Friday, November 26, 2010

Symposium on the Five Cubans held in Holguin

The Sixth International Symposium for the Release of the Cuban Five and against Terrorism was held last week in Holguin with some 330 delegates participating from 56 countries.

This year marked the event’s largest participation since it was first held in 2005. Social activists, members of Cuban friendship associations, leaders of national and international committees for freedom for the Cuban Five, political representatives, union and youth leaders, lawyers and other professionals, were among participants in the event.

In our country there are several people, businesses, economic activities that have been the victim of terrorism, of the US blockade and the injustice committed against the Cuban Five and their relatives, this is why that although Holguin was the epicenter of this gathering, all of Cuba was also part of the symposium.

The event took place at the Holguin Expo Fairgrounds and begans with a meeting with the foreign delegations, followed by an interactive internet forum with relatives of the Cuban Five.

As has become a tradition, the symposium was extended to the Holguin municipalities of Calixto Garci¬a, Gibara, Rafael Freyre and Banes.

The misguided arrest of the Cuban Five in 1998 and the subsequent travesty of justice lead to their convictions on multiple unsubstantiated charges in 2001. The Cuban Five were dedicated to uncovering plots by ultra-rightwing Cuban-American organizations based in Miami with a long record of terrorist actions against Cuba and the Cuban people.

In a trial plagued with irregularities and held in a highly biased Miami court, the Cuban Five —Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Rene Gonzalez— were given harsh sentences ranging from 15 years to consecutive life terms plus 15 years. The five Cubans were working to uncover information about terrorist activities being planned and carried out against Cuba by ultra-rightwing organizations based in southern Florida with a long record of terrorist actions against Cuba and the Cuban people. When they turned their information over to authorities they were arrested and have been in jail ever since.

A UN Working Group reviewing the case determined that the trial did not take place in a climate of objectivity and impartiality, which is required in order to conclude on the observance of the standards of a fair trial. The UN report also charges that the Cuban Five were wrongfully held for seventeen months in solitary confinement after their arrest, and that their lawyers were deprived of the opportunity to examine all of the available evidence before the government invoked the Classified Information Protection Act.

Shortly following the UN ruling, on August 9, 2005, a three judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals of Atlanta issued a 93-page reversal of the initial conviction as well as nullified the sentences. In response to the reversal, the Bush administration and Attorney General Gonzales vehemently pushed for the US Solicitor General to appeal the verdict of the three-judge panel’s decision before all twelve judges of the 11th circuit in Atlanta. This time the court bowed down to pressure from the Bush administration and reversed the previous pro-Cuban Five ruling by a vote of 10-2.

In 2008, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of all five prisoners, but ruled that the sentences handed down to Labañino, Guerrero, and Fernando Gonzalez were excessive. Subsequently their sentences were slightly reduced.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Renovation works at the Eddy Suñol theater of Holguin almost concluded

The Eddy Suñol Theatre of Holguin is one of the most emblematic places of this city. Since 2007, major renovation works were undertaken here, which are almost completed.

Dressing rooms, socio-administrative offices, housing and ceiling, are almost ready.
Construction brigades are working hard in the assembly of a new stage, scheduled for later this month as well as the Art Deco facility with capacity for a thousand people.

This cultural institution will provide modern technology costing more than 428 000 dollars. It also will have at the artist’s disposal new stage lights, bars, among other scenery elements.

The rebuilding will allow a greater presence in Holguin of theatre groups, comedians and dance companies throughout Cuba, in a city with proven cultural development.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

10th Anniversary of the Holguin Symphony Orchestra

The Symphony Orchestra of the city of the parks (a reason for pride to the people from this Cuban province) is celebrating today, November 4th, the 10th anniversary of its foundation with a concert at the Art Center.

As part of the activities for the celebration they will perform the Symphony No. four of Johannes Brahms, a selection of "Pictures at an Exhibition" orchestrated by Mussorgsky-Ravel, and arias from famous operas by various authors.

It is expected that musicians who founded the orchestra will also be on stage along with young talents of the Conservatory "José María Ochoa" of this city.

As expressed by its director Orestes Saavedra, the orchestra has lived important moments since its foundation in 2000, that include the outdoor performing of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and the Overture 1812, by Russian composer Pior Igor Tchaikovsky, which marked a stage of advance in the group.

They also have had the support of renowned Cuban pianist Frank Fernandez, who has always provided a helping hand to help both, musically and with any logistical problem.

The company had its national debut three years later, at the concert by the 75th anniversary of the Amadeo Roldan Auditorium Theater, where they accompanied the maestro Frank Fernandez.

The Holguin´s Symphony Orchestra has been directed by leading musicians of national and international prestige, as the Cuban Leo Brouwer, Ivan del Prado and Maria Elena Mendiola, as well as the American Bernard Rubisntein and Mexican Guillermo Villareal.