoons opened at the Kurb Gallery in Northbridge, WA.
On Saturday 1st October around eighty people defied the grand final weekend and gathered to seeing the political cartoons sketched inside a US prison cell by Gerardo, one of the Cuban five incarcerated since 1998.
Gerardo Hernandez was sentenced to double life imprisonment plus 15 years. He referred to his sentence in these words “but I have only one life to give for my country”.
The case of the Cuban Five took a recent twist when under the Freedom of Information Act members of the solidarity movement in the US uncovered information that confirms the US Government had paid a number of journalists to publish negative articles designed to damage the integrity of the Five Cubans. These five men were tried and sentenced in the media even before going on trial. This new evidence has allowed Gerardo’s legal team to seek leave to have his case reviewed based on this new evidence under a habeas corpus appeal.
The exhibition is made up of thirty of Gerardo’s political cartoons which have been displayed in several cities in the US, Belgium, Ecuador and now Perth WA. Many of his works are devoted to the frustrations of the Miami mafia seeing the Cuban Revolution grow older. Another section of the exhibit portrays the double standards that the US has shown in its war on terrorism. The final selection is dedicated to comandante Fidel Castro marking his birthday each year since the incarceration. In particular there is one that refers to Fidel’s reflections by depicting his pen as a different weapon in the same struggle; the struggle for Cuba’s self determination.
As part of his welcome Barry McGuire dedicated a message in song of oneness and solidarity to the Cuban Five.
This exhibition will go National in Australia; it attempts to break through the deafening silence of the media. A small piece was picked up in the community newspaper the Guardian Express and media attended the event in Perth.
In his intervention Cuban Consul General to Australia Reinaldo Garcia gave an update on Rene Gonzalez, one of the Five, who is due for release on Friday 7th October. His security is under threat from new orders that will place him under a three year-control order to remain in Miami and extends the inhumane deprivation of the 13 years he has been denied his human right to access to his family.
Several people left messages in a book for Gerardo acknowledging his courage and expressing solidarity. The Exhibition will remain open until Friday 7th October.
People in solidarity with the cause of the Cuban Five will continue the struggle until the Five are free and returned to Cuba. We renew our calls to President Obama to free the Cuban Five.