A mock prison was erected in Manchester City Centre to draw attention to the case of 5 Cubans wrongly imprisoned for fighting terrorism
Five activists dressed in prison overalls were incarcerated behind bars while others gave out leaflets and collected signatures to raise awareness of the case of the ‘Miami 5’, Cuban citizens who had, following an accord between Cuba and the US gathered information on terror plans by ultra right elements in Florida. When they gave the information to the FBI they were promptly arrested and after a trial seen as unfair by legal experts and sentenced to extremely long prison terms for alleged espionage and conspiracy to murder.
Lively Cuban music played while members of the group engaged in discussion with interested passers by.
Bruce Rafeek, Secretary of Manchester Cuba Solidarity Group, said:
“We have long campaigned against this injustice and this year settled on a new way to draw the public’s attention to their fate. With what was a cross between street theatre and art installation we certainly made an impact and found again that when the facts of the case are explained, the people of Manchester show their concern for injustice and offer their support to the cause.”
The installation started at the statue of that US campaigner for justice, Abraham Lincoln and then moved on to Piccadilly Gardens. For more pictures, please see our Flickr page by clicking here
Notes for editors
The Miami 5 are Gerardo Hernández, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero, René González and Ramón Labañino. These five Cubans were given harsh jail sentences on 'conspiracy' charges in 1998 by the US court in Miami. They were denied the right to a fair trial.
Their only crime was to gather information on terrorist groups in Miami that were planning attacks on Cuba. In the past 50 years over 3,000 lives have been lost from such terror attacks on Cuba. Known terrorists walk freely in Miami and have even boasted of their exploits on local television shows there.
Before sentencing they spent 18 months in solitary confinement. They have spent the last 13 years in separate maximum-security prisons. Their applications for appeals have been repeatedly blocked by the US government.
Visits from their families have been severely restricted. The wives of two men - Gerardo and Rene - have been refused visas to visit their husbands for 13 and 12 years respectively. Amnesty International, The UN Human Rights Commission, The TUC, 11 Nobel Prize winners and ex US president Jimmy Carter, are amongst those who have protested against their unlawful imprisonment.
Only public pressure can help them now.