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Issue #1545      2 May 2012


Humour from my Pen

More than 100 people packed out the The Vanishing Point gallery in Newtown, Sydney on April 19 for the opening of the Humour from my Pen exhibition of political cartoons. The cartoons are by Gerardo Hernández, one of five Cuban political prisoners in the US. The Cuban Five, as they are known internationally, were arrested in 1998 and convicted on fabricated “espionage” charges and handed draconian sentences. The exhibition was organised by the Sydney branch of the Australia Cuba Friendship Society (ACFS).

The Five are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González. René was released from jail on October 7, 2011 and is now serving a compulsory three-year probation period in Florida.

As the Cuban Five pointed out in their defence, they were on a mission in Miami, beginning in 1990, to monitor the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups, in order to prevent those groups from carrying out attacks on their country of Cuba.

They never harmed anyone nor ever possessed nor used any weapons on their mission. Their objective was simply protecting people from terrorism.

The exhibition features high quality reproductions of 28 satirical cartoons, line drawings with water colours and explanatory captions in English. Hernández created these during his more than 13 years inside maximum-security prisons with limited access to materials. They expose US imperialism and demonstrate that the authorities have not been able to break the spirit and humour of this great Cuban hero.

The highlight of the evening, apart from the artwork itself, was a letter from Gerardo that, despite mail problems at the US Penitentiary Victorville in California, reached the opening in time. ACFS president Chela Weitzel read his message of solidarity and appreciation at the opening:

“I am very glad that my cartoons are being shown in different cities of Australia and will also be in New Zealand. By organising these exhibitions not only are you contributing to our struggle for justice, but also you allow me to make my own modest contribution through my art, and for that I am grateful.

“… I would like to express my gratitude to all persons honouring the Cuban Five with their presence, to the organisers of the event, and to our comrades of Justice Action and the Indigenous Social Justice Association, whose continual work for prisoners’ rights and Aboriginal rights we respect and admire. Our solidarity is with you and with the many people that you represent.

“After almost 14 years of unjust imprisonment, the cause of the Cuban Five is in a very special moment. A moment that requires us to double our efforts for our claim to be heard in every corner of the world, and for the US government to pay attention. We know that now, as always, we can count on you, our friends in Australia, to keep going forward.

“On behalf of the Five and our families I express our deepest appreciation to each of you.

Hasta La Victoria Siempre!

The Cuban Ambassador to Australia, Pedro Monzon, gave a brief historical background to the Cuban Revolution and the struggle to free the Cuban Five. He was warmly received by an attentive audience.

Gerardo is a great artist with an important message. His work demonstrates the power of the pen and humour in the face of a mighty military, imperial power. The exhibition is well worth visiting if you are in Sydney.

It is open Thursday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm until May 13. There will be a question and answer session at the Gallery on Saturday May 12 with the Consul General of the Republic of Cuba, Reinaldo Garcia Perera, from 2pm to 4pm.

Entry is free. For details see What's On  


Next article – WA anti-gas plant campaign hots up

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