Concert In New York For The Freedom Of The Cuban Five
Sept. 15, 2008
New York, Sept. 14, 2008. The Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture united musicians from various countries in its emblematic Bronx Theater for an evening of solidarity, through music and song, with the Cuban Five and their families.
The New York public, particularly the large Dominican and Puerto Rican community, responded enthusiastically to the call by the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five, some arriving even after the concert began to buy the last tickets.
In attendance to enjoy the stellar performances and express their solidarity with the Cuban Five, were the Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations, Rodrigo Malmierca, and other U.N. diplomats from Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The concert was opened by the Puerto Rican Golden Jazz All Stars, followed by Dominican songwriter Victor Victor and his group. After the intermission Pablo Marcano Garcia spoke and introduced Puerto Rican legend Danny Rivera who closed the show inviting a group of troubadours who sang “Décimas” alluding to the struggle to free the Five.
Audience members danced in their seats, gave standing ovations and cheered for the artists who offered their voice to vindicate the dignity and resistance of Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Fernando Gonzalez, the Five Stars to whom the concert was dedicated.
Bill Santiago, who was the emcee, expressed his thanks for being invited to participate in the concert.
In the lobby during the intermission people gathered around the informational table asking how they could help in the campaign and contributed by buying buttons, books, and t-shirts. In particular, many women who attended the concert were especially moved by the international campaign for the visas for Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez. People took many postcards to send to Condaleeza Rice demanding visas for the two Cuban women.
The work of the production team, headed by Bill Martinez and Alicia Jrapko, was successful despite the boycott from those who are enemies of Cuba and the Cuban Five.
Alicia Jrapko, US Coordinator of the International Committee thanks the musicians, diplomats, and audience present for honoring these five men who have been unjustly imprisoned for 10 years and for those around the world who demand their freedom, as the large stage banner exclaims.
The theater was full of energy and emotion when amidst great applause the audience chanted several times Free the Cuban Five!
A message from Rene Gonzalez on behalf of the Five was read by Nancy Cabrero, President of Casa de las Americas from New York. Danny Glover was present through a letter read by the young North American member of the International Committee, Melanie Langlois.
Message From The Cuban Five To Participants Of The Concert "Five Stars And One Song"
Sept. 18, 2008
We were adolescents when the first embrace from Danny Rivera arrived to our besieged homeland. By then, our parents were writing a heroic and silenced history of confrontation against terrorism. His embrace full of love and melody was as an extended bridge in the Caribbean, where our rhythms have transited in all directions to reaffirm the human warmness, the sensibility, the hospitality and the identity that makes us one.
"I want a people who laugh and chant” cried out our brother, and we laughed and chanted together, and we continue to do that. But we also have to continue defending ourselves because – unfortunately- only through fighting have we been able to realize our dreams. Until we achieve this forever once in awhile we have to exercise our rights.
Today you have come together to laugh and to chant, to denounce another shameful and silenced chapter in the long history of terrorism against Cuba. Again tonight, our Caribbean bridge comes to life and our homelands of Duarte, Betances and Marti; Sara, Sonia y Lucecita unites in only one homeland to defend five of their humbled sons.
In this hour of giving thanks we must also do it in the name of the Boricuas, Afro-Americans, aborigines, and other US political prisoners; victims all of the vindictive and unjust system that this concert is denouncing.
While there is an injustice without remedy we can not forget to laugh, neither to sing nor to continue to fighting.
We wish you a happy concert and we sent you a revolutionary and Caribbean embrace.
Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando y René
Concierto En New York Por La Libertad De Los Cinco
15 de septiembre de 2008
New York, 14 de Septiembre 2008. El Teatro del Centro Hostos para las Artes y la Cultura reunió en una misma noche a músicos de distintos países que se dieron cita
Los asistentes, bailaron desde sus asientos, aplaudieron de pie y dieron vivas a quienes con su canto reivindicaron la dignidad y la resistencia de Gerardo Hernández, Rene González, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labanino y Fernando González Llort, las Cinco Estrellas a quienes fue dedicado el Concierto.