COMMUNITY VOICES| Cuban Five art exhibit highlights U.S. prison conditions

The Minnesota Cuba Committee and Regla De Oro are sponsoring a month-long exhibit of the paintings of Antonio Guerrero, one of five Cuban revolutionaries locked up in U.S. prisons on trumped-up charges. The opening reception will take place on February 7, from 6-8 PM, at Regla De Oro in Minneapolis.The art show, “I will die the way I lived,” features 15 watercolor paintings by Guerrero, who learned to paint and draw from fellow inmates. The exhibit was successfully shown last year by Obsidian Arts and the Minnesota Cuba Committee during the month of September at the Pillsbury House in south Minneapolis. September 12 marked the 15th years of their arrest and imprisonment.“After finishing the painting number 15, I made the decision to stop in this number, because it coincides with the number of years that soon will mark our captivity,” writes Guerrero in his introductory note to the exhibit. The watercolors give a sense of the routine harassment faced from prison guards and officials, the lack of privacy, the arbitrary searches of cells, the shackling of prisoners every time they are taken to court, the brutality of solitary confinement.At the same time, the paintings show the resilience and creativity of the Cuban Five during their first 17 months of imprisonment awaiting trial in Miami, Fl., including six months of solitary confinement.Guerrero, along with four other Cubans—Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González—were convicted on frame-up charges, including “conspiracy to commit espionage” and, in the case of Hernández, “conspiracy to commit murder,” and received long prison sentences. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Cuban Five Art Exhibit opens September 12

The Minnesota Cuba Committee and Obsidian Arts are sponsoring a month-long exhibit of the paintings of Antonio Guerrero, one of five Cuban revolutionaries locked up in U.S. prisons on trumped-up charges. The opening reception will take place on September 12, from 6-8 PM, at the Pillsbury House in South Minneapolis.The art show, “I will die the way I lived,” features 15 watercolor paintings by Guerrero, who learned to paint and draw from fellow inmates. “After finishing the painting number 15, I made the decision to stop in this number, because it coincides with the number of years that soon will mark our captivity,” writes Guerrero in his introductory note to the exhibit. Most of their time has been in maximum-security prisons, including many months in solitary confinement.Also at the Pillsbury House, “The Cuban Wives,” an award-winning documentary about the families of the Cuban Five will be shown on September 19 at 7 PM.Guerrero, along with four other Cubans—Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González—were convicted on frame-up charges, including “conspiracy to commit espionage” and, in the case of Hernández, “conspiracy to commit murder,” and received long prison sentences. René Gonzalez was released in 2011 after serving more than 13 years in prison.Known internationally as the Cuban Five, these revolutionaries were arrested in September 1998 in Miami by the FBI. Continue Reading