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‘Free the Cuban 5’ banner is planted

Published Jan 28, 2010 9:28 PM

While five Cuban heroes remain imprisoned because of a cruel vendetta by the U.S. government against the courageous socialist republic of Cuba, more and more voices of opposition to their unjust incarceration are being raised worldwide. The latest action on behalf of the Cuban Five — Ramón Labañino, Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González — happened in Argentina at the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010.

Photo: Principio Esperanza

There, three young Argentinean men set out to climb the tallest mountain in Latin America, the Aconcagua in the Andes mountain range — known as the “roof of America.” At 6.962 meters above sea level, the Aconcagua is the second tallest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest in the Himalayas.

The young men’s purpose was to send a message to President Barack Obama and challenge the complicit commercial media that maintain silence while unjust sentences keep the five anti-terrorists lingering in U.S. jails.

On Dec. 25, Santiago Vega, a radio and television commentator; Aldo Bonavitta, a bank employee; and Alcides Bonavitta, a social activist, began the journey toward the Aconcagua. Cuban Five committees throughout the world followed their expedition daily and posted messages on the committees’ Web sites and email lists. Updates from the three, sometimes including audio, as well as messages of encouragement and solidarity, appeared on Spanish-language email lists.

Teams of support would retransmit the text messages, photos and audio received from the mountain. Not only were there daily reports, but in many cases, hourly accounts.

A climate of excitement was felt throughout the region. Alejandro Miranda, the point person between the three and the rest, summed it up: “The expedition goes forward with the Five and the entire continent in their backpacks.”

The updates made many feel as if they were taking part of the journey, particularly when reading or listening to descriptions of the group’s climbing difficulties, which included intense cold and high winds.

On Jan. 9 they reached the top. They planted a flag featuring a logo created by Gerardo Hernández. They also displayed a banner that reads, “Obama, free the 5 Cuban heroes now!” in English and in Spanish.

The expedition can be seen on their Web site: www.principioesperanza.com.