US-Cuba Labor Solidarity – Building Relations with Cuban Labor

Fact Sheet on US-Cuba Relations

A Resolution Calling Upon the United States Government to Normalize Diplomatic and Economic Relations with Cuba

Passing Resolutions in Labor Organizations

About Cuban Trade Unions

Calendar – Actions to #unblockCuba leading to 30th Annual UNGA vote Nov 2/3

Posted by on Oct 22, 2022 in Latest News | Comments Off on Calendar – Actions to #unblockCuba leading to 30th Annual UNGA vote Nov 2/3

Listing as of 10/27, for updates go to UNVote4Cuba.org. Click on the City below to access more information.

Monday, October 24
New Paltz, NY – Public Discussion – Elting Memorial Library

Wednesday, October 26
Hartford, CT – 4:30 – 6:30 pm – 90 State House Square

Friday, October 28
New York City – Harlem, 7pm Puerto Rico Solidarity Event

New York City – Brooklyn – Make A Poster Rally

Portland, Maine – corner of Congress and High Streets from 5 PM to 5:30 PM.

Saturday, October 29
New York City – 12 noon Times Square – Cuba Rally & March

Los Angeles – 11am Westwood Federal Building

Minneapolis – 1pm – Chicago Ave & Lake Street, Minneapolis

Duluth, MN – 1 to 2 pm Lake Superior Plaza

Portland, OR – 12 noon PSU park blocks Rally/March

Brunswick, Maine – 12 noon at the Green, on Maine Street

Sunday, October 30
Jacksonville, Fla – Caravan, 1pm, 1100 block Edgewood Ave. S

Laurel, Md – Gorman Bridge Rd over I-95 2 to 4 pm Banner Drop

Milwaukee – 12:30pm Rally/Caravan at 2319 E. Kenwood, Zao MKE Church

Seattle – 11am – 12:30 Capitol Hill, Rally 

Miami – 10:30am Caravan 999 Ponce de Leon Drive 

Somerville, Mass. – 2 pm – 3 pm Monthly Stand Out w/banner | DAVIS SQUARE: College Avenue & Elm St

Amherst, Mass. – 2 pm – 3 pm Monthly Stand Out w/banner | AMHERST TOWN COMMON: Pleasant St. & RT 9

Canada/Quebec events: Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal (see details UNVote4Cuba.org)

Tuesday, November 1

Detroit, Michigan – 6 to 8 pm – Let Cuba Breathe – short videos and conversation

Wednesday, November 2
Chicago – noon – Federal Building 230 S. Dearborn, Cuba Picket Line & Press Conference

Fresno, Calif. – Vigil – 5 pm Federal Bldg. 2500 Tulare

Washington, DC – Rally – 3 pm Lafayette Park

San Francisco – 4:30 pm Federal Bldg, 7th & Mission, march to the U.N. Plaza

24hour Virtual Picket for Cuba – Global Online Action

Friday, November 4

Miami – 7pm Vigil, Antorcha de la Amistad, 301 Biscayne Blvd.

Cuba’s New Families Code

Posted by on Sep 19, 2022 in Latest News | Comments Off on Cuba’s New Families Code

Cuba’s New Families Code

CubaNewFamiliesCodeandCEDAW

Thank you to NNOC member organizations US WOMEN & CUBA Collaboration and WILPF – Cuba & the Bolivarian Alliance Committee for this informational flyer about Cuba’s new Families Code and Cuba’s participation in the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women — which the U.S. has not signed. Click the link above to download a pdf.

July 5 – New Haven says End the Blockade of Cuba

Posted by on Aug 11, 2022 in Latest News | Comments Off on July 5 – New Haven says End the Blockade of Cuba

22July05 New Haven LM-2021-0375

BREAKING NEWS: Boston City Council votes against US Blockade

Posted by on Jul 14, 2022 in Latest News | Comments Off on BREAKING NEWS: Boston City Council votes against US Blockade

BREAKING NEWS: Boston City Council votes against US Blockade

RESOLUTION CALLING FOR AN END TO THE U.S. EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA

Watch the Boston City Council hearing held July 11, 2022
https://www.youtube.com/user/BostonCityCouncil

 

[Action item] Speaker Pelosi, Let Cuba Live!

Posted by on Jun 3, 2022 in Latest News | Comments Off on [Action item] Speaker Pelosi, Let Cuba Live!

Bay Area Cuba Saving Lives has just published, on June 2, 2022, an Open Letter (p.9) in the San Francisco Examiner- Nancy Pelosi, Let Cuba Live! The letter is being published right before the June 7th election where Nancy Pelosi is on the ballot for the primary. It also comes the week before the Summit on the Americas taking place in Los Angeles from which the Biden Administration excluded Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
 
Please take the following steps to amplify the Open Letter’s message and let Speaker Pelosi know that it’s time for the U.S. to change its policy towards Cuba!
  • Email to Nancy Pelosi – Instructions below:
If you are a San Francisco constituent of the 12th Congressional District of California, please use https://pelosi.house.gov/contact-me.
If you are in doubt, you can plug in your zip code: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.
If Nancy Pelosi is not your representative, complete the form at https://www.speaker.gov/contact
Under comments section use the template below or write it in your own words:
I just read the open letter in the June 2nd San Francisco Examiner, “Let Cuba Live!”  I urge you to use your power as a national leader to call on President Biden to reverse all of Trump’s 243 coercive measures against Cuba, move towards normalizing relations with Cuba, and end the illegal embargo!
  • Tweet
@SpeakerPelosi, @TeamPelosi – I just read the open letter in the June 2nd San Francisco Examiner, “Let Cuba Live!” Urge President Biden to reverse Trump’s 243 coercive measures against Cuba, normalize relations with Cuba, and end the illegal embargo! #SpeakerPelosiLetCubaLive!
  • Facebook
Post the Open Letter from the SF Examiner and comment:

@SpeakerPelosi, @TeamPelosi – I just read the open letter in the June 2nd San Francisco Examiner, “Let Cuba Live!” Urge President Biden to reverse Trump’s 243 coercive measures against Cuba, normalize relations with Cuba and end the illegal embargo! #SpeakerPelosiLetCubaLive!

Abortion in Cuba vs US shows which country is truly democratic

Posted by on May 25, 2022 in Latest News | Comments Off on Abortion in Cuba vs US shows which country is truly democratic

In Cuba, abortion and all healthcare is free, and enshrined in a constitution democratically voted on by the people. In the US, nine unelected, life-long judges control society based on a 1787 constitution written by slaveowners.

When I connected to wifi for the first time in five days, a notification appeared on my phone announcing that the US Supreme Court had voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that makes access to abortion a legal right.

Like most people when they heard the news, I felt shock waves run down my body. It was a draft opinion, but if the consensus holds, abortion will likely become illegal immediately or very quickly in 13 US states.

This is despite the fact that nearly two-thirds – 64% – of people in the United States oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.

We were hit by this news in Cuba, the first country in Latin America to legalize abortion, and where abortion and contraceptives are free – as with all healthcare services.

Like the United States, Cuba is currently engaged in a nationwide debate over LGBTQ+, women’s, and reproductive rights. But unlike in the US, where these decisions are made by a few unelected Supreme Court theocrats, Cuba’s process is grassroots and democratic.

The US empire would like us to believe that Cuba is an authoritarian dictatorship, because it does not bow down to the laws of neoliberal “democracy.” Yet comparing the debates over reproductive rights in the two countries can help demystify which country is truly democratic.

Socialism enshrines reproductive rights in Cuba

Abortion was first legalized in Cuba in 1936 in cases of rape, risk to the birthgiver’s life, or the possibility of passing on a serious disease to the fetus.

Before the 1959 revolution, Cubans lived through a period of US neocolonialism, and private medical clinics thrived by offering US “health tourists” services like abortion that were not available in the United States.

During this time, Cuba had the second-highest rural infant and maternal death rates in Latin America. Most Cubans had no access to healthcare, especially outside of the capital, La Habana. There was only one rural hospital in the country.

Abortion was effectively only legal for the Cubans who could afford it – a reality we still face in the US. Only with socialism, and the expansion of free healthcare to all, came a full actualization of abortion rights in Cuba.

After the triumph of the revolution in 1959, health outcomes improved immediately. Cuba now has the most doctors per capita in the world. It even has a higher life expectancy and lower maternal mortality rate than the US.

Full access to abortion was institutionalized in 1965 on four basic grounds: “it is the woman who decides, it needs to take place at a hospital, it needs to be carried out by expert staff, and it needs to be totally free.”

The only criminalization of abortion in Cuba is “when it is done for profit, outside of health institutions, by non-medical staff, or against a woman’s will.”

In the struggle to secure Cuba’s strong abortion laws, as well as other protections like paid maternal leave, one should not underestimate the role played by revolutionary mass organizations like the Cuban Federation of Women (FMC), whose membership includes more than 85% of all eligible Cuban women over 14 years of age.

Along with the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) and the Organs of Popular Power (OPP), mass organizations like the FMC and Cuba Workers Federation (CTC) make up the three main pillars of Cuba’s political system.

In Cuba, I met Dr. Samira Addrey. Born in Ghana, raised in the United States, and recently graduated from the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Cuba, Addrey is intimately familiar with the radical differences in the Cuban health system.

She now coordinates a scholarship program for students from the US to study at ELAM for free, and subsequently work in underserved communities upon graduation. She explained how reproductive care currently works in Cuba.

“​​Every woman of reproductive age has the right to make the decision that is best for her reproductive health,” Addrey told me. “As soon as a woman reaches the menstrual phase of her life, the family doctor and nurse in her neighborhood classify her within the reproductive age, typically 15 to 49 years approximately.”

“Every factor that could contribute to or take away from good reproductive health for a woman is assessed from the beginning to the end,” she stressed.

Addrey noted that a woman “is entitled to choose contraceptive methods that are appropriate for her health background and encouraged to involve her sexual partner in each consult visit to make sure they understand what good sexual and reproductive health means for a both partners.”

“A woman is afforded a safe abortion for free, done by a medical doctor at any local policlinic or hospital,” she added. “Reproductive health in Cuba is approached as a multifaceted part of every woman’s life.”

Thanks to the widespread availability of abortion, and public trust in the health system, the issue is much less stigmatized in Cuba than it is in the US, despite the fact that the Caribbean nation is majority Catholic.

Addrey recalled that “numerous times, my OBGYN professors stressed that they prioritized the life of the woman before all else, especially in the case of pregnancies that threatened the life of a mother. For them, it was a no brainer to save a woman’s life if it meant losing a fetus because the woman still had a full life to live even if she may never have a child through her own womb.”

Dailyn Briñas, a Cuban-American who traveled to Cuba with me on the 15th International May Day Brigade, said “very little social consequences” exist in Cuba for people who choose to get abortions, whereas “in the West, women are at times looked down upon or made to feel less if they do.”

The destigmatization of abortion in Cuba is rooted in the revolution’s steadfast commitment to reproductive rights.

Cuba women solidarity trip

People’s democracy and the Cuban families code

Cuba’s constitution, which was revised through a democratic process in 2019, not only guarantees the right to free medical care, but it also enforces gender equality in all aspects of society, including sexual and reproductive rights:

Women and men have equal rights and responsibilities in the economic, political, cultural, occupational, social, and familial domains, as well as in any other domain. The State guarantees that both will be offered the same opportunities and possibilities. The State encourages the holistic development of women and their full social participation. It ensures the exercise of their sexual and reproductive rights, protects them from gender-based violence in all of its forms and in all spaces, and creates the institutional and legal mechanisms to do so.

The US constitution does not mention women at all.

But what might surprise North Americans the most about Cuba’s constitution is the fact that Cubans get to directly participate in the rewriting of the document.

Cuba is currently updating its 1975 Family Code, which codified gender equality into law, into a new Families Code. This process will update the island’s existing regulations on marriage, divorce, adoption, and other family-related regulations, including by legalizing same-sex marriage, expanding the rights of children, allowing assisted pregnancies, fighting gender-based violence, and protecting the elderly.

Minister of Justice Oscar Silvera Martínez described the document as “a transcendental text, which reinforces rights, fulfills and expands rights, and this is inherent to our revolutionary and socialist essence as a society.”

 

Elaborating on the parts of the bill that pertain to reproductive rights, Dr. Samira Addrey explained, “In Cuba, surrogate mothers who want to help another woman be a mother is also an option. This is consecrated by the new Families Code, and it is important to note that it is entirely prohibited for anyone to charge people for surrogacy.”

In December 2021, the National Assembly of Cuba approved a draft of the Families Code bill to be sent out for popular consultation.

From February to April 2022, more than 6 million Cubans, in more than 79,000 community meetings, participated in debate and discussion of the bill, making around 434,860 proposals, 61.96% of which were favorable.

Even the 1.3 million Cubans living abroad were invited to participate through an online form.

 

On May 15, Cuba’s National Electoral Council delivered its summary of the national popular consultation to the National Assembly of People’s Power. The drafting commission will now take the 434,860 proposals made by regular Cubans into consideration, delivering a new version of the draft to the National Assembly by June 17.

The version approved by the assembly will then be submitted to a popular referendum for approval by the Cuban people.

This consultative process has long played a key role in Cuban democracy. As political economist Helen Yaffe described in her book “We Are Cuba!“, the “introduction of the new Labour Code in June 2014 followed five months of debate involving 2.8 million workers in nearly 70,000 workplace assemblies and in the CTC, the Ministry of Labour, and the National Assembly. The process led to over 100 amendments to the draft Code.”

Cubans have many ways to engage in democracy, from participating in grassroots consultation, to joining mass organizations, to running for municipal assemblies, provincial assemblies, or the National Assembly as delegates themselves.

“It would be a mistake to think that because the opportunities for participation are on people’s doorsteps, that the issues they become involved in are only of local significance,” emphasized Ph.D. researcher Lauren Collins.

What happens at the hyper-local level in translates directly to the national level, showing just how advanced Cuban democracy is.

Cuba candidates election

Cubans reading printed biographies of candidates in front of a polling station

Roe v. Wade and the illusion of democracy

Danaka Katovich, an organizer with the peace group CODEPINK, visited Cuba as part of the International People’s Assembly youth delegation. She later wrote, “I was eating dinner with our Cuban hosts when we got word that Roe could soon be overturned. The table went silent. The Americans were scared and the Cubans were afraid on our behalf.”

Hearing the news about Roe v. Wade while in revolutionary Cuba put the reactionary decision in a different context.

“It made me wonder what my rights really look like, and if I really have any rights,” said B. “Goddess” Dillard Saunders, an internationalist organizer and May Day brigadista from Minnesota who has had multiple abortions in the US.

“If you can just take something away from me with your pen, did I ever have it to begin with?” she asked.

The precariousness of reproductive rights – and all rights – in the United States bears a sharp contrast to life in Cuba, where it would be unimaginable for the government to strip away healthcare from millions of people with a single vote, let alone a vote between nine unelected justices.

The fact that these nine unelected justices can make a major decision that is so clearly opposed by 64% of the population, and only supported by 33%, exposes how hollow US “democracy” is.

Moreover, it would be unimaginable to North Americans for us to participate in community debate and national referendums on our constitution, which has barely changed since it was written by a handful of slaveowners 235 years ago.

But most North Americans are still convinced that we live in a functional democracy, while Cubans live in a totalitarian dictatorship.

Dailyn Briñas, who has lived in both countries, explained that in the US, “There exists no democracy, and the elite are the main executioners of laws or regulations,” whereas the “Cuban system is quite the opposite, and it is this attention toward collective action and thought that provides the foundation for their system.”

Take voting access. If the United States is the democracy and Cuba is the dictatorship, why does Cuba regularly have 90% voter turnout rates, while the US has rarely passed 60% in recent presidential election years?

Why does Cuba automatically register all citizens and permanent residents to vote at age 16, while endless voter suppression exists in the US? The list goes on.

The illusion of democracy in the US is multifaceted. Studies show that public opinion in the US has zero influence on policymaking.

The United States is the definition of an oligarchy. Laws are determined by the capitalist elite, who buy elections, influence legislation through the corporate lobby, or sit themselves in Congress, where more than half of the members are millionaires.

On average, a US Senate seat costs $10.5 million, and a House seat $1.7 million.

But even if democracy couldn’t be bought in the US, our so-called “democratic institutions” were designed to be fundamentally undemocratic.

The Supreme Court is a prime example. Justices are appointed by the president, who can win the electoral college without a majority of votes.

Supreme Court Justices are approved by the Senate, the world’s “greatest deliberative body,” where 40 people can outvote 60, and mostly white, rural states get disproportionate representation. The Nation reported that, “by 2040, it is projected that 70 percent of the country will be represented by just 30 senators, while the other 70 senators will give voice to the 30 percent.”

Once confirmed, Supreme Court justices serve limitless terms, with power over the lives of 330 million people in their hands.

Another deceitful aspect of US “democracy” is the illusion of choice between the Democratic and Republican parties, which are really two sides of the same imperialist coin.

Democrats have used the Roe v. Wade decision as a rallying cry – and email fundraising subject line – for the 2022 midterm elections, arguing that voting in November is the only way to save abortion rights.

What they fail to mention in their fundraising emails is that they could save Roe right now, by codifying abortion rights into federal law with the current Democratic control of the House of Representatives, Senate, and White House.

A Senate vote this May to try to codify Roe nationwide was blocked, as Democrat Joe Manchin joined all 50 Republican senators in opposing the bill. But Democrats in the Senate, without any Republican votes, could end the filibuster, the undemocratic rule that requires 60 votes, instead of a simple majority, to pass most pieces of legislation.

Like Obama, who promised to codify abortion rights into federal law on the first day of his presidency, then decided they were no longer a legislative priority, Biden and his Democratic Party serve as controlled opposition. They claim to fight for abortion rights while failing to pass an abortion bill every time they have had the ability to do so.

Democrats and Republicans are not fundamentally opposed to each other; they simply have different strategies for how to best maintain US global capitalist hegemony.

Cuba may only have one party (which I should note is not an electoral party and it is barred from involvement in the entire electoral process), but within the Communist Party of Cuba – as well as the Organs of Popular Power and mass organizations it has helped build for women, workers, and youth – there is much more room for democratic debate and direct input from the masses than any viable party in the US.

Cuba’s democratic structures also cannot be assessed outside of their surrounding conditions: the onslaught of yankee imperialism and global neoliberalism.

Cuban socialism has not been able to develop for a single day not under siege by the US government – through the illegal economic blockade, direct and indirect terrorist interventions, and the continued illegal occupation of Guantánamo Bay.

The Cuban Revolution has survived for over 60 years, in the harshest possible conditions, as countless other revolutions were crushed by US intervention, for a reason.

Cuba abortion solidarity trip

Only socialism can bring about democratic and reproductive freedom

When I asked Dr. Samira Addrey if she thinks socialism is necessary for the full actualization of reproductive rights for all people, she gave a wholehearted yes.

“The rights of a woman to determine the best course for her reproductive health can never be a commodity nor a question laid in the hands of men,” she said. “Socialism upholds the humanity of women by ensuring that their roles in society be fully respected and protected.”

“Health is a human right and socialism delivers a system where that unalienable right can never be trampled upon by greedy exploitative capitalist machines,” she added.

Having seen the drastic advancements women made through the Cuban Revolution, Dailyn Briñas views socialism as “a transitional point for the eventual goal of universal women’s liberation.”

She maintained, “Reproductive rights are one of the many things that would come with bringing about the collective transformation and destruction of a capitalist global structure.”

With the destruction of capitalism also comes a full realization of democracy. Socialism – the common ownership of production, distribution, and exchange under the political rule of the working class masses – is the most democratic form of society that can now be constructed.

Before the revolution, Cuba was ruled by a series of US-backed dictators – and before that, direct US military rule and Spanish colonialism.

Today, Cuba has a people-powered, consultative, socialist democracy that is centuries ahead of the US in terms of grassroots participation and social achievements.

For many in the United States, it is easier to believe that Cuba is lying about their democratic achievements than to come to terms with the fact that our own government is choosing to deny us those same rights.

How could a country just 90 miles away provide all of its citizens with healthcare, housing, education, and reproductive freedom, free of cost, when we have been told our entire lives that we do not deserve those same achievements, and that they are physically impossible?

It is not a pretty reality to accept, that the US willingly perpetuates violence upon us and the rest of the world every day, but it is better than living in the delusion of imperialist benevolence.

When we all wake up – and we will – we’ll realize how much we have to learn from Cuba.

We Have More in Common With Cuba Than We Think

Posted by on May 25, 2022 in Latest News | Comments Off on We Have More in Common With Cuba Than We Think

By Danaka Katovich
CommonDreams May 13, 2022
The American working class and Cubans both face an important task: demanding dignity from the imperial core that constantly works to undermine our right to life.

A week ago I returned to the United States from Cuba where I got to spend International Workers’ Day with 100 other young organizers from the U.S. alongside over 700,000 other people who celebrated in Havana that day. With the International People’s Assembly of North America, we spent a week learning about the Cuban socialist project and how the blockade imposed by the United States impacts life in Cuba.

For the conditions placed on the Cuban people, it is remarkable how successful their revolution is. One thing I want to emphasize is that Cubans, citizens or government officials, will rarely say that Cuba is a perfect place. I was astounded by the critical analysis that most people seemed to have. Our hosts never strayed away from the hard questions. We engaged in important discussions about a range of topics and they asked increasingly difficult questions of us too. So many people in the United States will tell you that we live in the best country in the world despite our streets being lined with unhoused people, our education system failing, our bridges collapsing, and our people dying because they can’t afford healthcare. We are failing spectacularly—despite all we have access to in the United States—compared to many things Cuba does with only a tiny fraction of the resources.

Life is hard for the Cuban people. In the United States it is uncommon to encounter masses of people who are aware of the origins of their material conditions. Many people are taught to attribute our poor material conditions to meritocracy. Maybe we did not work hard enough to deserve the things that give every human dignity.

The Cuban people knew it was my country that was starving them. They understand because the U.S. government has publicly admitted that the only reason the blockade is in place is to punish Cuba for trying to build something outside of the global capitalist order. Still, they treated me with so much kindness. They fed me well despite not having much.

In the United States we would benefit a lot from gaining a better understanding of where our suffering comes from. We need to get much better at managing nuance, which is something the Cuban people do not lack. They understand their suffering comes from multiple avenues and I didn’t encounter many that said their economic system is one of them. Despite the embargo, the Cuban government has been able to efficiently allocate the resources they do have to keep people alive, housed, in school, and engaging in work and popular education. I believe very deeply that is what any society should strive to do. Without the embargo I believe Cuba would be able to prove to the people of the world who suffer under the neoliberal order that another reality is possible. That is exactly what the embargo is trying to prevent.

I went into the experience particularly interested in how unions and cooperatives exist in Cuba. The first day of our trip, I spent the morning and early afternoon with the auto mechanics union and cooperative, Autochapt. I was interested to see how workers in cooperatives saw themselves within the revolution and how they functioned within socialist society.

The leaders of the mechanics union were probably the most fervent communists I met on the entire trip. They saw their work as critical to sustaining the revolution. Cars get people to work. Farming equipment helps feed people. Buses get people to where they need to go. In a country that cannot import new parts, auto mechanics become more relevant. Many Cubans drive American cars that are decades old. The mechanics have no access to importing spare parts so they manufacture the parts themselves in some cases.

The union members have a solid democratic structure for decision making and their pride for their union was tangible. The mechanics found their work meaningful. They did not feel as though people were making decisions for them. They told us how they voted to give 10% of their salaries to the victims of the hurricane that hit Cuba last year. We danced and paraded around the cooperative together and we approached a wall at the entrance of the cooperative that had a mural of Cuba surrounded by little rings hanging off of nails. It was made by the cooperative to illustrate the blockade. Taking turns, the group from the US, other countries and members of the cooperative broke down the blockade together, tearing the rings off the wall and throwing them to the ground.

I was also curious to see how minority religions function in a socialist society. Religion did not play an important role in the early days of the Cuban revolution, but today religious communities find themselves a part of the revolutionary society and there is significant religious diversity. Various kinds of Christianity are present there, including Roman Catholicism. Many people in Cuba practice several African religions and spiritualities.

As for Islam, when people think of Muslims and Cuba, they may think of the U.S.-run torture blacksite that has incarcerated Muslims exclusively since the War on Terror began. Twenty years later there are still 39 Muslim men held without charge or trial at Guantanamo Detention Center by the U.S. military. I thought of them often while I was in Cuba, especially when I spent time during Eid at the only mosque in the country.

The Cuban Muslim community is small at about 4,000 people, not including Muslims from countries around the world who attend school in Cuba. The Cuban government has an entity that deals with and meets the needs of religious communities, including the Muslim population. The government built the mosque after three men came back from their pilgrimage to Mecca in 2015. In conversations at the mosque, I asked men and women how their religion relates to socialism. They said it would be disrespectful to compare Islam and socialism, but believe they run parallel to each other, both with the intention of raising people up and making life better for everyone. They said the socialist project has contradictions but Islam does not.

All the women I met there were converts, and all of them recounted stories of feeling incredibly welcome by the Muslim community and at the mosque when they were thinking of converting. One of the older women said she felt like the community at the mosque was her new family.

I also visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center, which provides support to delegations like the one I went on. Our guides from the MLK center, Edelso and Izett, always took the time to answer our questions and be present with us for the entire week. Izett talked a lot about liberation theology as a means of freeing everyone, not just people who practice a certain religion. There was a small chapel in the heart of the MLK Center where Izett spent over an hour talking to us about the complexities of Cuban society. Many people in the United States say that the Cuban government doesn’t take kindly to religious diversity, but I can say confidently that is not the case. In fact I struggle to envision a government in the United States that would provide a fraction of support that the Cuban government does to religious minorities.

I cried a lot during the week I was there. One moment that stuck with me was when I found out that Cuba tried to send support to us after 9/11. Cuba was one of the first countries to call after they heard the news of the attacks on the World Trade Center. President Bush refused support not just after 9/11, but also after Hurricane Katrina. When Cuban doctors were turned away from assisting people in the United States they flew to Kashmir to help people affected by the earthquake that had just happened there. In the wake of horrible tragedies like 9/11 and Katrina, the world would be a much better place if more countries sought genuine international solidarity. Cuba was not expecting anything in return.

While we starved them, they tried to give us life. Tears streamed down my face as I heard Cubans tell me over and over again they stand with us. They feel for us because we don’t have healthcare, housing, democracy, or education for all. We have a surveillance state, police crackdowns, brutality, starvation student debt, unemployment and no meaningful way to engage in our governance. They want a better life for us as our government robs them of the opportunity to create something radically different.

I was eating dinner with our Cuban hosts when we got word that Roe could soon be overturned. The table went silent. The Americans were scared and the Cubans were afraid on our behalf.

The American working class and Cubans have much more in common than the dinosaurs in Washington would have us think. Both face an important task: demanding dignity from the imperial core that constantly works to undermine our right to life. In that regard, we can learn many things from Cuba. The U.S. has not achieved its goals in Cuba, a country that has been standing toe to toe with the neoliberal world order since 1959. The 100 young people who returned to the United States and Canada a week ago, including myself, are willing to go to bat for the Cuban people and meet their first and foremost demand: end the embargo.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Danaka Katovich

Danaka Katovich is CODEPINK’s Yemen campaign director.

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez: Times are still complex and challenging, but we are well trained!!

Posted by on May 24, 2022 in Latest News | Comments Off on Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez: Times are still complex and challenging, but we are well trained!!

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez: Times are still complex and challenging, but we are well trained!!

The Cubainformacion website has published brief data on prisons and children in the United States, indicating that 2,000 children are arrested every day and 44,000 are in prison. We only cite this data to demonstrate, once again, the hypocrisy and double standards of those who presume to judge what happens around the world.
Yes, we are interested in stating, before our people and the world, that in Cuba no one under 16 years of age is imprisoned! That those prosecuted for their acts during the events of July 11 and 12 enjoyed procedural guarantees established by Cuban law. Respecting these laws and our Constitution, those who attempt to undermine our sovereignty, independence and internal order must know that the law exists to be enforced. We are a socialist state of law that has the right to exist. Precisely what our adversaries refuse to accept.

Now, blind with frustration, the empire and its paid employees resort to the old practices of attack with modern techniques of Unconventional Warfare. They label us and return to the infamous path of hatred, with constant calls for acts of vandalism, and encourage terrorism.

In an effort to create a climate of public insecurity, as a prelude to a social explosion, they no longer even try to mask their calls, which they amplify using vulgar talking heads on a variety of Internet platforms. Since they can’t kill us, they scream during the attempt, to earn their check.

In an effort to demobilize our people, they tried everything this last May Day. Blind drunk with their own lies, they thought very few would respond to the call to celebrate International Workers’ Day made by the Federation of Cuban Workers and its unions.

They have yet to recover from the astonishment and are demanding data from their lackeys, in an effort to understand the tremendous, massive response of our people.

The rumor is that their media platforms, that lost all credibility after covering the events of July 11 with fake news and doctored photos, were ordered to downplay images of the massive crowds and joy.
Our people who criticize what we do wrong or what we don’t do, on a daily basis, who are outraged by shoddy work, insensitivity, indolence and bureaucracy, this same people marched, paraded in congas and raised banners in support of the Revolution and, once at home, exposed the lies by posting the truth in their publications on the net.

The people took it upon themselves to paint a landscape portrait of our creative resistance. Beautiful visual testimony of Cuba celebrating the triumph of talent, effort and solidarity in confronting the most colossal challenge we have faced: Two years of pandemic with a brutally tightened blockade.
We said it here, at the foot of the José Martí Memorial and in all the country’s plazas. With Raúl and the heroic Centennial Generation, we reiterated this May Day that it has been possible; it is possible and will always be possible! (Applause)

Of course this is not about repeating a slogan. A conviction is being expressed that must always be accompanied by a principle: everything by the people, with the people and for the people. (Applause)

Assemblywomen and men:

Since the second half of last year, we have been warning that the United States government is promoting a dangerous international schism, attempting to selectively divide the world between those who are willing to submit to the servitude imposed by Washington, on the one hand, and those who are convinced of their sovereign right to self-determination and determined to defend it, on the other.
The expressions of this senseless ambition were not long in coming and the consequences are taking their toll, especially in Europe. They are costing lives and suffering, and causing global economic damage, the outcome of which is difficult to predict. They are turning the European stage into the principal destination of their weapons of all kinds, with no real control or awareness of their subsequent use.

It should not be forgotten that existing nuclear weapons, concentrated today in the hands of a few countries, have the capacity to destroy the planet several times over and the possibility of a miscalculation cannot be underestimated.

The global scenario of the 1990s, when the United States enjoyed singular hegemonic supremacy after the collapse of the socialist camp in Europe, is not today’s, and it would be a dangerous mistake to attempt to impose it by force.

Conscious of these realities, we are developing international relations based on principles and in full adherence to international law, committed to peace, justice and the right to full independence, development and security of all countries, especially those of the Third World, which are the most threatened.

This is how we defend our positions in international organizations, with full independence, coherence and responsibility.

Cuban foreign policy will continue to have as a priority the incessant battle against the economic blockade of the United States, its condemnation at all times and in all corners of the planet.

The aggressive, criminal and genocidal nature of this policy, and its overwhelming impact on all of society and the life of the country, forces us to concentrate and redouble our efforts to combat it tirelessly.

In our region, the compass that guides us continues to be the development of amicable, cooperative relations with all Latin American and Caribbean countries, supporting regional integration, based on the precept of unity within diversity, observance of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, and the solidary commitment to social justice for all the peoples of Our America.

During the month of April we received official visits from the Prime Ministers of Dominica and Belize, Roosevelt Skerrit and John Briceño, respectively, with whom we made progress in bilateral relations, as befits the traditional ties of brotherhood shared by our nations.

More than 1,000 delegates from 60 countries and 219 organizations accompanied the Cuban people at the International Solidarity with Cuba Conference (May 1-2), which confirmed the support of millions of people around the world for the cause of the Cuban Revolution.

Just a few days ago, we had the special honor of welcoming the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and a delegation that accompanied him to Havana. It was an official visit, important in the mutual effort to strengthen and deepen bilateral ties, and to contribute to the progress in the region, its independence and integration. The visit coincided with the 120th anniversary of the establishment of relations between our two countries, a date of great significance for Cuba, which has always found in the land of Juárez the brotherhood and support that Martí and Fidel found in their Mexican contemporaries. In those hours we came to understand much better the depth of the ties that unite us, but also the political caliber, the deep sensitivity and the endearing commitment of López Obrador in his relationship with all peoples of Our America.

Esteemed Assemblywomen and men:

The old neo-colonial ambitions of the United States remain in place, directed toward fragmenting and weakening this part of the world, as a way to preserve the hegemonic power of imperialism or restore its hegemony where it has been lost.

Washington has called a meeting next month, which they are curiously calling the “Summit of the Americas,” even though several countries have been excluded.

They concealed until the last moment the selective and discriminatory nature of the announcement, with the clear purpose of avoiding as much as possible the natural discomfort of the region’s governments, which have long rejected capricious exclusions.

The extensive, desperate efforts which the United States has been obliged to make are well known, even deploying high-level special envoys, to avoid demands that the event be an inclusive one, a truly representative gathering of countries in the hemisphere.

Whoever makes a commitment to host a hemispheric meeting must have the ability and courage to listen to everyone, from the Arctic to Patagonia, to listen to differing opinions, willing to deliberate with solid arguments, not with impositions and evasions; facing the truth, no matter how harsh and unpleasant it may be.

A country incapable of accommodating everyone is disqualified from serving as host.

Beneath all this, of course, is an ideological factor. The Monroe Doctrine that, recognized or not, continues to be the guide and political focus of the United States for the region that José Martí called Our America.

It is well known that nothing about economic and social inequality will be discussed or approved at this meeting; nothing concerning growing marginalization in the region, including the United States itself. We know that the growing problem of using the courts as political tools to sabotage the popular will – and undermine governments elected with the support of the most humble sectors – will not be addressed, nor will corporate efforts by large transnationals to corrupt governments of the region.
The role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in orchestrating a coup in Bolivia will not be discussed, nor will any decision be adopted that truly promotes the aspirations for democracy, inclusion and respect that the peoples of the region deserve.

The reasons why both the United States and Latin America are among the regions most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will not be analyzed.
None of the documents proposed by the State Department are intended to advance practical action in the struggle against racism, to promote women’s rights, or address the precarious situation of immigrants.

There will be no discussion of manipulation by the U.S. government of the migratory issue, which is used to promote destabilization in Cuba, while an illegal policy is implemented based on unilateral, coercive measures meant to cause economic collapse, and encourage irregular, disorderly and insecure emigration, while the commitments and agreements in force in this arena are deliberately broken.

No discussion is projected of the disastrous impact on societies of organized crime or trafficking in weapons, produced mainly in the United States, or the cancer of drug running, fueled by the high level of consumption in U.S. society.

Terrorism, including state terrorism, and manipulation of the issue for political ends are not on the agenda. It is unlikely that the special, differential treatment which small Caribbean countries deserve will be recognized or that Argentina’s right to the Malvinas Islands will be confirmed.

There will be no statement condemning unilateral coercive economic measures and their use against countries of the region as a ruthless weapon of aggression.

Puerto Rico’s right to independence will not be recognized.

The President of the United States will enjoy a photograph and use the Summit in his internal political campaigns, especially in Florida, but hours later, few will remember what happened or the meaning of documents using U.S. language, based on U.S. conceptions, which they intend to have adopted.

The so-called Summit of the Americas seems to be identified with the OAS. It will bear the same discredit and moral disqualification which characterize this Pan-American institution. The organization has been condemned for a long time and it is time to finally recognize it for what it is, with total transparency. Its performance in recent years has only accelerated its moribund condition.

Compañeras and compañeros:

These sessions of the National Assembly confirm progress the country is making in a process to which we grant the highest priority: the deepening of socialist democracy and the promotion, protection and effectiveness of rights enshrined in the Constitution, in international treaties to which the Republic of Cuba id party and in laws under development.

We are conscious that the socialist state of law and social justice will become more democratic as as it maintains and deepens our protection of human dignity, as the supreme value that supports the recognition and exercise of rights and the fulfillment of duties in society.

The protection against violation or transgression of constitutional rights can now be demanded and redressed, through various channels and mechanisms, thus affording our political system solid legitimacy.

In this Legislature, several complementary laws have been approved to comply with Constitutional mandates. Public policies are promoted intended to provide comprehensive protection of children, adolescents, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and women. Programs have been developed to ensure equality and non-discrimination for reasons of any individual condition or circumstance that implies a distinction that undermines human dignity. The judicial function is strengthened so that the popular court system can serve as a guarantor of Constitutional rights.

Eight important laws have been approved for our country: Food Sovereignty & Food and Nutritional Security; one protecting Personal Data; the new Penal Code; the Criminal Procedures Law; the Protection of Constitutional Rights; one establishing a Natural Resources and Environment system; one to protect the rights of authors and performing artists, as well as a Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage law.

Each of these laws, as was reported in their presentations, is the result of a broad consultation process with the participation of specialists, experts, university professors and the population.

Their contents have been discussed and explained, in particular everything related to the new Penal Code, with which regulations on this matter have ben updated and the country’s legal-criminal system is unified in a single text, taking into account the treaties on this matter to which Cuba is a party. It also complements laws that have been approved by this Assembly in the criminal procedure system, and introduces important modifications in the field of crime prevention and law enforcement. Now it is time to disseminate its content, to encourage our citizens to respect socialist legality.

Those responsible for its implementation are called upon to act with the expected fairness. This is a tool that must be used with the appropriate rationality. It is an instrument to protect society, persons and the political, economic and social order established in the Constitution of the Republic.

As you recall, among the most innovative elements introduced by the current Constitution of the Republic is the wide range of rights recognized. Protecting them against any violation by state bodies, their directors, officials and employees, or citizens, is the objective of the Protection of Constitutional Rights Process Law, which we approved yesterday. It is a law that strengthens the country’s institutionality and concretizes the definition of Cuba as a socialist state of law and social justice.
Another of the approved laws, which represents a step forward, is the law on the Natural Resources and the Environment System. The text reinforces the ability to exercise of the right of people to enjoy a healthy, balanced environment, establishing the responsibility of all for the conservation, protection and rational use of resources, in order to make human life more rational and ensure the survival, well-being and security of our citizens.

For its part, the Copyright and Performing Artist Law aligns the legal framework with changes experienced in the processes of creation and dissemination in the literary, artistic, journalistic, scientific and educational spheres; reinforcing the state’s educational, scientific and cultural policy by conciliating the interests of society with the recognition of creators for their work.

The Law for the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage approved by this Assembly also generated great interest among specialists and those knowledgeable of this topic. It concretizes the state’s obligation to protect the natural, historical and cultural heritage of the nation, and the duty to protect them. National and local identity, cultural sovereignty and the legitimate right of the people to the creation, enjoyment and protection of culture are strengthened.

Assemblymen and women:

The comprehensive protection of human rights is essential to socialism, since human beings and their dignity are the epicenter of society. The capitalist discourse and narrative regarding human rights promote forms of domination, sometimes hidden, sometimes open, which take refuge in apparent legitimacy.

Not submitting to the hegemony of imperialism, swimming against the current, has consequences. The blockade and its brutal tighteneing are among them. This cruel and inhumane system seeks to eliminate socialism as an alternative, seeking the restoration of capitalism, attemtping to limit state action, hinder and undermine its policies, plans and programs to promote, protect and guarantee rights; exacerbating contradictions and internal errors in an effort to impose a colonializing vision of rights.

Despite this, we reaffirm the conviction that, even under difficult economic conditions, the Cuban state will maintain its essential objective of guaranteeing effective equality in the enjoyment and exercise of rights and the fulfillment of duties enshrined in the Constitution and by law; promote sustainable development that ensures individual and collective prosperity and seek increasingly higher levels of equity and social justice; preserve and multiply the achievements of the Revolution and guarantee the full dignity of persons and their comprehensive development.

Although they constitute important advances, the laws that we approved in these sessions are not enough. It is necessary to raise the levels of civic education, of legal culture, adopt all the necessary measures, in different orders and at levels that allow for the effective enjoyment of rights and ensure the circumstances to inhibit violatory behaviors. Recognize, promote, prevent, protect, guarantee are verbs that denote state action and for which joint work with different social actors, with popular participation, with People’s Power bodies, is essential.

If we examine the international context, there are few countries which, within such a short period of time, have submitted draft legal provisions to two mechanisms of democratic, popular participation: the popular consultation and the constitutional referendum in 2019 and, coming soon, the legislative referendum on the proposed Families Code. Why don’t those who insist on asserting that there is no democracy in Cuba talk about how deliberation is fostered in popular consultations and the binding decision-making process of our referendums in the process of creating legislation? Why don’t they refer to popular involvement in these participatory processes, the search for legitimacy and consensus?
Before moving on to another topic, I would like to return to a very important law that we approved: the Food Sovereignty and Nutritional Security Law.

We cannot separate the significance of this regulation from one of the greatest uncertainties plaguing the entire world today. The FAO (UN Food and Agriculture Organization) recently stated that it fears serious food insecurity across the planet: “Over seven years, the FAO has noted a deterioration in the ability of countries to feed their populations. We are now in what we call a perfect storm. We were already in bad shape and the pandemic was a true atomic bomb in terms of hunger. With this new crisis between Russia and Ukraine, frankly, what we are talking about now is a global, generalized crisis… a situation of serious food insecurity throughout the planet.” These are the words of the representative of the United Nations organization in Mexico.

“In Latin America, the number of people living with hunger increased by 13.8 million during the first year of the pandemic and reached a total of 59.7 million… food insecurity… impacts 41% of the population, either severely or moderately.”

This dramatic reality is one of the most serious consequences of the economic and social imbalances generated by neoliberalism and about which Fidel warned so many times in his historic Reflections.
This is not, therefore, something that surprises us. There is awareness of the problem and projections made to confront it. And it is very important to strengthen our Plan for Food Sovereignty and Nutritional Education (SAN), which involves practically all organizations and our entire society.
We are called upon to train and mobilize government structures, at the municipal level, to ensure that they are in a position to lead the production process with popular participation on the local level and also promote an intense effort to reach all local producers – state, cooperative and private, from the state enterprise to the last farm, from the agro-industrial pole to every local development project, favoring agroecology as a necessary alternative for agricultural production in the current circumstances.

Compatriots:

It is very gratifying and satisfying for me to confirm, before this Assembly, that the pandemic continues to be successfully controlled in our country.

As I have publicly acknowledged, more than once, healthcare and scientific workers saved the country. May absolutely everyone feel this recognition: from the most renowned doctor or researcher to the most modest operator. From the consecrated cadres who direct prestigious scientific and hospital institutions to the tireless leaders of the political and union organizations in the two sectors.

The alliances forged in the midst of the worst circumstances, enormous effort and limitless dedication have allowed us to return to a new normality and gradually revive economic activity and social life.
We are not done. Cuba’s Finlay Vaccine Institute, creators of the Soberana 02 and Soberana Plus anti-COVID-19 vaccines, is today conducting two studies with the objective of protecting infants from SARS-CoV-2. According to the experts, after having vaccinated the country’s entire pediatric population above two years of age, with Soberana 02, moving to immunization of this (younger) age group involves very low risk, in terms of safety.

In another area of ideas, let’s talk about the economy, the world economy. After a period of gradual recovery in 2021, with growth of 5.9%, 2022 began in conditions of great uncertainty, with projections of around 3.6% growth.

Disruptions in supply chains plus higher food and energy prices have led to increased inflation, in addition to COVID-19 infections and, more recently, the European conflict.

Alongside this trend, the post-pandemic stage is projected globally as a period of weak, uneven recovery, marked by a slow recovery of international trade.

These pressures on prices are reflected in projected average inflation, in 2022, of 5.7% for advanced economies and 8.7% in emerging and developing economies.

For Cuba, subjected to a brutally tightened, criminal blockade, the scenario is additionally impacted by the increase in prices for imports, especially fuel and food.

This complex context, which we must confront decidedly with audacious, innovative measures, aligned with our social development model and commitment to the greatest degree of equity possible, implies great challenges for management of the economy.

Toward this end, we have updated the Economic-Social Strategy, information on which deputies have received and which constitutes the roadmap for implementation of the principal measures needed to ensure that the objectives and goals of the National Economic Plan are met.

The extensive, well documented information that compañero Alejandro Gil presented here frees me from addressing more details that would unnecessarily lengthen my remarks. I will only comment briefly on what is at the center of everyone’s concerns right now: measures to contain inflation.

The Council of Ministers is working intensely with very clear objectives and tasks outlined to begin a secondary exchange scheme to later advance in the recovery of the exchange market, including, to the extent possible, the purchase and sale of foreign currency to the population.

We have not lost sight of the need to increase supply and steps are being taken in this direction, stimulating, above all, the contribution of national productions, but also through different channels of foreign trade.

Limits will be imposed on excessive income in state institutions and enterprises not working on increasing production and efficiency, and there will be a re-sizing of the state apparatus to reduce expenses and direct funds toward support for those in situations of vulnerability.

Also as part of the strategy, the process of expansion and diversification of economic actors will continue and development must be accelerated of proposals for new transformations in socialist state enterprises, the principal economic subject in our model, mainly in relation to autonomy, access to resources, the mission and role of government administrative councils and central state management (OSDE), the operations of micro, small and medium-sized state enterprises and affiliated companies, among other issues.

Another complex aspect is the level of macroeconomic imbalance, which is expressed in greater inflationary pressures and depreciation of the informal exchange rate. The different exchange environments in which state and non-state sectors operate creates obstacles to the expansion of productive chains between the two sectors.

Despite the positive aspects that have been seen thus far in the gradual recovery of the country’s economic and social activity, more rapid progress is needed in establishing macroeconomic stability, and in increasing national production and exports, as well as direct foreign investment, the substitution of imports with domestic products and efficiency in the investment process.

In the midst of the complex situation we are facing, the following have been reiterated as priorities: the gradual recovery of the Cuban peso as the center of the financial system; confrontating inflation; ensuring the stability of the national electricity system; priority attention to persons, households and communities in situations of vulnerability; decentralization of authority based on greater autonomy in municipalities and the transformations of the state enterprise system.

As we work on urgent issues, we are not renouncing development. The country’s strategic planning continues to be perfected through macro-programs, programs, projects and a work system which has allowed progress to be made in the implementation of guidelines approved at the Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba for the period 2021-2026.

Compatriots:

The shock and loss of the last few days, once again, presented us with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Unity, solidarity and work have again proved to us that, together, all challenges can be overcome.

Not even the most recalcitrant adversaries of the Cuban Revolution, attacking it on all fronts, continuously for 63 years, have been able to bring Fidel’s invincible people to their knees. And for the record, they have not given up trying to erase “this bad example” of creative resistance from the map of America. This is why they haven’t invited us to the table they are obliged to set. We are an insubordinate voice. And not the only one! (Applause)

I was recently asked why we were returned, for example, to the list of countries that promote terrorism. There is no reason. There is no reason for punishment, for sanctions, for hatred of a noble, loving, gentle and happy people like the Cuban people. There are only unfounded arguments, perversity, a lack of ethics and great frustration, because they continue failing, from defeat to defeat for 63 years. (Applause)

We have defeated them in all arenas, not because there are more of us, because that is not the case. Not because we have more weapons, because we don’t have many. Not by grace or divine intervention, because we do not consider ourselves a chosen people. We have defeated them because we are sustained by just ideas, because we love love and hate hate.

Our strength lies in the human values inspired by Martí and Fidel; in the power of truth and in the transforming capacity of education and culture. These assets are not listed on the stock exchange; they do not depend on fluctuations in the market. They are sown with the learning of history and strengthened in the practice of solidarity.

Conquering all justice is our maxim and our horizon! Unity affirmed within diversity is the road forward.

On it, we advance!
The times continue to be complex and challenging, but we are well trained!
With determination and conviction:
Onward always to victory!
(Ovation)

https://www.granma.cu/discursos-de-diaz-canel/2022-05-16/los-tiempos-siguen-siendo-complejos-y-desafiantes-pero-ya-estamos-entrenados-16-05-2022-23-05-57

NNOC STATEMENT ON SARATOGA HOTEL DISASTER

Posted by on May 7, 2022 in Latest News | Comments Off on NNOC STATEMENT ON SARATOGA HOTEL DISASTER

(5/7/22) edited 8:30am Cuba Time

On Friday morning an explosion occurred at the Saratoga Hotel in Old Havana. While details are still emerging, officials have ruled out the possibility that it was an attack and attribute it to gas being transferred from a truck. At the moment 50 adults and 14 children have been hospitalized, and 21 adults and 1 minor have lost their lives. Not only has the Saratoga Hotel suffered structural damage, but so have 23 other nearby buildings, including 15 apartments which completely collapsed. The headquarters of the Yoruba Association and the Baptist Church have also been damaged.

The speed and efficiency with which Cuba has been able to mobilize in response is a testament to strong organization and the resilience of the island. In the chaos, five priorities for the Cuban government have emerged: (1) take care of the affected families, (2) recovery of the hotel and damaged homes, (3) relocation of the children from the school located next to the hotel and recovery of that educational center, (4) rescue of all affected facilities, and (5) timely information to the population.

Tragedy has been met with everyday citizens “who attended the place with a lot of discipline and willing[ness] to help in anything”, according to Reinaldo Garcia Zapata, Governor of Havana. This included young people joining the search for missing parties and lending their hands to dig through the rubble that remains. By 8 pm Eastern, Havana blood banks received 1,500 donations.

The National Network on Cuba offers our condolences to all those directly affected, the Cuban people, their government and their Party. We stand in solidarity with all Cubans across the island who are reeling from this recent tragedy, and struggle daily to defend their national sovereignty against the ongoing U.S. blockade that impacts every part of Cuban life.

We call on our NNOC member organizations, U.S. elected officials, and all people of goodwill to strengthen our efforts to end the U.S. economic, financial, commercial and media war against this island. Cuba is a beacon for the preservation and defense of life and human rights.

Under NNOC, several solidarity projects have emerged over these last two years of the pandemic. Already, they include Puentes de Amor caravans, resolutions from cities across the country now representing more than 41 million U.S. residents, Project EL PAN food donations, the reconstruction campaigns that will be launched; solidarity and educational trips to Cuba like the May Day Brigade (which currently has a delegation in country and stands in support of the Cuban people), Venceremos Brigade and IFCO/Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravans, which bring people to learn and shine light on the truth about the heroic Cuban people and their revolutionary project.

It is no secret that Cuba is one of the few places in the world where the right to free health care, free education, sports and culture is constitutionally guaranteed; where you are not asked for your insurance before getting medical attention, nor thrown out because you can’t pay the medical bill, where the quality of education is not determined by property taxes and where foreclosures and evictions do not exist.

Let’s stand with Cuba as she has stood for so many other countries during times of peace and disaster! Let’s give her all we’ve got!

#VamosConTodo #FuerzaCuba