Cuba Colors Itself Yellow for “Los Cinco” Prisoners in the U.S.

Perfil de Facebook de usuarios solidarios con la causa de Los Cinco

Facebook profile of users posting in solidarity with the plight of Los Cinco.

[Links are to Spanish-language pages.]

September 12, 2013, marks 15 years since the arrest of five Cubans who infiltrated groups in Miami, United States, and disrupted subversive actions and psychological warfare against the Cuban people. Four of them remain in U.S. jails.

On the eve of the anniversary and throughout the week, a video has been circulating on social networks and Cuban television. It features a version of the popular “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Oak Old Tree,” performed by the Cuban singer-songwriters Silvio Rodríguez, Amaury Pérez Vidal, Frank Fernández and Kiki Corona, among others.

According to René González, one of the five Cuban prisoners in the United States who recently returned to the island after having served his 13-year sentence:

La idea de la campaña me la dio la gente en la calle… lo que necesitábamos era el lenguaje norteamericano… Un día me desperté y dije: la cinta amarilla! por el significado que tiene en Estados Unidos.

The idea for the campaign came to me from the people in the street…what we needed was something which North American could identify with…One day I woke up and said: the yellow ribbon! because of what it represents in the United States.

In an address rebroadcast by Cuban television, González said:

Yo cumplí mi sentencia íntegramente, pero tenemos que impedir que eso suceda con mis cuatro hermanos por todo lo que implica y, aunque es duro decirlo, tenemos que recordar que eso para Gerardo implica que si los designios del gobierno norteamericano se cumplen, él moriría en la cárcel.

I served my whole sentence, but we must prevent this from happening to my four brothers because of all that it implies and, even though it is painful to say it, we must remember that for Gerardo this means that if the intentions of the American government are fulfilled, he will die in prison.

Then he added:

Durante estos años hemos tenido como protagonista del cariño al pueblo cubano. Ese cariño se ha manifestado de todas las formas posibles en las cartas, en los mensajes, en los dibujos de los niños y ese cariño es el que queremos que sea en esta ocasión el protagonista de la jornada.

Yo he tenido ocasión de sentirlo, de vivirlo, de palparlo, de experimentarlo en las calles de Cuba, de todas las formas posibles y en cualquier punto geográfico de la Isla y ese es el cariño que le estamos pidiendo que se manifieste en esta ocasión, donde ustedes lo hagan de la forma en que quieran, con toda la diversidad que nos caracteriza como cubanos y en la mejor manera que cada cual considere en su aula, en su centro de trabajo, en su barrio, en su proyecto comunitario, que puede ser capaz de manifestarlo.

During those years, the highlight for us was always the affection of the Cuban people. That affection was manifested in many ways, in letters, messages, children's drawings—and it is this same affection that we want to highlight on this commemorative day.

I was fortunate to feel it, to live it, to touch it, to experience it in the streets of Cuba, in all possible ways and in every geographical spot on the Island; and this is the affection that we are asking you to demonstrate on this occasion, wherever and however you choose, with all the diversity that distinguishes us as Cubans and in the best way each one can—whether in the classroom, workplace, neighbourhood, or community project.

In an emotional article, Progreso Semanal reported:

Cualquiera de estos días podrían aparecer cintas hasta en el Morro habanero… Serán las señales de anhelo, espera, fidelidad a cuatro cubanos encarcelados en Estados Unidos desde hace 15 años. René González ha convocado. El pueblo cubano se pronunciará. El pueblo norteamericando podrá captar el reclamo.

On any one of those days ribbons could appear, even in Havana's El Morro…They will be signs of longing, waiting, and keeping faith with four Cubans jailed in the United States for 15 years. René González has called us. The Cuban people will make themselves heard. People across North America will understand our demand.

During a concert by the popular Cuban duo Buena Fe, on September 6 in the Diez de Octubre district of Havana, Israel Rojas declared:

Buena Fe concert. Photo Iroko Alejo, used with permission.

Buena Fe concert. Photo Iroko Alejo, used with permission.

No iba a decir esto, pero ya que estoy acá sobre la canción lo diré. Hay uno de los cinco compañeros que si se cumple lo que está escrito no verá la luz al final del túnel. Es Gerardo. El diario Juventud Rebelde publicó hace un tiempo unos testimonios de Gerardo sobre cómo enamoró a Adriana [su esposa] y me conmovió tanto, me pareció tan humano que sin saberlo al día siguiente nació esta canción que quiero dedicársela a Adriana y a Gerardo, se llama de “Proa a Popa” y quisiera cantársela si vienen un día a un concierto nuestro”.

I wasn't going to say this, but now that I am here I will say it about the song: There is one member of the group of five who, if forced to serve his sentence, will not see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is Gerardo. A while ago, the newspaper Juventud Reblede published some declarations by Gerardo about how he fell in love with Adriana [his wife] and it so moved me. It seemed so human that without knowing it the next day this song was born, which I want to dedicate to Adriana and Gerardo. It's called “Proa a Popa” [From Bow to Stern] and I would like to sing it one day if they come to one of our concerts.

According to the creators of Alamesa, a popular directory of state and privately owned restaurants in Havana, which recently expanded to include the province of Matanzas: “We are going to publish yellow food on the 12th; that is our way of contributing.”

But the request of the Cuban people also extends to the Puerto Rican Oscar López Rivera, a political prisoner who has been in jail in the U.S during 32 years. Miguel Fernández, on his blog Cuba la isla infinita, explains: “On this September 12 my yellow ribbon will be for the Cuban Los Cinco and for the Puerto Rican Oscar López Rivera.”

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