UK Women Trade Unionists give strong support to the Miami Five

Campaign News | Thursday, 22 March 2007

77th Women's TUC passes resolution condemning US treatment of the Five

WOMEN trade unionists have pledged support for the Miami 5 at a key conference held in England.

Delegates at the 77th Women’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) Conference showed solidarity with the Miami 5 by passing a resolution that condemns the United States authorities for failing to uphold the Cubans’ right to a fair trial.

The TUC, which has 66 affiliated unions representing nearly seven million working people from all walks of life, is the most powerful union organisation in Britain.

Barbara White, from the Musicians' Union, forwarded the motion which was seconded by Jane Carolan, of Unison’s national executive committee.

Ms White said: “I am delighted that the motion was carried.

“The fact that members overwhelmingly backed the motion sends a clear message from the country’s union movement that they support the Miami 5 and will continue to fight for their release.

“They have suffered a grave injustice, they have not received a fair trial and their continued incarceration is a disgrace.”

The Miami 5 are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González. They are all serving extreme sentences - life imprisonment in three cases - for thwarting terrorist actions against the island organized in Miami.

The TUC brings Britain’s unions together to draw up common policies, and delegates at the three day conference debated a range of major issues faced by women at work including: maternity pay, age discrimination and violence against women.

Ms White said: “Conference delegates expressed their concern about the trial and detention of the five Cubans, and called the judicial process a ‘gross injustice’.

“The motion also criticized the unjust denial of entry to the immediate families to visit the detainees, and delegates at the Women’s TUC felt tremendous sympathy for Adriana Perez (wife of Gerardo), Olga Salanueva and her young daughter Ivette (family of Rene), for the inhumane manner in which their visiting rights have been ignored.”

The TUC supported the petition for a retrial and pledged to campaign for the release of the Miami 5.

Father Geoff Bottoms, Chair of the Miami 5 Campaign Group for the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, has visited Ramón Labañino and Gerardo Hernández in prison.

He said: “The Cuban five take heart from the fact that solidarity is growing in strength despite the conspiracy to hide the facts, and the level of support received from delegates at the Women’s TUC is further evidence of this.

“With the United States seeking any pretext to justify further aggression against Cuba in its continuing ‘war on terror’, it is more vital than ever that these men are vindicated and returned home to their families.

“For they are the true fighters against a terrorism that is directed towards all those seeking a more just, equitable and peaceful world.”

Their case is supported by Amnesty International, which has called the sentences “unnecessarily punitive and contrary to standards for humane treatment”, and the cause has recently been taken up by Ministers of the European Parliament (MEPs).

A total of 166 MEPs, including 22 from the UK, have signed a written declaration entitled “On the refusal by the American authorities to grant visas to the families of detainees”.

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