Friday, 11 May 2012

Scottish parliament hosts historic debate on Miami Five

Labour MSP Elaine Smith told MSPs the "Miami Five" had suffered a "terrible injustice" and were innocent men being used by the US as "pawns in a political game", during her member's debate on 9 May 2012.

The Miami Five are a group of Cuban citizens that have been imprisoned in the United States since 1998 and for whom Amnesty International has raised serious doubts about the fairness of the proceedings that led to their convictions.

Ms Smith drew attention to the Cuban art exhibition "Beyond the Frame" at the Lighthouse in Glasgow which has paintings from two of the Miami Five, as well as other works of Cuban art and works by artists based in the UK.

The deputy presiding officer said that all of the exhibition's proceeds will go to the campaign for justice for the Miami Five.

Ms Smith called for the end of the 50-year economic blockade of Cuba by the United States saying it was a "cold war relic that should be consigned to the dustbin of history".

She commended the UK government for signing a formal co-operation agreement with Cuba and called on the Scottish government to do the same on devolved areas.

In closing the debate the Labour MSP said more Scots should visit Cuba for three good reasons: " Sun, Salsa and Socialism, Viva Cuba."

The Cuban ambassador to the UK, Esther Armenteros Cardenas, was in the parliament to hear the debate and was welcomed by the MSPs in the debate.

Parliamentary Business Minister Brian Adam closed the debate saying: "Certainly in relationship to encouraging and growing cultural, educational and economic links between our two countries is certainly on the agenda for the government".

Story courtesy of the BBC. Watch the full video of the debate here

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