Mexican Activists Call for US to End Blockade Against Cuba

The solidarity group denounced Trump’s move to reverse a diplomatic opening between the two countries.

The Mexican Solidarity Movement with Cuba demanded the United States lift the blockade against socialist government Saturday, marching to the U.S. embassy in Mexico City.

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MMSC denounced U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to reverse a diplomatic opening between the two countries. The group’s leader Jesus Escamilla stated that Mexicans reject the U.S. blockade and demand Trump lift it and move to normalize relations with the Caribbean island.

Members of the movement also pushed for the U.S. government to return Guantanamo Bay to Cuba, which has been occupied without the consent of the Cuban people since before the Cuban Revolution of 1959.

The U.S.’s attempts to tighten the economic, financial and commercial blockade against Cuba and its people is "a failed policy by more than a dozen U.S. administrations," Escamilla explained.

In a speech in Miami on June 16, Trump announced his cancellation of former president Barack Obama’s "completely one-sided deal with Cuba."

He added that U.S. sanctions would not be lifted until Cuba frees “political prisoners” and holds “free elections.”
Under the changes, Washington will tighten rules on individual U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba, who, if visiting the country for non-academic educational purposes, will again be required to only go with organized tour groups run by U.S. companies.

The new policy also bans most U.S. business deals with the military-runned Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group while still allowing airlines and cruise ships to continue services.

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'Pastors for Peace' Solidarity Caravan Arrives in Cuba from US

"Pastors for Peace has always embraced the commitment of Cuban leaders to put the welfare of their people first," Gail Walker, the director of the organization said.

The 48th contingent of the United States-Cuba Friendship Caravan, organized by Pastors for Peace, arrived in Havana yesterday to deliver a symbolic donation of important drugs and medical supplies, as well as demand the end of the “economic, political, and cultural embargo.”

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The group traveled through 50 cities in the United States to do solidarity work and speak on the realities of the ongoing embargo, promoting the normalization of relations between the two countries.

The most recent caravan has traveled in the context of a renewed wave of U.S. aggression toward Cuba, as the new administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has rolled back several gains made in recent years toward normalization, and has heightened anti-Cuba rhetoric.

On Friday the visiting group, mostly from the United States, is paying tribute in Havana to the founder of Pastors for Peace, Reverend Lucius Walker. Reverend Walker, who died in 2010 is considered by many in both Cuba and in the United States to be a tireless fighter in defense of Cuba's revolution and against U.S. aggression.

His daughter, Gail Walker, is currently the director of the organization, and carries forward its original vision.

“Inside the United States, a campaign still persists whose purpose is to undermine Cuba and its revolutionary principles. Pastors for Peace has always embraced the commitment of Cuban leaders to put the welfare of their people first. That’s why we continue … calling upon the U. S. government to end its efforts towards regime change," she said in an interview with Cuba Debate.

Walker founded the organization as a project of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, and was inspired by what he saw as anti-imperialist struggles in Latin America. The project focused on solidarity efforts with Cuba beginning in 1992, sending regular caravans to the Island.

They have consistently defied the travel ban on U.S. citizens to perform their work.

When Walker died, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, Granma, ran an announcement declaring “we do not want to think of a world without Lucius Walker.”

His final resting place is in Havana, and he is honored by a plaque at the Jose Marti Anti-Imperialist Tribune across from the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

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South African Communists Award Cuban Doctors’ Internationalism

The brigade has been recognized often and has even earned a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.

Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Contingent of Doctors Specializing in Disasters and Serious Epidemics are being recognized once again: this time they have been honored by the South African Communist Party, SACP.

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The award was presented by Blade Nzimande, the Secretary General of the party, to Jorge Cuevas, a member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, at the 14th SACP Congress in Johannesburg.

Cuevas said “In the name of the people of Cuba, we express our deep gratitude for this Special Recognition to Cuban doctors, particularly in the fight against Ebola in West Africa,” and added that the prize signifies a greater commitment by the Cuban people to global unity.

“Today we can say that Cuba's commitment to international solidarity is a fundamental part of the principles that have kept our Revolution and our socialism alive,” he continued.

“I am also convinced that the person who deserves this award is the principal doctor of the whole Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro,” he concluded.

The Henry Reeve Brigade was first created by the late revolutionary leader on Sept. 19, 2005.

Its first missions were in Guatemala and Pakistan, countries that faced the consequences of a devastating hurricane and earthquake, respectively.

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In May, the group was given the Dr. Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize for Public Health from the World Health Organization, recognized particularly for its work in combatting the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where Cuba sent more than 250 workers when the crisis peaked in 2015.

For their work in the west African nations, the medics were also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.

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El Salvador Prepares Central American Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba

The 2nd Central American Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba will be held from July 27th to 29th in El Salvador to discuss regional actions to support Cuba and the Revolution.

The event will be seized also to share, with the example of Cuba as a starting point, the different opinions about the management of the current challenges in Latin America, particularly the media, political and judicial offensive staged against progressive governments.

'Cuba has been an example that encourages people because it has been able to withstand for so many years and has taught us that problems may be overcome with dignity and unity,' said Angel Claudio, from the Salvadoran Movement of Solidarity with Cuba.

The program includes a march from the central park Simon Bolivar until the plaza Jose Marti to pay tribute to the attack against the Moncada Barracks on July 26th, 1953, an action that is considered the driving force behind the Cuban Revolution.

The meeting, the main sessions of which will be held at the Research Center in El Salvador, will conclude with a resolution on the integration of the Central American countries to join actions of solidarity with Cuba.

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Cuba Thanks Global Solidarity in New York after Fidel's Death

Cuban ambassador, Ana Silvia Rodriguez, has thanked today the examples of sorrow, admiration and solidarity received from the five continents at the island''s Permanent Mission to the UN on the death of Fidel Castro.

The interim charge d'affaires told Prensa Latina that representatives of more than 140 UN members, senior officials of the organization and hundreds of activists of solidarity with Cuba and New York residents has gone to the embassy to pay tribute to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution.

The mission opened between Monday, November 28th, and Sunday, December 4th, several books of condolences for the death of Fidel, on November 25 at the age of 90, records reflecting the affection and recognition of Fidel's legacy and his example for the struggles for the just causes.

Rodriguez recalled some moments of great emotion experienced in recent days, during which the messages of encouragement, the exaltation of the life and work of the revolutionary leader, the tears for his death and the commitment to follow his path in defense of the peace, justice and equity, were analyzed.

Hundreds of New York citizens from several sectors gathered for some hours in front of the diplomatic headquarters in Manhattan, where the slogans 'We are all Fidel', banners, photos of the leader and the long line to sign the books of condolences , changed a stretch of Lexington Avenue, accustomed to the constant coming and going of pedestrians and the huge car traffic.

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon; UN Secretary-General-designate as of January 1st, 2017, Antonio Guterres; and General Assembly President, Peter Thomson, as well as heads of agencies of the organization, attended the mission, the ambassador said.

She also acknowledged the work during the last week of the Cuban staff accredited here, in order to guarantee the favorable scenario for the tributes to Fidel Castro.

According to Rodriguez, the signature by the members of the Cuban mission to the United Nations of being faithful followers of the Concept of Revolution, expressed by the leader on May 1st, 2000, was another moment of great significance and symbolism.

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Cuba Insists On End To Blockade

The Cuban Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Pedro Luis Gonzalez, has called for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States.

He said in spite of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA, there remained several obstacles that prohibited free trade between Cuba and other countries of the world.

Addressing a press conference at the Cuban Embassy in Accra, Ambassador Gonzalez disclosed that the government of Cuba will table another draft resolution at the United Nations general assembly on 26 October,2016, calling for an end to the fifty-four-year-old blockade that has wrecked the Cuban economy and brought untold hardship to the Cuban people.

According to him, seven hundred and fifty-three billion, six hundred and eighty-eight million dollars ($753,688,000,000) has been lost in trade since the imposition of the trade blockade on Cuba, by the Kennedy administration on February 3, 1962. He added that between March 2015 and March 2016 another four billion, six hundred and eight million and three hundred thousand dollars ($4,608,300,000) has been lost due to the application of the sanctions.

He said in spite of the admission by the US government that its traditional policy of hostility towards Cuba had failed, and irrespective of the repeated calls on the US Congress by President Barack Obama to lift the blockade, Cuba was still treated as an enemy and there were several laws applied rigorously by US government agencies that hindered greater corporation between the two countries.

“There can be no justification for the embargo imposed on Cuba, especially as we on our part have taken every step to normalize relations with the United States. We recognize that the United States is a big country with a big economy, but we demand mutual respect from them no matter how small Cuba is.”

He described it as most unfortunate that although the United States has expunged Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, his country is still considered as an enemy of the USA, an act he considered contradictory to the very laws of the USA.

“We (Cuba) should never have been placed on a list as state sponsors of terrorism because Cuba has never committed any act of terrorism. We rather stood in solidarity with the dispossessed and offered humanitarian assistance to the marginalized people of the world.

“When other peoples of the world came to Cuba we trained them as doctors, engineers and teachers in order to create a world devoid of disease and illiteracy and to build a world fashioned on the foundations of social justice for all and it must not be forgotten that in the course of our internationalist duty, we lost many Cuban patriots who fought in solidarity to liberate Africans and other suffering people around the world from the yoke of imperialism” he said.

Ambassador Gonzalez noted that his country took a great risk when it decided to normalize relations with the United States with the awareness that the two countries practiced very different political and economic systems.

He expressed appreciation to the President and the people of Ghana for their condemnation of the inhumane economic embargo imposed on Cuba, adding that Ghana is one of the countries that have consistently supported the course of the Cuban people.

Over the past years, Cuba has sent 24 draft resolutions to the United Nations demanding the immediate lifting of the trade embargo imposed on Cuba following the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959 by progressive forces led by Commandante Fidel Castro.

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Cuban artists offer hope to victims of Matthew

During Cuban Culture week, art companies and organizations including the experienced and award winning Guantanamo Guiñol and members of the Hermano Saiz Association will take their talents to the areas affected by Hurricane Matthew aimed at offering hope and support to the people.

The Provincial Culture Office promotes this solidarity art brigade called Juan Marinello appreciated by the people of Baracoa, Maisi, San Antonio del Sur and Imias and which will also include the traditional musical groups Celso and its Changui.

Another that will lighten up the lives of the people is the Rios Theater that has a lot of experience of community work and is very much loved in that areas for its work early each year of the Guantanamo-Baracoa Theater Crusade.

They along with writers, trovador artists among others in the province they will share their experiences with those affected by the hurricane and will also join in the recovery efforts in the territories hardest hit by Matthew.

Eldys Baratute, Provincial President of the Hermanos Saiz Association, pointed out that they are proud of participating in the Cuban Culture week.

“We will be happy to take our spirituality to the affected population and support the reconstruction of their communities, he said, with the same solidarity conviction that made Carlos Manuel de Cespedes rang the bell at his Demajagua Farm freeing his slaves and fighting for the independence of Cuba from Spanish colonialism.”

The Martha Machado Art Brigade directed by Cuban artist Alexis Leyva (Kcho) also arrived to Baracoa this past weekend to join the activities while the Montana Artistic Comprehensive Group will soon arrive to the town of Imias and Cajobabo.

Heading the last group is the Work Youth Army headed by Major Ruben Nicolas Macias, assures they will arrive with different manifestations to other affected areas of the municipalities with the main mission of cheering the souls of each one affected by the hurricane and work in collecting rubble and repairing homes.

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Solidarity Help from Venezuela Arrives in Santiago de Cuba

The resources sent are mostly of construction material to be used to repair the infrastructure severly damagged by Hurricane Matthew in eastern Cuba

Venezuela sent 327 tons of aid for the victims of the Hurricane Matthew that battered eastern Cuba last week, according to the Minister of Housing and Habitat of the South American nation, Manuel Quevedo.

According to Prensa Latina, the official said the aid, which arrived by ship to Santiago de Cuba, consists of construction material to be used to repair the infrastructure destroyed by the powerful storm.

He added those resources are part of the Venezuelan government stock for the housing missions and are shared with Cuba in solidarity. Besides, they are sending 600 electric transformers and other machinery.

The Cuban ambassador to Venezuela Rogelio Polanco thanked the governemnt for the gesture that comes after Matthew, a category four hurricane, battered the easternmost part of  Cuba
with maximum sustained winds of 220 kilometers per hour.

Polanco said that in some of the towns affected, close to 90 percent of the houses and building were damaged and that thousands of workers from all over the country work now to help repair them.

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