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Friday, September 22, 2006


Where in the world is Left I on the News?

Your intrepid reporter/commentator/activist here, checking in from my temporary home base in Washington, D.C., where I'm working around the clock, along with many others, on tomorrow's march demanding freedom for the Cuban Five and the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles, and events surrounding the march, most notably an amazing press conference that was held yesterday. I haven't seen television or read a newspaper in several days, even missing the otherwise Left I on the News-worthy speech of Hugo Chavez, but I've been plenty busy. If you visit the website of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, you'll see plenty evidence of that - numerous updates in the last few days, and more to come. I do that all the time when I'm home, but for the last few days it's been a full-time job.

Yesterday was an amazing day. I started out helping Francisco Letelier find the Reuters office where he was taping a segment for Democracy Now!

Francisco, as you may realize from his name, is the son of Orlando Letelier, who, along with his assistant Ronnie Moffitt, was assassinated on the streets of Washington, D.C. in a brutal car bombing 30 years ago to the day, in the first act of international terrorism on U.S. soil. An act which to this day not only goes unpunished, but one of whose perpetrators, Guillermo Novo, was given a hero's welcome when he arrived in Miami two years ago. Another of the perpetrators, Luis Posada Carriles, had to sneak in last year, but is now on the verge of being released from immigration custody. The U.S. still refuses to extradite him to Venezuela where he is wanted for another act of terrorism, the 1976 mid-air bombing of Cubana Airles Flight 455 and the murder of all 73 people on board.

After the Democracy Now! taping was finished, we hurried to the National Press Club a few blocks away where the morning's press conference was about to start.

I don't have time to write up a full report of the press conference here, because I'm working on getting audio and transcripts up on the web, just taking a short break to write this post. Suffice it to say that the collection of speakers assembled there, the personal experiences they brought to bear, and the knowledge and emotion with which they spoke, produced one of the most powerful hours I have ever spent. Two of the speakers, Letelier and Livio Di Celmo, were personal victims of U.S. state-sponsored, anti-Cuban terrorism (Di Celmo's brother was killed in a Havana hotel bombing, also organized by Posada). Another of the speakers, Jose Pertierra, is the attorney for the Venezuelan government pressing their case for the extradition of Posada. Still others were long-time activists in the area. Anyway, it was an experience that moved everyone present. And, as it turned out, it produced several newpaper articles as an added benefit.

Now it's on to Saturday's march! Back to work.

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