Sunday, 27 March 2011

Weinglass' death came as a blow to the Cuban Five

By Ricardo Alarcon,
Cuban Parliament President, 24 March 2011.
Translation by The South Journal.

In the afternoon of Wednesday, March 23, Leonard Weinglass´ heart stopped beating, the same day he turned 78 years old.

He suffered from a terrible disease that had become critical and particularly painful since last January; however, his disease did not took him out of his work a single moment. During his last months, while heroically facing his disease and the physical pains, Weinglass put his heart and soul into the preparations and presentation of the Habeas Corpus in favour of Gerardo Hernandez and Antonio Guerrero, without disregarding the cases of the other three Cuban compatriots.Shortly before being hospitalized to be submitted to urgent surgery, he pushed the last details for the appeals to be presented in favor of Gerardo and Antonio and he instructed his colleagues about what they have to do while he was hospitalized. Only then he accepted to take care of his health.

He was always like that. When very young he joined the legal aid office which, under the management of Victor Rabinowitz and Leonard Boudin, waged countless legal battles in favour of unions, civil liberties and justice in the United States. With his brilliant defense in 1968 of the Chicago Eight, Lenny kicked off an admirable and permanent career that included the cases of Jane Fonda, Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon documents, Angela Davis, Mumia Abu Jamal, Amy Carter, Kathy Boudin and many others up to the five Cuban antiterrorists and his most recent cooperation with the defense attorneys of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks.

Nobody can write the history of the struggles of the American people without underlining, on each page, the name of Leonard Weinglass.

To him, now and ever, our homage and our gratitude.

The loss of Lenny came as a blow to Gerardo, Ramon, Antonio, Fernando and Rene (the five Cubans imprisoned in US jails since 1998). He was their best and restless defender; he dedicated all his energy and talent to their cause; he fought for them till the end, amidst suffering and agony, until his last breath.

The struggle for the release of our compatriots must continue, now under more difficult conditions without Lenny. Let´s renew our commitment to keep ahead until we achieve their freedom. Let´s do that relentlessly and restlessly. This is least we can promise to a restless fighter, a clear-sighted and sacrificing struggler like our dear comrade Leonard Weinglass always was.