Cubasí, December 15, 2018. The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) on Friday bestowed the Friendship Medal to Bill Ryan, an active Canadian member of the Solidarity Committee for the Liberation of the Cuban Five.

The awarding ceremony was held at the ICAP headquarters and honored the participation and support extended by Ryan during the freedom campaign for the five Cuban anti-terrorists who were unjustly held in US prisons.

Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Fernando Gonzalez were arrested in 1998 for monitoring counterrevolutionary groups that were planning actions against Cuba, and were convicted in a rigged trial marked by irregularities, according to repeated denunciations.

Ryan highlighted that he had the opportunity to hear the two versions, from the US and Cuba, about the arrests of the Five, as they were known internationally, and was successful in choosing the Cuban version. They  were unjustly detained for the only crime of fighting terrorism from the US with impunity against Cuba over decades,' he said.

Gerardo Hernandez noted that Ryan wrote and ratified several of the pages of friendship between Canada and Cuba. Besides a great man, there is always a great woman and she is Bill's wife, Nora, who participated with him actively in all the actions for Cuba, said Hernandez, who is also a member of the People's Power National Assembly.

'Ryan made the bats that most of Cuban baseball players, especially the players of the capital's team Industriales, are currently using, he added. In this regard, he stressed that the quality of the bats are amulets for the athletes and are made with maple, a high-quality timber from from Canada's national tree.

Likewise, Hernandez recalled that these bats were handed out as trophies to the historic leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, and to Bolivian President Evo Morales as a sign of friendship between nations. Over 1,500 bats have been already made with the timber acquired by Bill Ryan, which have been improved to become the 'Cubacan' bats in honour to the acronym of the countries' names.