Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Get involved with the campaign to free the Miami Five - support EDM 497

In September 2012 – to coincide with the 14th anniversary of the arrest of the Miami Five – the Cuba Solidarity Campaign launched a major parliamentary action in support of the Miami Five and their families as Early Day Motion (EDM) 497 was tabled in support of visitation rights for Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez.

Olga and Adriana have been denied visas to visit their husbands – Miami Five prisoners Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzalez – on 10 separate occasions. In the case of Olga Salanueva, she has been told she is permanently ineligible to apply.

EDM 497 calls on the U.S. administration to make a humanitarian gesture and grant visitation rights to allow Olga and Adriana to see their husbands.  It cites an Amnesty International report which notes that “denying the men visits from their wives is unnecessarily punitive and contrary to standards for humane treatment of prisoners and states’ obligations to protect family life”.

Launch of EDM 497

A special parliamentary meeting with Aleida Guevara helped launch the EDM. Michael Connarty MP – who tabled EDM 497 – described the imprisonment of the Miami Five as “a breach of human rights” and criticised the hypocrisy of the U.S government who claim that their constitution was founded on these principles.

“What was the crime of the Miami Five?” asked Michael. “Protecting their country. We give people medals for that. They weren’t fomenting revolution or planting bombs – they were trying to collect information on terrorists.”

Michael lamented the fact that Gerardo and Rene have been denied the right to see their wives for 14 years. “Murderers and people who have committed the most heinous crimes get these rights,” said Michael. And he described America’s continuing denial of this right as “the worst indictment of any country”.

Speaking after CSC’s annual vigil for the Miami Five, Cathy Jamieson MP highlighted the importance of the EDM in raising awareness surrounding the Miami Five and how it was necessary in the ongoing struggle for justice. “Of course we want to see the Miami Five free,” said Cathy. “But this is something that we can achieve now.”

Baroness Angela Smith – speaking at a CSC fringe meeting at Labour Party Conference – emphasised the importance of collecting as many MP signatures as possible for EDM 497. “If it gets more than 250 signatures it is reported to cabinet and it is considered for debate in the House of Commons”.

Angela recalled a conversation she had with Adriana which illustrated how the ongoing treatment of the Miami Five had tragically destroyed their family life. As Adriana told Angela, “I always thought I’d have children – now I know I will never have a family”.

Impact of EDM 497

Early Day Motion 497 has so far been signed by over 80 MPs and – out of over 700 EDMs tabled in this parliamentary session – has the 15th highest number of signatures. It is supported by politicians from ten different political parties including: Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, Respect, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, Alliance Party, DUP, and SDLP. The only Westminster party not represented on the list of signatures – owing to the fact they abstain from parliamentary business – is Sinn Fein, although their MPs have expressed their support for the Miami Five.

What can you do?

Please help us in our campaign to win visitation rights for Olga and Adriana by:
  • Using our campaign website to write to your MP asking them to sign EDM 497
  • Sharing the campaign website with friends, contact lists and on social media
  • Ordering copies of the EDM action card to distribute amongst colleagues at branch meetings and events. Email here to do so.
Remember to let CSC know about any response you receive – either good or bad. As Baroness Angela Smith said, “if your MPs refuses to sign EDM 497, write to your local press and tell them that they’ve refused to sign it”. If they’ve agreed to sign it, why not tell your local press too? The more we can spread the word about the injustice of the case, the more likely we are to see the release of the Miami Five.

Please get involved because you can make an invaluable difference to the Miami Five and their families.

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