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Remarks in DC at unveiling of Statue of Marti (Ambassador Cabañas; Cheryl LaBash,

Posted by on Jul 3, 2019 in Latest News | Comments Off on Remarks in DC at unveiling of Statue of Marti (Ambassador Cabañas; Cheryl LaBash,

From the afternoon of July 1, 2019, four years after the announcement of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Havana and Washington, the Apostle stands vigilant and thoughtful in the U.S. capital. Martí’s constant concern for the independence of the Island and the continent was captured in       bronze: the tired look, but alert; the serene posture; the imprint of the prison and the insatiable search for knowledge. Nothing escaped the artist’s hand. His presence at the Cuban embassy in the United States evokes the desire to bring together two peoples that are only narrowly separated by geography.

The unveiling ceremony of the statue was presided over by Cuban Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas. Dr. Aisha Z, Cort, a professor of Cuban origin from Howard University, and Cheryl LaBash, a member of the Cuban solidarity movement.  also spoke. We then shared their interventions:
Remarks by Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas
Good afternoon to all of you, we thank you for responding to our invitation, issued at short notice.
Today is a very special day for us, because in the framework of the celebrations for the 100 years of the construction of our Embassy building and also the 60 years of the Revolution and Fidel’s visit to this building, we can finally leave this statue of the Cuban National Hero José Martí y Pérez inaugurated. It is a       dream of several years and several generations that has finally come true.
We want to thank first of all the author of the work, the National Prize of Plastic Arts of Cuba of the year 2008, the Master José Villa Soberón. From here, Maestro, our greetings.
Secondly, we must mention the artist who cast the original mold in bronze, Mr. Lázaro Valdés and his Asubronze team in Miami, Florida. We must also recognize the installers of the granite pedestal and the statue itself, Mr. Niv Fishbein of Fram Monument, who is with us today.
To get to this point, we had the support of countless officials in Cuba who prepared and took care of the shipment of the mold. We especially mentioned the Washington DC city officials who led us through the process of obtaining the necessary permits for the installation of the statue and our immediate neighbors in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, for whom any celebration at our Embassy is a cause for joy.
This image of José Martí is inspired by the few photos of the time that show him in his entire body, organizing the war against Spanish domination among Cuban tobacco growers in Ybor City, Tampa, walking in Jamaica or coming to Washington in 1891 to participate in the Pan American Conference that took place in what is now called the Eisenhower building annexed to the White House.
He is a reflective, concerned Martí, a Martí who tries to understand a reality and then change it. From today he will accompany us for all times.
Today, July 1st, has seemed to us an appropriate date to formally inaugurate it with the company of all of you. On this day in 1889, the Golden Age came to light for the first time in New York, a publication that Martí dedicated to the formation of new generations, because “children are the hope of the World”.  Exactly 4 years ago, on July 1, 2015, through an exchange of letters between our governments, we announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, which became effective on July 20 with the reopening of our embassy.
In the conversations that were then established on a plane of equality and reciprocity between our authorities, the sense of dignity and the revolutionary work of the most universal of all Cubans was present.
It is our pleasure to present to you Dr. Aisha Cort, professor of Cuban origin at Howard University and friend Cheryl LaBash of the movement of solidarity with Cuba, who will also refer to the significance of the inauguration of this statue.
Thank you all very much.
Words of Dr. Aisha Z. Cort
Reflections on Martí
My education of Martí comes from the house. As a child here in the United States, it was very important to my Cuban mother that I knew the figure of José Martí, not only as a poet, or “Guantanamera man” (as I called him), but as an iconic figure and key in contemporary Cuban history.
José Martí was a writer, activist, intellectual, journalist, but more than anything, he was a revolutionary. He was a fighter committed to Cuba’s independence from Spain.
He was also dedicated to the development and progress of Cuba not only as a political entity but also in terms of the essential development of a definitely Cuban mentality and imagination. He believed that the Cuban nation was like a living being and that it could be an independent country composed of a multitude of people, experiences and realities united by the principles of an independent Cuba. Also part of his project was to establish and strengthen links between the members of the Cuban community and also between the Cuban people and their allies in Latin America, Europe and the United States, which is why today, and the dedication of this statue, is such an important day.
In Cuba there are not many places; squares, schools, hospitals, universities that do NOT have a designated space for a reminder, whether it is a monument, a bust, a statue, a name, something that pays homage to the figure of José Martí. As the National Hero, José Martí is synonymous with the Cuban people and is the symbol that unites us wherever we are.
Between his birth in 1853 and his death in 1895 at the beginning of the Cuban War of Independence, his dedication to a free Cuba took him prisoner, exiled, harassed, but he was also inspired, respected, loved and honored by Cubans inside and outside the island who were pro-independence. He wrote hundreds (or thousands) of articles, essays, poetry, speeches, discussing the case for Cuba’s independence.
Through his travels, writing, speeches and interactions with various Latin American countries, Europe and the United States he inspired and organized several branches of the Cuban community. And the most important of these branches, for this event today, the Cuban community of the United States who played a decisive role in achieving independence from Cuba.
The United States served as a land of refuge and also of a prolific nature to foster crucial ties between Cuba and the Cuban community in the United States. Through readings, and meetings, his relationships with tobacco factory workers in Tampa and workers in New York inspired his ideology about what it meant to be “Cuban.” He observed that despite the distances, members of the Cuban community in the United States remained Cuban. They were living examples of the fact that being Cuban was more than belonging to a territory, it was composed of a way of being and a spirit, and an untouchable Cubanness.
The pure existence of the Cuban community, especially in the United States, emphasized for Martí the unique, persistent and inimitable character of the Cuban people. And I would say that Martí was very helpful in formalizing the ideas that would serve as the basis of ideology for the modern and independent Cuban nation.
So José Martí, in his social work, in his efforts as a journalist, intellectual, activist, revolutionary, served not only as the point of contact between our countries but also as a cultural and literal (symbolic) bridge between worlds, ideas and transitions. And his legacy abounds.
And that is why it is appropriate and necessary for this statue to be installed here at the Cuban Embassy in the United States. May it serve as a visible and tangible symbol of the ties that have existed for more than a century between Cuba and the United States, and also between Cubans on the Island and the Cuban community in the United States. May it commemorate our deep and lasting relations and also the identity that has been maintained, grown and shared through the untouchable Cuban spirit that José Martí promoted.
Remarks by Cheryl LaBash
What having a statue of Marti here means to the solidarity movement
Today José Martí –revolutionary Cuba hero- stands on 16th Street in Washington, DC, at the entrance to the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, a building that has belonged to the Cuban people for 100 years. As tough and dangerous as our world is today –the battle is definitely not over- we are winning.
Winning in what the historical leader and always Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro called the battle of ideas. Martí’s ideas: “With all, for the good of all”. “Homeland is Humanity”, unity, equality, internationalism, solidarity and human dignity.
Harsher travel measures had unintended consequences: heightened general consciousness about Cuba and the blockade. It strengthened our movement with new ears to hear us and new hands to work alongside us.
The resoluteness of the Cuban people and Party and the global solidarity movement has brought us to this moment. We remember:
Fidel embraced so warmly at Harlem’s Hotel Theresa, Elian González returned to his Cuban father, Venceremos Brigade’s 50 years defying U.S. travel bans, 30 Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravans insisting, hunger striking. They can’t roll back December 17, 5 years ago when the Cuban came home free.
And we cannot and will not ever forget revolutionary Cuba’s internationalism with the people of the United States and its example converting former military bases to schools from Moncada to the Latin American School of Medicine. The medical brigade 1586 strong mobilized to save lives in New Orleans after the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, named for Henry Reeve, the U.S. citizen and Civil War veteran who fought and died fighting for Cuban Independence.
José Martí represents the bonds of solidarity between the people of the U.S. and Cuba. They are historic, unbreakable and will be victorious.

Descendants of Batista’s henchmen look to be “compensated” under the Helms-Burton Act

Posted by on Jun 14, 2019 in Latest News | Comments Off on Descendants of Batista’s henchmen look to be “compensated” under the Helms-Burton Act

Digital totalitarianism?

Posted by on Jun 14, 2019 in Latest News | Comments Off on Digital totalitarianism?

Cuban FM Denounces Worsening of US Blockade

Posted by on Jun 13, 2019 in Latest News | Comments Off on Cuban FM Denounces Worsening of US Blockade

Cuban FM Denounces Worsening of US Blockade

altHavana, June 4 ( Prensa Latina) Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno RodrIguez has denounced on Tuesday that tightening and extraterritorial application of the US economic, financial and commercial blockade is an attack on international law and the sovereignty of States.

Rodriguez posted on Twitter that this policy is the main impediment to our development and a flagrant violation of the human rights of all Cubans.

The total blockade against Cuba officially began in February 1962, under John Kennedy’s presidency (1961-1963), although since 1959 Washington had been applying that strategy under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

This policy is considered in international law as an act of war and seeks to choke the economic and social development of Cuba, according to denunciations of its authorities.

The report ‘Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba’, which extends from April 2017 to March 2018, states that the blockade has caused Cuba losses estimated at 4.321 billion dollars.

The effects on foreign trade at this stage amount to 3.343 billion dollars, according to the document presented by Cuba each year to the United Nations.

At the same time, the damage accumulated-over almost 60 years amounts to 933,678 billion dollars, taking into account the weakening of the dollar against the gold value in the international market.

At current prices, the blockade has caused quantifiable damages of nearly 134.5 billion dollars.

Since 1992, the Cuban initiative has had majority support in the General Assembly, the main decision-making body of the United Nations.

Last November 1, in the 27th vote, the United Nations document had the support of 189 of its 193 member states.

However, the current administration of Republican Donald Trump has tightened this policy with new actions such as the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which codifies the blockade.


Cuba is not intimidated by measures adopted to reinforce the blockade

Posted by on Jun 13, 2019 in Latest News | Comments Off on Cuba is not intimidated by measures adopted to reinforce the blockade

Photo: Jorge Luis González

The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba repudiates, in the strongest terms, measures announced by the United States government on June 4, 2019, reinforcing the economic blockade imposed on Cuba for more than 60 years, at a cost to the Cuban economy that in 2018 exceeded 134 billion dollars at current prices, or 933 billion dollars, when considering the depreciation of the dollar as compared to the value of gold on the international market.As is known, this new escalation, effective June 5, further strengthens the stringent restrictions U.S. citizens face in order to travel to Cuba, and adds full prohibitions on travel by sea from the United States, of all types, and prohibits cruise ship stops in our country immediately.The objective continues to be pressuring the Cuban nation to make political concessions, by strangling the economy and causing damage at the population’s level. In this particular case, the measures also seek to prevent the people of the United States from learning about Cuba’s reality, and thus undermining the slanderous propaganda campaigns against our country that are fabricated on a daily basis.

These actions are contrary to the majority opinion of U.S. citizens, whose interest in seeing Cuba, and exercising their right to travel, is made clear by the

650,000 who visited us in 2018, along with half a million Cubans resident in the United States.

This past April 17, National Security Adviser John Bolton, on the occasion of an anti-Cuban show that featured the presence of mercenaries defeated at Playa Girón and relatives of the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship’s henchmen, announced that his government would restrict non-family trips to Cuba. It is clear that this individual has managed to take possession of U.S. foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere, which constitutes the main threat to peace and stability in the entire region.The United States promotes the Monroe Doctrine without reservation, with which it seeks to deny sovereign equality and the right to self-determination of each and every one of the hemisphere’s nations.

The recent attacks on Cuba are justified with new pretexts. The most notorious among them is the slanderous accusation that Cuba is intervening militarily in Venezuela, a lie that has been publicly and consistently refuted by the Cuban government.

They go to the unscrupulous extreme of proposing that Cuba betray the convictions and principles that guide the Cuban Revolution’s foreign policy, in exchange for promises of negotiations or easing of the draconian and criminal measures that make up the blockade.

Cuba’s solidarity with constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros, the Bolivarian Chavista Revolution, and the civic-military union of its people is not negotiable. The more than 20,000 Cuban collaborators, who in a voluntary and disinterested manner offer their social services in the country, the majority in health care, will continue to do so, as long as the Venezuela people want, cooperating with this sister country.

For Cubans, betrayal is not an option. We are not naive: we have already struggled 150 years for our independence, obliged to confront the hegemonic ambitions of U.S. imperialism since the first day.Cuba will not be intimidated, nor distracted from the essential, urgent tasks of developing our economy and the construction of socialism. Closely united, we will be able to face the most challenging adversities. They cannot asphyxiate us, nor can they stop us.

Havana, June 5, 2019

Cuba has Guarantees for Investors against Helms-Burton Law

Posted by on Jun 13, 2019 in Latest News | Comments Off on Cuba has Guarantees for Investors against Helms-Burton Law

Cuba has Guarantees for Investors against Helms-Burton Law

altHavana, Jun 7 (Prensa Latina) Cuba has legal guarantees that protect foreign investors against the application of Tittle III of the anti-Cuban Helms Burton Law, an authorized source reiterated Friday.

According to statements made to the Cubadebate website by Deborah Rivas, Director of Foreign Investment at Cuba’s Foreign Trade Ministry, security for foreign business is based on three fundamental norms.

The first of these, she said, is present in Article 28 of the Constitution of the Republic, which explicitly states that the State fosters and provides guarantees to foreign investment, as an important element for the economic development of the country, based on the protection and rational use of human and natural resources, as well as respect for national sovereignty and independence.

He also referred to Law 118 of 2014 or Foreign Investment Law, which states in one of its articles that investments are protected in the country against claims by third parties that conform to the law or the extraterritorial application of laws of other states, in accordance with Cuban laws and as provided by national courts.

Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which came into force on May 2, establishes the authorization for U.S. nationals to file lawsuits against foreigners before US courts for alleged trafficking in property that was nationalized in 1960 in Cuba.

So far, according to sources from the Cuban Foreign Ministry, four lawsuits have been filed.

One of the company Exxon Mobile against the national Union Cuba-Petroleum (Cupet) and the Corporation Cimex S.A, two against the American cruise line Carnival and one against the Cuban Grand Caribbean, Cubanacan, Cimex and Gaviota for a hotel in Cienfuegos, in the center-south zone in Cuba.

Pastors for Peace sends Trump administration a strong message

Posted by on Jun 13, 2019 in Latest News | Comments Off on Pastors for Peace sends Trump administration a strong message


Pastors for Peace sends Trump administration a strong message

The group’s solidarity caravan conveys a clear message to the U.S. – and the world – challenging the hostile policy toward Cuba being followed by the current government


Reverend Raúl Suárez, from Ebenezer Baptist Church in the Havana municipality of Marianao, emphasized the importance of the Cuba-U.S. Friendship Caravan project organized by Pastors for Peace to the struggle against the blockade. Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

Cuba’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ana Silvia Rodríguez, stated that the Pastors for Peace solidarity caravan this year is of great relevance, since it is taking place during a difficult period for relations between Cuba and the United States, amidst escalating U.S. sanctions on Cuba.

According to Prensa Latina, the work of Caravan participants is sending a clear message to the United States and the rest of the world, challenging the hostile policies of the current administration, the Cuban diplomat said during a solidarity event held in New York.

Anti-Cuban leaders have learned nothing over these years of resistance, she added, our people will not surrender to pressure or threats. Now Washington is tightening the siege of Cuba, increasing aggressive measures, re-activating the Helms-Burton Act’s Title III, for example.

Restrictions on travel to the island have been increased, “Perhaps they are afraid that the U.S. people will learn the true reality of my country,” the ambassador observed.

Since 1992, when the Pastors for Peace Caravans began, Caravan organizers and participants have faced the harassment of the different U.S.

administrations and forces hostile to the normalization of relations between the two countries. Caravan activists have overcome thousands of obstacles, making great sacrifices to deliver solidarity support to Cuba, recalled Rodríguez, Cuba’s alternate permanent representative to the United Nations.

The executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization-Pastors for Peace, Gail Walker, noted that the solidarity work they do allows them to debunk misinformation and lies spread by the Donald Trump administration.

The Caravan’s travels around the continental U.S. are taking place early in June this year, rescheduled to better meet their goals since the Venceremos Brigade organized by U.S. and Puerto Rican activists will be in Cuba to commemorate its 50th anniversary in July, she reported.

The travel license system imposed by the White House is meant to “control what we do, where we go (…), so we will travel without a license, love is our only license,” Walker insisted.

“Ours is a labor of love toward our friends in Cuba, reflecting our commitment to the cause of ending the blockade,” she concluded.

In addition to bringing solidarity aid to Cuba, the Pastors for Peace caravans, under the guidance of the unforgettable Reverend Lucius Walker, was founded with the objective of challenging the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, which the U.S. has maintained for almost 60 years.

NNOC Fall Meeting: Save the Date 10/18/19-10/22/19

Posted by on Jun 11, 2019 in Latest News | Comments Off on NNOC Fall Meeting: Save the Date 10/18/19-10/22/19

As discussed in our members conference call of June, 2019, the Fall, 2019 meeting of the National Network On Cuba will take place in Washington, DC during the weekend of October 18, 2019. We anticipate a Friday evening reception on October 18 with the business meeting to follow on Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20.  We are also planning 2 additional days of Congressional visits and advocacy on Monday and Tuesday October 21 and 22 for those interested in meeting with elected representative and staff.

We will send more information as the complete schedule becomes available.

NNOC Statement on Travel Restrictions

Posted by on Jun 11, 2019 in Latest News | Comments Off on NNOC Statement on Travel Restrictions

The United States’ June 4 announcement ending “people to people” educational group travel and cruise ship travel to Cuba continues the Trump policy of punishing countries that insist on their rights to sovereignty and self-determination. This change was predicted in Bolton’s April 17 Miami address to Bay of Pigs mercenaries.

Each restriction imposed by the U.S. negatively impacts the ability and rights of people of both nations to interact in respectful and meaningful ways. It is directed at strangling the Cuban economy. Regarding the extraterritorial nature of the blockade, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez wrote: “It is the main obstacle to our development and a flagrant violation of the human rights of all Cubans.”

The National Network On Cuba (NNOC) joins many national and international organizations in condemning this most recent assault as well as all of the U.S. actions against not only Cuba but the region’s other nations. We also reiterate our confidence in the will of the Cuban people to withstand this latest violation of the rights of travel and interchanges between Cubans and people from the U.S. Cuba has persisted and developed despite 60 plus years of U.S. campaigns of aggression and hostility. Cuba has earned the admiration and respect of the peoples of the world due to its generosity in areas of health, education, and human relations.

We call on the people of the United States to join us in our demand that elected officials act now to end this policy and all restrictions on travel, especially the thousands who have travelled to Cuba on “people to people” educational trips, and the 800,000 whose cruise plans were ripped up. It is a disgrace that people from the United States are denied the fundamental rights of travel and association.

We, the people of the United States will continue to travel to Cuba and to advocate for an end to ALL travel restrictions. Representatives of the Cuban government are warmly welcomed across this country. City Councils, State Legislatures and other elected representatives have passed and are planning to pass resolutions calling on Congress to end the blockade of Cuba. Poll after poll show that even in Florida, the people of the U.S. want normalized relations with Cuba.

It is time to end the blockade and allow Cuba to develop in its own way and according to its own decisions; not as dictated by 60 years of U.S. administrations.

NNOC Message to the Canadian Network On Cuba Convention

Posted by on Jun 9, 2019 in Latest News | Comments Off on NNOC Message to the Canadian Network On Cuba Convention

June 3, 2019


Dear Friends and Members of the Canadian Network On Cuba,


The National Network on Cuba (NNOC) in the United States sends greetings of solidarity, friendship, and struggle to all participating in the bi-annual Canadian Network on Cuba convention. It is unfortunate that we cannot attend this timely and important conference and participate on the panel on “Canada-Cuba-US Relations,” Nonetheless, we send our commitment to continue working with you to end the unilateral U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.


During recent times we clearly see the United States policy to destroy not only the Cuban Revolution but also to interfere with the sovereignty and self-determination of our neighbors as evidenced by the outrageous actions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and their democratically elected President, Nicolás Maduro.


We continue to organize opposition to the illegal and cruel U.S. blockade of Cuba, the travel ban, the occupation of the Guantanamo territory, and the Helms Burton law including the recently implemented Title III provisions.


We join you in these struggles and support the numerous actions that your Network organizes. Also, we would like to invite you to the 2019 membership meeting of the NNOC in Washington, DC. Which will take place tentatively during the weekend of October 18-20, 2019 and will send complete details soon.


We are confident that we will meet again at the 8th Hemispheric Anti-Imperialist Meeting of Solidarity, for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism which will be held in Havana, Cuba from November 1 to the 3rd 2019.


We join together in recognizing and thanking the Cuban Revolution for showing us by their actions that a better world is possible and necessary.


In Solidarity,


NNOC Co-Chairs

Nalda Vigezzi

Alicia Jrapko

Banbose Shango

Cheryl LaBash

Gail Walker