Cuba vs. Helms-Burton Act: Against my future, we do not understand each other

Young Cuban teenagers, artistic education students and professors of the dance specialty, explain with their words what the application of the U. S. Helms-Burton Act against the island would mean in their training and future as artists.

In order to be able to study in an art school, mainly in the capitalist world, lessons have a very high cost. And then here in Cuba, it’s completely different, lessons are for free here, says Zujayla Fernández, a young dance professor of the National School of Art. Like her, other students were leaving their views:

gabriela dance studentGabriela Pérez (student): I always envisaged that I would work, because I want to be a dancer, I’m going to achieve it, I’m going to enter my art school, I’m going to train myself as a professional.

Zujayla: Here in Cuba, what is demanded from them is not a salary that their parents can afford, but the technical requirement they may have in school.

sixela dance studentSixela de la Caridad (student): If it weren’t for free, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be sitting here, taking ballet, technique and folklore lessons, which is what motivates me and what I like for my future.

Gabriela: My family wouldn’t have how to afford this (the school). And I couldn’t fulfill my dream of being a dancer.

zujayla dance teacher
Zujayla: The truth is that education would never be private, because it would be like an oppression to talent.

Sixela: It (privatization) would reduce the massification of the students for dance training.

hector dance student
Héctor Alejandro Ramírez (student): I believe that Cuba, the Cuban government, and all the authorities will not allow that the Helms-Burton Act becomes effective, because I think it is a genocidal law that has no future, that has no basis and that has no consistency because this Revolution is Cuban for over 60 years.

Sixela: We may jeopardize the future of the cultural level of our Revolution, everything we have cultivated in our dance, such as identity, Cubanness, idiosyncrasy, thanks to this school, which is a revolutionary achievement.

‘Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba’ in Carbondale June 17

The 30th Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) and Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba is visiting Carbondale on Monday, June 17th.

The Caravan will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship on 105 North Parrish Lane. Latin music will be playing and a Cuban dinner will be served at 6 p.m. with an update on Cuba by Fr. Luis Barrios, Ph.D., professor of Psychology, Criminal Justice, Latin American and Ethnic Studies from John Jay College.

He serves as president of the board of the IFCO, which is the parent organization of Pastors for Peace.

Barrios want to bring awareness to the recent US Government measures to tighten the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed on Cuba for nearly 60 years.

Enforcement of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act will allow US courts to process lawsuits against Cuban and foreign companies, even though they are outside US jurisdiction. This act will knock the U.S. and Cuba relationship backwards.

The event is free and open to the public; donations for the Pastors for Peace are accepted.

The event is sponsored by the Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois, the Social Action Committee of the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, and the Church of the Good Shepherd UCC.

  • Published in Cuba

We Cubans do not give up

On April 17, 1961, Cuba was invaded by a brigade of Cuban-born counterrevolutionaries, organized, trained and equipped by the CIA and the Pentagon. The day before, aircrafts bombed the tiny revolutionary aviation on the ground without achieving their goal. The invaders were defeated and arrested, mostly, in less than 72 hours of constant and bloody combats, including heroic air actions of the pilots of the revolutionary air force. Hundreds of thousands of Cuban men and women, full of patriotic and political awareness, took up arms and, as Fidel once said, we could have simultaneously defeated several landings like that. In April 1961 we were already much better human beings thanks to the revolutionary practice and reading, linked to the exceptional teaching of Fidel’s speeches.

The White House chose the anniversary of its failed invasion of the island so its mediocre Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and criminal National Security Adviser John Bolton announce new sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. They do not want to leave a single independent government standing in our America. Pompeo informed that as Helms-Burton Act (HBA) Title III establishes, Americans are allowed to file lawsuits at courts of their country to claim compensation for their properties confiscated in Cuba. In an act of supreme illegality within a really colonialist legislation like the Helms-Burton Act, contrary in all its content to the international law, Cubans who did not have US citizenship at the time of the nationalizations are authorized to sue too.

From Clinton to Obama, every six months the acting president waived activation of the lawsuits. It was not gratuitous. It was due to a protest of the governments of the European Union and Canada for the harm that those claims could cause to their companies on the island. Apparently Trump has decided to ignore that deal. It is already usual that he kicks Europeans out and does not care about them, except to demand from them bigger contributions to NATO, or accept Washington’s actions that harm them. But there’s despair to frighten off foreign capital from Cuba behind what would seem another diplomatic swindle of the United States. Nothing new, because the blockade has been based on that logic for six decades: to attack incomes so Cubans rebel against the government.

Individuals and companies from U.S. could have reached compensation agreements with Cuban authorities but Washington refused to talk. It was already preparing the invasion of Cuba and figured out that a stooge government in a few months would again be installed on the island that would return their properties back. Since then, there have been 58 years of constant and failed attempts to put an end to the Revolution with different tactics, from terrorism to the ever hardened blockade. The best evidence that the compensation could have been viable lies on the satisfactory agreements reached by the island’s government with companies and citizens from Spain, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom, which received their compensation years ago.

Bolton chose Miami to make his announcement, protected by veterans of the great defeat at Playa Girón and of decades of terrorist actions against Cuba. The defeatist vocation of the American imperialism’s Cuba policy is strange. By the way, if Bolton managed to count on that beaten audience it was thanks to Havana, because after capturing the invaders of their homeland, it respected their physical and psychological integrity and also facilitated an agreement with Washington that allowed their quick comeback to Miami in exchange for several tons of food and medicines.

Bolton "was pleased to announce" they would reinforce the application of the Helms-Burton Act Title IV. That is, many fewer Americans will get visas to travel to Cuba. Also, that Cuban Americans, who had no limits in the amount of remittances to their relatives on the island since the Obama administration, now can only send $1,000 per quarter. Strangely, this measure greatly hits the emerging private sector on the island, although it is frantically carried out hoisting antisocialist banners.

As a whole, between these measures and the previous ones adopted by Trump, Cuba will be deprived of billions of dollars in revenues, vital for the importation of food, raw materials and medications. They take these steps at the same time that the so-called Lima Group miserably slanders Havana for its fraternal solidarity with Venezuela.

Faced with these criminal actions of Washington, the response from Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel was fast: “Nobody is going to take away from us, neither by allurement nor by force, the Homeland that our forefathers won us standing. The attitude towards those holding the sword against us will not change. We Cubans do not give up…

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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