People’s Choice Award

The People’s Choice Award is selected by the public, people around the world who nominate and vote to honor those who work and sacrifice for a better and more just world.

Check back in early 2015 for dates and rules for the 2015 People’s Choice contest.

We are proud to announce the Cuban Five as the 2014 People’s Choice Award Winners!

The Global Exchange People’s Choice Award marks the first time the Cuban Five have received recognition in the U.S., and the first time a family member (María Eugenia Guerrero Rodriguez, the sister of Antonio Guerrero) of the Cuban 5 has spoken publicly in the U.S. on their behalf. View here.

All of the Five wrote letters to Global Exchange, expressing appreciation for the Award and awareness raising of their cases. Read letters from the Five here.

Their story:

In 1998, five Cuban intelligence agents were arrested. These five men were sent from Cuba to investigate and report on right-wing groups in Miami planning attacks against the Castro government and the Cuban people. Their presence in the U.S. was in response to several attacks in Cuba for which these U.S.-based groups claimed responsibility, including bomb attacks at many popular tourist hotels and restaurants in Havana.

Many aspects of the trial of the Cuban Five have been criticized, including the fact that it was held in Miami. Once convicted, the five men received lengthy sentences, and have been kept in isolation for extended periods of time during their time in jail.

Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero – three of the Cuban Five – remain in prison in the United States, and René González and Fernando Gonzales have recently been released, after serving the entirety of their sentences.

Past People’s Choice Award Winners

Past winners of this award include Mo Sochu of Cambodia, Javier Sicilia of Mexico, Chelsea Manning, and Wikileaks.They all broke the silence of indifference in the face of cruel injustices. Mo Sochu speaking for trafficked children, Javier Sicilia crying out to stop the bloodshed in Mexico, and young Private Manning leaking digital information, no longer able to stomach the endless lies and brutality it takes to run an empire. Learn more about them here.

Selection of the People’s Choice Honoree was  based on the following evaluation criteria:

  • The number of votes from the public each candidate receives
  • Evidence of contribution to human rights struggles
  • Demonstration that the People’s Choice Award honor will strengthen and advance the candidate’s efforts and work