'Mission Against Terror' wins supporters for Cuban 5
Published Feb 17, 2005 8:23 PM
City by city, the
award-winning documentary "Mission Against Terror" is chipping away at the
curtain of silence surrounding the case of the Cuban 5--five men from Cuba who
are unjustly imprisoned in the United States for preventing terrorism against
the Cuban people.
Accompanied by Irish co-writer/director Bernie Dwyer,
the national 22-city tour is distributing a new and powerful organizing tool to
social justice and Cuba solidarity activists. The National Free the Five
Committee and the National Network on Cuba initiated the tour. Its organizers in
large and small cities are bringing the fight for the Cuban 5 to wider audiences
as the anniversary of their appeal hearing approaches March 10.
in Miami, the tour reached its mid-point Feb. 12 at a Detroit screening
co-sponsored by the Justice for Cuba Coalition, Swords into Plowshares Peace
Center and Gallery Saturday Matinee Film Series. There university students,
union, legal, academic, religious and Cuba solidarity organizers raised funds
for a local Free the Five ad campaign.
Just across the Canadian border
from Detroit, the Canada Cuba Friendship Association/Windsor had shown the film
at the School of Visual Arts at the University of Windsor earlier in the day as
part of a film festival. The Windsor committee reported that people in the
audience, who had a youth soccer team with them at the time, narrowly missed
being in the lobby of the Havana hotel that was bombed in July 1997 because of a
last minute change of plans."
In New York the week before, an overflow
crowd, with dozens turned away, bought all 40 copies of the film on hand. In
Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., New Paltz, N.Y., Chicago and
Minneapolis, meetings and interviews are introducing people to the Five, their
families and the support of their larger Cuban family.
with former CIA agent Philip Agee, attorney Leonard Weinglass, Cuban National
Assembly leader Ricardo Alarcon and others, woven together with dramatic
historic film footage, "Mission Against Terror" artfully and compellingly tells
the story of these extraordinary men.
are audiences reacting to the documentary? Dwyer told Workers World, "When the
film finishes there is usually silence and then applause because the ending of
the film is really quite poignant. People do take a moment to reflect when it is
"What has really surprised me is not so much that people haven't
heard about the case of the Five, because that is a particular case and also
there has been a wall of silence around it in the U.S. mainstream media. What
really shocks me, because I was brought up in Ireland, is the lack of knowledge
about the 45 years of U.S. aggression with the trade blockade, economic blockade
and actual physical violence.
"The CIA has backed active anti-Cuban
right-wing groups in Miami to carry out assassination attempts on Fidel Castro
and also on the people of Cuba. I'll tell you," Dwyer continued, "the people of
the United States are really, really shocked when they realize this has been
carried out in their name."
When asked why she and co-director Roberto
Ruiz Rebo took on this project, Dwyer explained that in addition to her work as
a journalist for Radio Havana assigned to covering the case of the Cuban 5, she
had been involved in campaigns in Ireland to free Irish political prisoners who
were in British prisons.
Similarities with Irish prisoners
could see similarities here," said Dwyer. "I could see that thing that goes
on--'We have to convict them, we have to charge them, we have to put them in
prison.' Also the way family members are treated. Irish families hated going to
England to see their family members. Games are played--'We don't have a prisoner
by that name,' because the prisoner was taken out the back door. This is
happening as well with the case of the Five.
"There was the case of
Antonio Guerrero's mother--who is not a young woman--going to the States to
visit her son. It's not easy for them. They are treated badly. They are not used
to being in a big vast country like this, not knowing anybody. She was there for
a week to visit her son on different days.
"On the last day, she went to
the prison to say goodbye to Antonio and so he could say goodbye to her. They
told her there was no prisoner by that name. He was transferred to a hospital.
She couldn't go to the prison hospital. It was too far away and the families can
only travel within a certain perimeter. So she had to go back to Cuba without
Although "Mission Against Terror" is off to the West
Coast as the tour finishes, copies of the film are available from Cuba
solidarity organizations across the country and it will continue to be shown.
Due to U.S. visa restriction, Cuban co-director Roberto Ruiz Rebo could
not participate in the U.S. tour. However both he and Dwyer will continue the
international tour together. In April they'll be in England, Scotland, Wales and
Ireland, then in Germany in May.
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