Funds for Cuban Five Advertisement Frozen
Sponsoring Organizations Hold Teleconference to Address the U.S. Bank's Actions

February 24, 2004 -- Today, the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five announced a teleconference to discuss funds designated for a full-page ad in the New York Times that have been frozen by a bank in the United States. Less than two weeks before the educational ad addressing the plight of the Cuban Five was slated to run, the sponsoring organizations discovered that over $7000 of their international funding from two contributing Spanish and French organizations was being held in transfer. According to bank authorities, the monies are being withheld, pending investigation, in compliance with restrictions placed on monetary transactions by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, simply because the word “Cuba” appears in the name of the recipient organization.

Members of The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, which is coordinating placement of the ad, and the International Peace for Cuba Appeal, which is receiving donations to sponsor the ad, will hold a teleconference tomorrow, Wednesday February 25, at 11:00 a.m. EST to discuss the situation.  

The ad, which will appear in the New York Times in coming weeks, calls attention to the five Cubans who were arrested, tried, and convicted by the United States government while trying to stop ultra-right, Miami-based terrorist groups from carrying out violent actions against the people of Cuba. The Five have been in prison since their conviction in the summer of 2001. Oral arguments in an appeal for a new trial are scheduled to be heard on March 10, 2004.

On the call Wednesday will be:

   Gloria La Riva, coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five  

   Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice  

   Ian Thompson, member of AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, representing the International Peace for Cuba Appeal in this matter

The call is scheduled for:  

   11:00 a.m. EST, Wednesday, February 25, 2004

To join, members of the press should call:

   United States participants: 1-800-640-5128
   International participants: 1-847-413-3310

Conference title/host: National Committee to Free the Cuban Five/Gloria La Riva

Questions will be taken during the call. Members of the press who are unable to join the call Wednesday may dial in to hear a recording of the call starting at 1:00 p.m. EST on February 25 through midnight on February 27. To hear the recording, dial 1-888-843-8996 and enter 8497549, followed by the pound (#) symbol.

The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five was founded in July 2001, following the unjust June 8 conviction of the five Cuban political prisoners. The main objective of the organization is to publicize the case through education, media, forums and protests. There are now over 25 chapters in the United States, and over 210 committees around the world. More information is available on the website at .

National Committee to Free the Cuban Five


Contact: Delacey Skinner, 212-633-6646, ext. 33 or Gloria La Riva, 415-312-6042


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