" Springs without gardens,
under clouds of enclosure,
but flying butterflies
in watercolors and in verses"*...
Photos: Bill Hackwell
The butterflies of Antonio Guerrero entered the Eric Quesada Center for Culture and Politics in the middle of the San Francisco Mission, flitting from one corner of the room to the other, and finally they rested in the heart of the large crowd that attended the opening of a new art exhibit of paintings by one of the Cuban 5 unfairly imprisoned in U.S. prisons.
People of all ages, many of them Latino, showed their astonishment when they heard for the first time the injustice committed against the Five and their families. Men who came to this country armed only with great courage and love in defense of their people against terrorist attacks.
The 25 indigenous butterflies of Cuba exposed, once again, the humanity of the poet and artist Antonio Guerrero who like his four brothers, never harmed anybody and continue creating art under the most adverse conditions.
In his message to the audience among other things Antonio said "... Your support gives us enormous strength and brotherhood after 15 years of our unjust imprisonment. In return we send you our infinite love and thanks. The beauty of art is it frees the mind. But, more than anything, a man is free when, like a butterfly, he spreads world peace and goodness through thinking and action."
Chelis Lopez, who is a host of the program Linea Abierta from Radio Bilingüe and the Pajaro Latinoamericano from KPOO radio station, was the Master of Ceremony. Alicia Jrapko, of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, explained the case to the perplexity of a group of young people who had never heard about the unfair sentences rendered on the Five. In addition, the renowned filmmaker Saul Landau, author of the documentary "Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up" transported the audience to the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, explaining the failure of the U.S. policy towards Cuba and urging those present to call their congressmen and to join the fight for the freedom of the Five.
The activity was rewarded with the presence of Alejandro Murguía, San Francisco's poet laureate and Professor at San Francisco State University. In addition to sharing some of his poems, he read to the audience a poem sent by Antonio entitled Simple Freedom. This is the first time that Murguia has participated in an event in support of the Five. He expressed interest in knowing more details about the case and to continue to support the cause.
The warm night of solidarity was punctuated by the music of the talented young Chilean singer Maria Loreto who delighted the audience with her songs.
A number of activists and friends of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 worked together in the organizing of this cultural event. Through the art of Antonio, the evening event achieved its objective of bringing the case of the Five to a new audience and to raise funds for the second "5 days for the Cuban 5" in Washington DC which will take place from May 30 to June 5.
Preceding this cultural event, the case of the Cuban 5 and the opening of the Mariposas of Cuba reached a much wider audience through KPOO and La Grande 1010 from San Francisco, Radio Bilingue from Oakland and KPFA from Berkeley, which broadcast programs about the case. Also, El Tecolote - a community newspaper of San Francisco--published an article on the nature of the exhibit.
* Excerpt from the poem "The butterfly that I paint" of Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez