United States: Artists call for freedom for Cuban Five

Actor and activist Danny Glover and veteran actor and former Screen Actors Guild president Edward Asner, called on fellow artists to add their name to a letter to US President Barack Obama asking him to issue an executive clemency order to free the Cuban Five.

Glover and Asner are co-chairs of Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban Five”

The Cuban Five are five Cuban men jailed in the US for their role in collecting information on behalf of the Cuban government on potential terrorist acts by violent anti-Cuban groups in Miami.

The letter from US actors and artists was sent to Obama on September 12 to mark the anniversary of the five’s jailing.

The states: “We are dismayed that the Cuban 5, who have committed no crime against the United States nor posed any threat to this country's national security, have now been imprisoned for 12 years.

“The Five monitored the activities of violent groups of Cuban exiles in Miami, activities that had already resulted in the deaths of thousands of Cuban nationals. They sought simply to protect their country from further acts of terrorism.”

Other actors and artists who have added their names to the letter include: James Cromwell, Mike Farrell, Bruria Finkel, Richard Foos, Elliott Gould, Greg Landau, Francisco Letelier, Esai Morales, Betty and Stanley K. Sheinbaum, and Andy Spahn.

On August 8, Glover visited Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban Five at the United States Penitentiary Victorville. Gerardo had just been released from 13 days in isolation in “the hole” without being given any reason.

Glover came out of that visit with a strong commitment to get other actors and artists to join the efforts to free the five.

Glover said: “President Obama should pardon Gerardo Hernandez and the other members of the Cuban Five. They were front line soldiers in the fight against terrorism.

“But instead of using the information they gathered to arrest people carrying out bombings of civilians, the FBI arrested these five men. The bombers such as Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch on the other hand, walk the streets of Miami and hold fund raising dinners there.”

Speaking in Los Angeles at the recent opening of an art exhibit of Antonio Guerrero, another member of the Cuban Five, Asner said: “Railroading of people of colour is an American industry. The Cuban Five are no exception.”

For more information, contact the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five, www.thecuban5.org.