International Tuitazo Leading up to Dec 17: Hashtag #D17CubaVa

Dear Friends of Cuba,

On December 17, 2014, the last three members of the Cuban Five returned home to their country and to their families after 16 long years in American prisons.

Their triumphant, historic homecoming was coupled with the hope that the United States would finally “normalize” relations with Cuba after more than 50 years of hostility, assassination attempts, terrorist attacks and the failed economic blockade of the island.

That hope has not been realized. There have been some significant, overdue developments. The two countries re-opened their respective embassies in 2015, and the U.S. State Department belatedly ended its bogus designation of Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism.” But the 54-year-old U.S. blockade of Cuba not only remains in place but the United States government has also continued to vote against otherwise virtually unanimous United Nations resolutions calling for its end. And the United States continues to refuse to return the Guantanamo Bay naval base to its rightful owners, or halt regime change programs intended to overthrow Cuba’s legitimate government.

So, as the first anniversary of the freeing of the Five approaches, we have reasons both to celebrate the return of the Five and also to redouble our efforts to change American policy to allow Cubans to choose their own economic and political destiny.

That’s why the International Committee is organizing a Tuitazo! A tuitazo (pronounced “Twee-ta-zoe”) is an ongoing series of mass tweets around an event or issue.

We’ll be using the hashtag #D17CubaVa for our tuitazo, which will begin with tweets on December 4 to mark the day Gerardo Hernandez was moved from the maximum security prison at Victorville, California, to a prisoner transfer center in Oklahoma – the first small step in his journey home to Havana. In the days leading up to the release of Gerardo, Ramon and Tony, we’ll send out tweets to mark key moments in the progress of that journey, as well as their arrival in Havana and the national celebrations that followed, and, of course, the miraculous birth of Baby Gema on January 6. Each tweet will link back to more information – text, images, videos – about the event and its context.

But we won’t neglect to highlight other, less celebratory events happening at the same time.

  • On December 16, for example, one day before Antonio, Ramon and Gerardo landed in Havana, the United States Government fined the German Commerzbank $1 billion dollars simply for doing business with Cuba in violation of its blockade.
  • On December 24, one week after their return and the Obama promise of a new era of relations between Washington and Havana, the U.S. State Department announced it would spend another $11 million on regime change programs aimed at Cuba.

What do we ask you to do?

  • Follow us on twitter @thecuban5
  • “Like” and retweet our #D17CubaVa messages
  • Use the hashtag #D17CubaVa to post your own messages on social media
  • Share your memories of December 17 on our Facebook page
  • Share the posted memories of others with your Facebook friends
  • Let everyone know that the struggle didn’t end on December 17; a new one began
  • Demand the return of Guantanamo to Cuba, the shutdown all regime change programs and an end to the US blockade of Cuba