US Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
Actor and activist, Danny Glover and Edward Asner, co-chairs of “US Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5″ made a call to their colleagues in the United States inviting them to add their name to a letter to President Obama encouraging him to issue an Executive Clemency order on behalf of the Cuban 5. A significant number of well-known actors and artist who responded to the call include Susan Sarandon, Oliver Stone, Martin Sheen, Pete Seeger, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, Chrissie Hynde, Haskell Wexler, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, and others
Danny Glover recently visited Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban Five, at the United States Penitentiary in Victorville, California. Gerardo had just been released from 13 days in “the hole” without being given any reason. Glover came out of that visit with a strong commitment to get other actors and artists to join him in the effort to get the five released [See: YouTube video of Danny Glover speaking on the Cuban 5)
“President Obama should pardon Gerardo Hernandez and the other members of the Cuban 5. They were front line soldiers in the fight against terrorism. But instead of using the information they gathered to arrest people carrying out bombings of civilians, the FBI arrested these five men. The bombers such as Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch on the other hand, walk the streets of Miami and hold fund raising dinners there.” Danny Glover, Co-Chair.
Co-Chair, Edward Asner recently reading at the opening of “From My Altitude”, artwork and poetry by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5, said, ”Railroading of people of color is an American industry. The Cuban 5 are no exception.”
In the letter to President Obama sent on the 12th anniversary of the arrests of the Cuban 5, the actors and artists stated, “We are dismayed that the Cuban 5, who have committed no crime against the United States nor posed any threat to this country’s national security, have now been imprisoned for 12 years. The Five monitored the activities of violent groups of Cuban exiles in Miami, activities that had already resulted in the deaths of thousands of Cuban nationals. They sought simply to protect their country from further acts of terrorism.”
Due to the media silence surrounding the case for the last 12 years, people from around the world and in the United States have been working hard to reach out to more diverse communities including elected officials, religious figures, trade unionists, students, teachers, and others. This is the first time that a number of well-known US celebrities have come together in support of the Five. As with any other community, when people learn about this injustice they are in disbelief and want to do something about it. Due to the great response this campaign will be extended to invite other actors and artists to join in the struggle to free the Cuban 5.
List of US Actors and Artists who signed on to the letter to President Obama:
Edward Asner, legendary actor in long running TV series The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the star of Hugh Grant and voice of a curmudgeonly widower in the Academy Award winning animation film Up.
Jackson Browne, progressive singer songwriter and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame whose most recent recording includes a song against the US blockade of Cuba.
Ry Cooder, multi-Grammy Award winning guitarist and composer whose music raises social issues. His production of Buena Vista Social Club propelled a group of Cuban musicians to international fame in resurrecting the traditions.
James Cromwell, film and TV actor, known for his role in the film Babe, LA Confidential and the HBO series Six Feet Under.
Mike Farrell, Progressive activist and actor who is best known for his role in the long running television series M*A*S*H.
Bruria Finkel, well known California artist, curator and community activist.
Richard Foos, founder of Rhino Records and supporter of social causes.
Danny Glover, beloved American actor and director best known for his riveting performance in The Color Purple and the Lethal Weapon series; strong supporter of humanitarian and progressive causes.
Elliott Gould, well known American actor who has starred in dozens of films including M*A*S*H and Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen.
Chrissie Hynde, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is best known for her music with the group The Pretenders.
Greg Landau, music, video producer and three time Grammy Award nominee.
Francisco Letelier, internationally known muralist, poet and installation artist whose father Orlando was assassinated in Washington, D.C. in 1976.
Esai Morales, is a popular movie and TV actor known best for his role in the biopic film La Bamba.
Graham Nash, British born singer song writer and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; his distinguished vocals are best known for his work with the multi-Grammy Award winning rock folk band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Bonnie Raitt, multi-Grammy Award winner, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, revered singer songwriter is an institution in American music along with a life of commitment to social change.
Susan Sarandon, best known for her landmark acting performances in the iconic film Thelma and Louise and Academy Award winning role as a nun in Dead Man Walking.
Pete Seeger, tireless American folk music legend and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is known for his decades of protest music in support of nuclear disarmament, environmental causes and civil rights.
Martin Sheen, well known social justice activist and actor who starred in Apocalypse Now and the TV drama The West Wing.
Betty Sheinbaum, well known sculptor, painter and philanthropist whose work spans four decades.
Stanley K. Sheinbaum, long time supporter of the arts and progressive causes.
Andy Spahn, served as the Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications for Dream Works SKG from 1994 to 2006, and he is now the President of Andy Spahn & Associate, Inc., an entertainment industry based consulting firm in Los Angeles
Oliver Stone, legendary and prolific filmmaker, Academy Award winning director of Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July and recent work includes South of the Border and Wall Street 2.
Haskell Wexler, one of the most influential cinematographers in movie history, recipient of two Oscars for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Bound for Glory. His prolific career includes producing over 40 documentary films dealing with the issues of peace, justice and human rights.