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

US Speaking Tour of Cuban filmmaker Eric Corvalan Pelle in April, 2019

Posted by on Dec 7, 2018 in Latest News, Member Organizations | Comments Off on US Speaking Tour of Cuban filmmaker Eric Corvalan Pelle in April, 2019

Hello again to various member groups of the NNOC

Just writing to remind you about the proposed visit to Seattle of Cuban filmmaker Eric Corvalan Pelle  in April.

This visit will be going ahead – with him coming to Seattle first and then available for travel elsewhere afterwards.  So far there has been possible interest from Chicago, Minneapolis and Milwaukee.  We hope to have a copy or copies of his films available by the beginning of January.

As before – if you are interested please contact Seattle based Cindy Domingo from the US Women and Cuba Collaboration   [email protected]

John Waller


On Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 10:08 PM john waller <[email protected]> wrote:

Hi all

I am just following up on the document I talked about and circulated at the NNOC conference about a proposed visit to the US in April 2019 of Cuban film maker Eric Corvalan Pelle.  Below is the actual document and attached is his CV. If you are interested in discussing having him visit your city please contact Cindy Domingo from the US Women and Cuba Collaboration who is based in Seattle  [email protected]

John Waller

US Speaking tour by Cuban filmmaker Eric Corvalan Pelle – April 2019


Eric M. Corvalán Pelle, an award-winning Cuban filmmaker, is being invited to visit Seattle in April as a guest of US Women and Cuba Collaboration and Seattle-Cuba Friendship Committee.  We are excited to bring Eric Corvalán and his film, Race/Raza to the Seattle area and we are seeking possible other cities for Mr. Corvalán to tour.


Race (Raza): A Cuban Documentary in Colors (2009) is one of the films Corvalan will be screening.  Alternating opinions expressed by everyday citizens with interviews of prominent Cuban intellectuals and artists, the 35-minute film explores what Cubans think and believe about race, including about racial discrimination in Cuba and the unacknowledged debt owed to Cubans of African descent. Set against the successes of the Revolution, the film courageously addresses the difficult debate over how a revolutionary society can persevere in tackling the unfinished work of bringing social justice to each and every one of its members.  Corvalan has continued to work on the issues of race/racism in Cuba as a member of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba.

Eric Corvalán’s other documentary that he will bring with him for screening is called Huellas (Footprints) 2018, about violence against women.


Corvalán is a native of Cuba whose heritage is Chilean and French. He appears frequently at international and domestic conferences and film festivals to screen his films, participate on panels, and present keynote addresses related to his film projects and interests, which currently include explorations of race, and gender and family violence.  Corvalán has a degree in Audiovisual Communication (Film, Radio and Television) from Havana’s Higher Institute of Art, and his current professional focus is on producing independent documentaries. He is a member of UNEAC (National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba), the National Audiovisual Association in Cuba, SGAE (General Society of Authors and Publishers, in Spain), and a General Campaign of the UN: Join to End Violence Against Women.  He is currently working on a book, Raza: Chronicles of a Filming. Further details about his films, awards and professional work are available in his attached Spanish-language curriculum vitae.


Cities who are interested in hosting Corvalan will be responsible for a portion of the travel costs  which will be determined based on the total travel tour costs.  US Women and Cuba Collaboration pays their speakers a range of $100 – $250/event depending on the size of the event.


Members of US Women and Cuba Collaboration will be traveling to Cuba in December to discuss this tour with Corvalan.  If you are interested, please email Cindy Domingo at [email protected]

The US State Department uses the granting of visas to affect diplomatic relations with Cuba

Posted by on Dec 7, 2018 in Latest News | Comments Off on The US State Department uses the granting of visas to affect diplomatic relations with Cuba

The US State Department uses the granting of visas to affect diplomatic relations with Cuba

Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba. November 28, 2018.

During the past few months, the US State Department has been concocting a new pretext to affect bilateral diplomatic relations, associated to the granting of the diplomatic and official visas required by the staff of the respective embassies in Washington and Havana to perform their duties.  The maneuver consists in claiming that Cuba is hindering the granting of visas for designated officials at the US embassy in Cuba, which allegedly hinders the work of that diplomatic mission.

In doing so, the State Department deliberately conceals the fact that it was the US government the one that, unilaterally, decided to downsize its staff in Havana in September, 2017, including particularly the staff in charge of consular services, with the consequent encumbrance for Cuban and US citizens who depend on those services. The US government was the one which decided to arbitrarily and unjustly expel 15 Cuban diplomatic officials from the Cuban embassy in Washington in October of that same year.

Since that date, the work of both diplomatic missions has been affected by these unilateral decisions.  Likewise, the granting of the visas required by the staff of the respective embassies has been subject to whimsical approvals and delays by the State Department.

Data speak for themselves.  Since the end of September, 2017, the US government has only granted 26 visas and denied 6 for the staff required by Cuba at its embassy in Washington.  During that same period, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba has granted 105 visas for the temporary and permanent diplomatic and administrative staff of the US embassy in Havana, and has only denied one in reciprocity for the actions taken by the State Department.  This is a clearly unbalanced behavior which is not in accord with the standards of reciprocity that are considered an essential practice in diplomatic relations.

To accuse Cuba of creating an unsustainable situation for the work of the US embassy is a flagrant distortion of the truth.  The Cuban government is not responsible for the instability and irregularity generated unilaterally by the US government that affects the work of the diplomatic missions of both countries in the respective capitals.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still willing to meet the requirements of both parties for the functioning of the respective embassies on the basis of reciprocity.

Havana, November 28, 2018.


Cuba Remembers Fidel Castro’s Conception of Medical Cooperation

Posted by on Dec 7, 2018 in Tributes to Fidel | Comments Off on Cuba Remembers Fidel Castro’s Conception of Medical Cooperation

Cuba Remembers Fidel Castro’s Conception of Medical Cooperation

Fidel Castro’s Legacy Highlighted in South Africa

Posted by on Dec 7, 2018 in Tributes to Fidel | Comments Off on Fidel Castro’s Legacy Highlighted in South Africa

Fidel Castro’s Legacy Highlighted in South Africa

The economic battle continues to be our principal task

Posted by on Dec 7, 2018 in Latest News | Comments Off on The economic battle continues to be our principal task

The economic battle continues to be our principal task

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel insisted on prioritizing the economy, during a meeting of the Council of Ministers to analyze the country’s economic performance this year and prospects for 2019

Photo: Estudios Revolución

The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, reiterated during a recent Council of Ministers meeting that the Revolution’s main task continues to be the economic battle, given the impact it has on the Cuban people’s wellbeing.

We must be more rigorous in our planning, which means reinforcing bodies charged with responsibility for economic affairs at all levels. It is imperative to create strong work teams to propose solutions and study alternatives. We must take advantage of the talent of academics and researchers in the area of economics and consider the proposals they make, Díaz-Canel stated.

He also emphasized the role of state enterprises and their harmonious relations with the non-state sector, which has been defined as complementary to the economy and needs to be provided a legal framework.

He reiterated the relevance of concepts emphasized by the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee’s First Secretary, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, about not spending more than we have as income, and not assuming commitments that we are not able to honor on time.


As of the close of 2018, estimates indicate that the Cuban economy experienced slight growth, according to the Minister of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil Fernández, who during the meeting reported that commerce, telecommunications, manufacturing, public health, and social services were among the best performing sectors, while others such as the sugar industry, agriculture, construction, and mining did not meet projections.

The economic situation this year, he said, has been determined by a tense financial situation, affected by shortfalls in export revenue from activities such as tourism, sugar production, and medical services, linked in many cases to the effects of extreme weather events.

Added to this is an adverse international context, marked by the tightening of the blockade, in particular heightened financial persecution, as a result of the setback in relations between Cuba and the United States

Amidst these tensions, he stated, the Cuban economy did not contract, and, for example, the housing construction plan was met with more than 29,000 dwellings completed as the year ends, as a result of both government programs and individual efforts by the population.

Likewise, he reported, communications services, including cellular phone lines and internet access, increased.

The Minister said that for 2019, “a realistic, achievable plan,” has been developed, “that guarantees development and growth, strengthening the utilization of internal reserves,” with a focus on support for prioritized services for the population, maintaining supplies of basic products, and a greater variety of product lines in retail stores.

Increasing income from exports and strengthening domestic industry are a priority, he stated, with a view toward replacing imports of finished goods via the the importing of intermediate resources, supplies, and materials to take better advantage of the country’s internal capacity.

Another front of prioritized attention is strict adherence to investment project plans and timelines, to guarantee that financial resources are recuperated and projected benefits obtained, as soon as possible.

The proposed 2019 Economic Plan ensures the availability of resources aimed at increasing production and development programs in sectors such as energy, tourism, industry, and agriculture.The Minister stressed that next year’s Plan reflects the basic premises of not taking on more debt than we are capable of repaying; assuring Gross Domestic Product growth; and moving forward with development efforts.


Next on the meeting’s agenda, Meisi Bolaños Weiss, deputy minister of Finances and Prices, presented an estimated balance sheet of the 2018 State Budget, which indicates that planned gross revenue will be surpassed.

She then presented a draft proposal for the 2019 budget, based on the principle of maintaining its social character, supporting social policies and comprehensive development programs in provinces and municipalities.

She assured that similar funding, with respect to the 2018 estimate, is to be maintained for state-supported activities, guaranteeing basic services to the population with special attention to Education and Public Health, to which 51% of the budget is directed.Bolaños stressed that the state budget provides funds for important benefits such as pensions and social security; as well as programs addressing the country’s changing demographics; subsidies for construction materials; and Tarea Vida, responding to challenges posed by climate change.

Referring to allocations to support non-budgeted activities, she emphasized efforts to promote greater efficiency and rational use of resources in the state enterprise sector and the need to eliminate the practice of planning expenditures with extra margins.

She noted that to achieve projections in a strict, efficient manner requires all actors in the economy to use their reserves and generate greater contributions to the budget, exercising greater control over the destination and rational use of funds.

Reporting next was María del Carmen Pérez Hernández, general director of the Sierra Maestra Science, Technology, and Innovation Center, who explained that the staff is continuing projects which the Comandante en Jefe developed during the last years of his life, focused on investigation, development, production, and distribution of products for the agro-industrial, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries, among others.

She pointed out that, based on a design by Fidel himself, the center works under the principle of consolidating research results and production of experimental items, to maintain a closed cycle, on the basis of which it is possible to implement a program of productive and commercial development.

The development of scientific projects, she said, includes all of the country’s ministries and leaders of Cuban scientific institutions, indicating that the entity takes advantage of all the scientific-technological ability created by the Revolution to ensure greater and better advances in these projects, which include Moringa as a nutritional supplement; alternative animal feeds with high-protein content; silk making; the production of raw materials for the concentrate industry; and Sacha Inchi. Several of these products were displayed at the meeting.

President Díaz-Canel reiterated the priority given these projects and stressed, “Giving continuity to the Comandante en Jefe’s ideas has allowed for the processing of raw materials and obtaining products that can replace imports, as well as the small-scale fabrication of other new products.”

Declaration from the Ministry of Public Health

Posted by on Nov 19, 2018 in Latest News | Comments Off on Declaration from the Ministry of Public Health

Declaration from the Ministry of Public Health

Jair Bolsonaro, president elect of Brazil, who has made direct, contemptuous and threatening comments against the presence of our doctors, has declared and reiterated that he will modify the terms and conditions of the More Doctors program , disregarding the Pan-American Health Organization

The Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Cuba, committed to the solidarity and humanist principles that have guided Cuba’s medical cooperation for 55 years, has been participating in Brazil’s “More Doctors” program since its inception in August of 2013. This initiative launched by Dilma Rousseff, who was at that time the president of the Federal Republic of Brazil, pursued the noble purpose of guaranteeing medical assistance to the majority of the Brazilian people, following the principle of universal health coverage promoted by the World Health Organization.

The program had planned the inclusion of Brazilian and foreign doctors who would work in poor and remote areas of the country.

Cuba’s participation in this program was arranged through the Pan-American Health Organization with one distinctive feature: it was intended to fill the vacancies left by doctors from Brazil and other foreign nations.

During these five years of work, some 20 000 Cuban collaborators have assisted 113,359,000 patients in more than 3,600 municipalities. They were able to provide health coverage to a vast 60 million Brazilians, when they accounted for 80% of all the doctors who were taking part in the program. More than 700 municipalities were able to have a doctor for the first time ever.

The work of Cuban doctors in areas of extreme poverty, in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia, and the 34 Special Indigenous Districts, particularly in Amazonia, was widely recognized by federal, state, and municipal governments of that country and its population, 95% of which expressed their acceptance, according to a survey carried out by the Federal University of Minas Gerais at the request of the Ministry of Health of Brazil.

On September 27, 2016, the Ministry of Public Health, in an official statement issued on a day close to the expiration date of the agreement and amidst the events associated to the legislative and judicial coup d’ etat against president Dilma Rousseff, announced that Cuba “would continue to honor its agreement with the Pan-American Health Organization for the implementation of the Program More Doctors, providedthat the guarantees offered by local authorities were maintained”, something that has been so far respected.

Jair Bolsonaro, president elect of Brazil, who has made direct, contemptuous and threatening comments against the presence of our doctors, has declared and reiterated that he will modify the terms and conditions of the Program More Doctors, in full disregard of the Pan-American Health Organization and the agreement reached by this organization with Cuba, since he has questioned the qualification of our doctors and has conditioned their permanence in the program to a process of validation of their titles and established that contracts will only be signed on an individual basis.

The announced modifications impose conditions that are unacceptable and fail to ensure the guarantees that had been previously agreed upon since the beginning of the Program, which were ratified in 2016 with the re-negotiation of the Terms of Cooperation between The Pan-American Health Organization and the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the Cooperation Agreement between the Pan-American Health Organization and the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba. These unacceptable conditions make it impossible to maintain the presence of Cuban professionals in the Program.

Consequently, in the light of this unfortunate reality, the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba has decided to discontinue its participation in the Program More Doctors and has informed so to the Director of the Pan-American Health Organization and the political leaders of Brazil who founded and defended this initiative.

The decision to bring into question the dignity, professionalism and altruism of Cuban cooperation workers who, with the support of their families, are currently offering their services in 67 countries is unacceptable. During the last 55 years, a total of 600 000 internationalist missions have been accomplished in 164 nations, with the participation of 400 000 health workers who, in quite a few cases, have fulfilled this honorable task more than once. Their feats in the struggle against the Ebola virus in Africa, blindness in Latin America and the Caribbean and cholera in Haiti as well as the participation of 26 brigades of the International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disaster Situations and Great Epidemics “Henry Reeve” in Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, among other countries, are worthy of praise.

In the overwhelming majority of the missions that have been accomplished, all expenses have been covered by the Cuban government.

Likewise, 35 613 health professionals from 138 countries have been trained in Cuba at absolutely no cost as an expression of our solidarity and internationalist vocation.

All Cuban cooperation workers have preserved their posts and their full salary in Cuba, together with all due labor and social benefits, just as the rest of the workers of the National Health System.

The experience of the Program More Doctors for Brazil and Cuba’s participation in it show that it is indeed possible to structure a South-South Cooperation Program under the auspices of the Pan-American Health Organization in order to promote the achievement of its goals in our region. The United Nations Development Program and the World Health Organization have described it as the main example of good practices in triangular cooperation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

The peoples from Our America and from all over the world know that they will always be able to count on the solidarity and humanistic vocation of our professionals.

The Brazilian people, who turned the Program More Doctors into a social achievement and, from the very beginning,has trusted Cuban doctors, recognized their virtues and appreciated the respect, sensitivity and professionalism with which they have assisted them, will understand who are to be held responsible for our doctors’not being able to continue offering their fraternal contribution in that country.

Havana, November 14, 2018.

Cuba-Massachusetts relations — the journey continues

Posted by on Nov 19, 2018 in Latest News | Comments Off on Cuba-Massachusetts relations — the journey continues

Cuba-Massachusetts relations — the journey continues

By James P. McGovern and José Ramón Cabañas   November 09, 2018

This weekend, JetBlue began a new direct flight between Boston Logan Airport and Havana’s José Martí Airport.

The new route brings with it new opportunities for increased collaboration and cooperation between the people of Massachusetts and Cuba — but it also serves as a reminder that relations between our two nations are still hamstrung by a decades-old embargo that has outlived its original purpose and impedes progress in both our homelands.

The majority of Americans — particularly Cuban-Americans — and Cubans, as well as nearly every other country in the world, believe the US embargo should end. Its continuation isolates the United States from the rest of the world and our partners throughout the hemisphere. Only Congress can change this, and we believe now is the time for bold, decisive action to end the embargo once and for all.

Bipartisan bills to facilitate more agricultural sales to Cuba, end US travel restrictions, and lift the embargo have been introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The next Congress should move one or more of these bills forward. And we think the longstanding relationship between Massachusetts and Cuba can serve as a blueprint for our two countries to rediscover each other and learn from the mistakes of the past. Working together, the people of Massachusetts and Cuba can only benefit from continued engagement and partnership with one another.

Over a century ago, nearly 1,300 Cuban schoolteachers spent the summer studying at Harvard University, implementing what they learned to strengthen the Cuban public school system. A century later, in April 2000, Representatives Joe Moakley of Boston and Jim McGovern of Worcester brought leadership and faculty members from 21 universities and colleges across Massachusetts to Cuba, where they explored the possibility of academic exchange, research, and student study abroad programs.

US-Cuba relations must continue to move forward

We’ve simply come too far to turn back now.

The relationship between the people of Cuba and Massachusetts is deep and sincere. Education has always been a key element of our partnership, but research, commerce, and tourism have played their part as well.

Investors from Massachusetts were involved in the Cuban sugar industry. The Arnold Arboretum supported a botanical garden in Cienfuegos for many years. And for decades, travelers from Massachusetts vacationed in Cuba, and well-to-do Cubans studied and taught at Massachusetts universities.

After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the ban on trade and travel imposed in the early 1960s broke these ties. The Cold War embargo sought to isolate Cuba and damage its economy; but too often we fail to remember that the break severed longstanding ties and hurt Massachusetts too.


Slowly, those ties are being rebuilt. Cold War tensions faded — although the ban on travel and trade, though intermittently eased, has never been removed. Academic ties have begun to grow as US administrations let Cuban scholars come to Massachusetts universities, and US scholars visit Cuba. The easing of the ban on student exchanges allowed Massachusetts schools to rebuild study abroad programs, so that today over a dozen colleges, universities, and study-abroad programs in the Commonwealth send students to Cuba. Recently, Northeastern University launched a co-op program in Cuba. And the number of Cuban graduate students and professors at Massachusetts universities is slowly growing.

One specific initiative each of us has been deeply engaged in is the effort to conserve and restore the Cuban home of American author and icon Ernest Hemingway, called Finca Vigia. A group of American scholars, conservators, architects, building trades, and other experts worked with their Cuban counterparts — inside and outside government — to save this precious piece of shared history. The late Jenny Phillips, granddaughter of Hemingway’s editor Max Perkins, was instrumental in our effort. For over a decade, Cubans and Americans labored together, despite the embargo, to bring Hemingway’s home back to life before it was lost forever.

While the United States blockade continues to prohibit most trade with Cuba, Massachusetts businesses — including the state’s growing biotech, medical device, and medical research sectors — are looking to the future. Cuba is looking to expand trade and research with the United States and to open some areas to investment, and Massachusetts business leaders have visited Cuba to explore possibilities.

This doesn’t mean we won’t have our differences.

We know the Cuban and United States governments have different views on how to manage their economy, on what constitutes full democracy, on how to promote and respect human rights, and other issues. We believe that we can and should debate these differences, learn to understand each other better, and yes, be able to learn from one another.

The blockade makes no sense — it’s a remnant from the Cold War that needs to be discarded. It hurts the Cuban people and limits their potential to shape and participate in a more modern economy. It also limits US citizens from traveling and doing business where they choose.

The majority of Americans — particularly Cuban-Americans — and Cubans, as well as nearly every other country in the world, believe the US embargo should end.

We must continue working for better bilateral relations, with mutual goodwill and respect, for the benefit of our countries and peoples.

We hope this new JetBlue flight is one more step toward rebuilding relations and continuing the journey of discovery between Massachusetts and Cuba.

  • James P. McGovern is a US representative from Massachusetts. José Ramón Cabañas is Cuba’s ambassador to the United States.

Twitterstorm Friday, 11/16/18: “FIDEL AND SOLIDARITY AMONG THE PEOPLES”

Posted by on Nov 15, 2018 in Latest News | Comments Off on Twitterstorm Friday, 11/16/18: “FIDEL AND SOLIDARITY AMONG THE PEOPLES”

Twitterstorm Friday, 11/16/18:

November 16, 2018

The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) invites Cuban and friends of solidarity all over the world to join the twitterstorm  “FIDEL AND SOLIDARITY AMONG THE PEOPLES”.

We will be paying homage to the historic leader of the Revolution, paradigm of solidarity and internationalism, on the second anniversary of his physical disappearance (Birán, August 13, 1926 – Havana, November 25, 2016).

Using social networks the twitterstorm will take place on Friday, November 16, between 10:00-12:00 hours; and the messages will be broadcasted from our Facebook and Twitter accounts: @SiempreconCuba.
We will circulate messages with the labels # HastaSiempreComandante, #FidelCastro, #YoSoyFidel and #SolidaridadCuba.

As the Commander in Chief said at the ceremony commemorating the 32nd Anniversary of the landing of the “Granma,” on December 5, 1988: “To be an internationalist is to pay our own debt to humanity. Whoever is not capable of fighting for others, will never be capable enough of fighting for himself.”

NNOC Fall, 2018 Minneapolis Meeting Notes

Posted by on Nov 6, 2018 in Latest News | Comments Off on NNOC Fall, 2018 Minneapolis Meeting Notes

National Network on Cuba Meeting Notes

October 19-21, 2018

Minneapolis, Minnesota


The 2018 meeting of the National Network On Cuba was held on October 19-21, 2018 in Minneapolis. All events took place at Augsburg University. The Minnesota Cuba Committee worked along with members of the Augsburg faculty to provide excellent meeting space and resources. We were joined at all events by Miguel Fraga First Secretary of the Cuban Embassy in Washington DC. Unfortunately ICAP representatives were unable to participate in person due to the U.S. imposed difficulties in requesting and obtaining travel visas. Nonetheless, ICAP North American Director, Sandra Ramirez, was with us via a taped message in which she was able to express not only greetings but present some of the challenges and priorities for the coming period.


The weekend opened with a reception on Friday evening that included a presentation of Cuban poet Nicolas Guillen’s “No Sé Por Qué Piensas Tú” read by Augsburg Professor Michael Kidd, greetings from MN Congressman Emmer, and words from Secretary Fraga, Gary Prevost, of the Minnesota Cuba Committee, Gail Walker NNOC co-chair, and attended by NNOC delegates, members of the Augsburg community, local activists, and a city council representative.


Also participating in the events was the NNOC Treasurer, Don Goldhamer, who has conscientiously served in that capacity for over 25 years, and was attending meeting as his final as treasurer. We all are appreciative of his long service to the NNOC and to the Cuba solidarity movement.


The business meeting took place on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21 with voting representatives from 28 NNOC organizations among the approximately 60 attendees. There were also several Augsburg students and community activists present. Augsburg University faculty members; Sarah Degner Riveros and Mary Laurel True were with us for the weekend and were a great resource to all. Three groups applied for NNOC membership and were unanimously accepted: Witness for Peace, Autonomous University of Social Movements (AUSM), and Detroit Association of Black Organizations (DABO).


Election for co-chairs and treasurer was held and Cheryl LaBash, Alicia Jrapko, and Nalda Vigezzi for re-elected without opposition. John Waller will begin as Treasurer in January, 2019. Again, we thank Don Goldhamer for his many years of service as treasurer and for his contributions to the network.


The Financial Report was presented and accepted without comment. The bank balance prior to this meeting was $6336.


We then heard from Sandra Ramirez, North American Director of ICAP, via video presentation who talked about the challenges facing Cuba in the coming period, also the upcoming UN vote, the successful visit of President Diaz Canel to NYC and his meeting at the Riverside Church. Sandra sent information about travel opportunities during the upcoming anniversary of the Revolution and the founding of the City of Havana as well as encouraged participation in the May Day Brigade and the 50th Anniversary of the Venceremos Brigade.


This was followed by a presentation about the Venceremos Brigade’s 50 years of solidarity by Rachel Ibrahim, Justina Walker, and Malcolm Sacks of the VB.  Three travel options are being offered for this special travel challenge in July, 2019 and hopefully 300 people from the US will participate. Among the needs are funds and legal volunteers. An unexpected but successful $1000 match was generously offered by Tom Hanson of AUSM. Thanks to the matching grant the VB raised $2000 at the meeting.

The next panel focused on local and state resolutions against the blockade. There are currently 9 cities that have approved resolutions. Peter Miller talked about the process working with Brookline, MA town meeting and Lisa Valanti from Pittsburgh reviewed via skype their process and also proposed an umbrella committee to collect resolutions which she will help facilitate. Marcy Shapiro from the Minnesota Cuba Committee reported on their successful efforts. Charlie Serrano reported on his work with elected officials focusing on what we are missing by not having relations with Cuba and he will continue to identify Congressional members and key talking points. The proposal to form an umbrella group to work on resolutions at the local level was approved by a vote of 24 in favor and 3 opposed.


During the lunch period, a group met to discuss and form a subcommittee to develop a platform to allow members to better communicate. The proposal was approved by a vote of 19 in favor and none opposed.


Miguel Fraga, First Secretary of the Cuban Embassy then spoke about the need for more communication and information about Cuba and NNOC members ability to assist in that. The Embassy has lost 60% of the staff but can continue to achieve results through social media, university visits, etc. He talked about the new Cuban President and his visit to the U.S. as well as the process for the new Cuban Constitution which will be voted on in February, 2019. He mentioned the 73% of the U.S. population that support better relations and the ELAM graduates who upon returning to the U.S. as physicians can talk about their experiences. In May, 2018, 200 Cuban artists from all genres presented at the Kennedy Center in DC. There are important collaborations taking place in cancer and diabetic treatment, in culture, sports, and agriculture. There remains no proof or findings of the “sonic attacks.” The new Constitution was drafted, approved by the National Assembly, and is being analyzed and discussed across the island before the February, 2019 referendum. The Constitution will provide for new governmental structure, presidential term limits, marriage equality, among other changes. At present, although there is a great public will in the U.S. for better relations, legislation in Congress is not a priority for elected officials.


The following panel: “A Dialogue on Race” included perspectives from Alberto Jones who stated that Cuban citizens see themselves first as Cuban and then as Blacks and pointed out that there has been more progress in the past 50 years than the previous 500. He gave an example of an Afro-Cuban Guantanamo family whose members have been able to attain careers as doctors and engineers, etc. something unthinkable prior to the Revolution. Rosemari Mealy spoke via skype and emphasized that the topic of race should be part of delegations’ programs in Cuba. She talked about the history of white supremacy in Cuba and that the Revolution transposed that dynamic. She recommended two books for further analysis: “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism” by Robin DiAngelo and “Race in Cuba” by Esteban Morales. August Nimtz talked about the necessity to prepare delegations for Cuba given that identity is very different in Cuba than in the U.S. and that we bring preconceived ideas based on our own experiences. Cuba did not go through a civil rights movement in the manner of the United States. Two students from Minnesota who had recently participated in a women centered delegation to Cuba also offered their perspective that Cubans are in charge of their revolution and we are not there to educate Cuba and that it is up to Cubans of African descent to deal with the issues. All the panelists spoke to the need to prepare people for travel by discussing race, economy, and imperialism.

The next topic concerned an idea for a Spring 2019 National Conference on Cuba as agreed upon at the Spring 2017 National Conference in NYC. The NNOC co-chairs proposed that there be a national conference in Washington DC which due to the variety of resources and communities there that could be included in the agenda. There was considerable discussion concerning the choice of DC or New York and what each location could offer. Also ideas were presented about the purpose of the conference and the follow up of the conference. Discussion was tabled due to lack of consensus.

Member Group reports began for organizations that would not be present on Sunday:

Altruvistas: focus on trips and programs all over the world with emphasis on ethical socially responsible travel. They have a tour for labor organizations in 11/18. Solidarity takes many forms with many communities such as yoga delegation in 2/19.

African Awareness Association: 20 years of bringing people to Cuba with an emphasis on the historic relationship with Cuba. Next delegation to Cuba 12/18 with focus on areas of interest of the African community and African solidarity. Part of Pan-African movement.


The Saturday evening cultural program was another opportunity for the students of Augsburg to experience Cuban culture. The Minnesota committee presented an award to Felino de la Pena celebrating his 97 years and history of solidarity with Cuba. The group Charanga Tropical with Rene Thompson’s dancing was a tremendously successful and enjoyable part of the evening.

Sunday morning began with the short video produced by Dominio Cuba on the so called “sonic attacks”.


The unresolved proposal for a 2019 conference in DC was withdrawn due to absence of consensus.


This was followed by short reports on upcoming projects and events:


IFCO/Pastors for Peace: the annual travel challenge was postponed until November 2018 and all is now in order to travel through Toronto.

African Awareness Association: Next delegation to Cuba 12/18 with focus on African presence in Cuban culture and history

UN vote: Demonstrations planned in 8 or 9 communities in U.S. and Canada. In NYC plan to try to get into visitors’ gallery and rally at the Cuban Mission. Encourage other cities to hold actions. DC plans rally at White House. Urge people to post messages on Facebook.

Witness for Peace: Upcoming delegation 12/17 focused on agriculture, food justice, environment and popular education.

May Day Brigade: Based on success of past delegations. Will take place for 15 days at Mella Camp; hoping to have 200 people from U.S.


The remainder of the afternoon was spent on member reports, actions, and projects.


Minnesota Host Committee reported on annual film festival of 6 films with 75-200 people at the showings. Had presence at counterrevolutionary art exhibit. Coordinated visit of First Secretary Fraga to MN to meet with business, educational political sectors. They have done Congressional work, obtained a resolution in the City of Minneapolis and are now working on resolution in St. Paul.


Venceremos Brigade: 50th brigade planning as presented previously; $2000 in cash and pledges received at NNOC meeting.


DAVO: Working with Detroit City Council, labor movement, letters to the editor, radio shows, support for IFCO caravan.


Seattle Cuba Friendship Committee and US/Cuban Women Collaboration: hosted 2017 NNOC meeting; worked with New Hope Baptist Church on delegation to Cuba; organic agriculture delegation in spring 2019; film showing of Dare to Dream; works with Physicians for National Health Care; filmmaker of “Raza” on race in Cuba and U.S. 4/19.


July 26th Coalition: Political/cultural events; support Alan West Duran’s book “Cuba, a Cultural History”, Griselda Aguilera tour, report back on May Day Brigade, supported IFCO caravan, building for VB, presence at LASA in June 2019.


International Committee for Peace, Justice, and Dignity: completed Days of Action in DC in September with focus on literacy and education, collaborated with Puerto Rican educator, film showing of “Maestra” and “Lucha Si”, Congressional visits, send off for IFCO caravan, twitter campaigns, use of short videos of Dominio Cuba.


NY/NJ Cuba Coalition: coordinated Griselda Aguilera tour in many cities, July 26th event with NY State Nurses Association, support of 9/26 event with President Diaz Canel, UN actions, support FMC delegations in NYC, tour to Cuba to celebrate 60th anniversary 12/28-1/6.


Witness for Peace: 35 years of work; permanent presence at the MLK Center, speakers tours of Southeast US with representative of MLK Center.


Proximity Cuba/IOEC: 10% reduction in educational travel, working in mid-South, Board is based in Memphis, working with National Civil Rights Museum.


Albany Cuba Solidarity: Attended Diaz Canal meeting in NYC, presentations with Arnold August, hosted and helped coordinate meetings with Miguel Fraga in Albany area, Griselda Aguilera tour, May Day report back, planning program for 60th Anniversary, ongoing work with nurses, organizing for LASA conference,


AAPRP: participated in Pan African conference in Ghana, Black Oakland, film festival, African Liberation Day, May Day report back, barbershop talks, 2020 youth delegation, talks in San Jose and LA.


AUSM: Cuba program with 125 Universities in the U.S. Programs with SUNY in Mexico and Cuba.


Task Force on the Americas: cooperative projects with AAPRP, fact finding delegations to Latin America, newsletter, working for 3 years with Resumen news agency to publish a weekly bulletin.


IFCO/Pastors for Peace:  continue battle with IRS, organized celebration marking IFCO’s 50th anniversary, continue work with progressive pastors; there were five ELAM grads at the last graduation in July and IFCO brought down nine new students earlier this month to begin their studies; continuing to organize delegations including one that will bring down youth from the South Side of Chicago in November; publish Cuba Buzz, helped to coordinate visit of Cuban President to NYC and program at Riverside Church.


Chicago Cuba Coalition: work on health, education, democracy. Literacy campaign tour with Griselda Aguilera; support nurse and MD from Cuba in IL, planning celebration for 60th Anniversary.


Wisconsin Coalition: hosted Griselda tour, hosted caravan, ongoing support for 2 ELAM students, working on resolutions, film festival.


IPS: book events with Arnold August and Phil Brennar, support to Days of Action.


CLAR: 25 years working on travel with schools and businesses, legislation in Congress, planning tour of trans cultural workers to U.S.


SWP: door to door organizing and speaking about the meaning of the Cuban Revolution to workers in U.S.


DC Metro Committee: support of the embassy, Griselda Aguilera tour, program on “sonic attacks”.


Justice for Cuba Coalition: report from NNOC scholarship recipient who participated in May Day Brigade.


African Awareness Association: Radio program: Africa on the Move; Africa Speaks frequent Cuba related topics.


Final remarks: Miguel Fraga. Next year the 60the anniversary of the Cuban revolution will be celebrated; 100th anniversary of the Cuban Embassy, 500th, anniversary of City of Havana, 50th anniversary of the VB. Certain of victory in United Nations. Aim for 60 resolutions to mark 60th anniversary. Solicit photos for Oct 31 and January 1/ unblock Cuba. We will continue to work together.


Meeting Resolution was again distributed and has been approved and circulated.


See photos of weekend generously shared by Bill Hackwell here .


Again, thanks to the Minnesota Cuba Committee and much appreciation to outgoing treasurer, Don Goldhamer.


























Cuba in the White House frenzy

Posted by on Nov 2, 2018 in Latest News | Comments Off on Cuba in the White House frenzy

Cuba in the White House frenzy

HAVANA – According to media outlets, a senior White House official, who declined to be named, said that John Bolton, national security adviser to President Donald Trump, was ready to denounce the role of Cuban intelligence services in support of the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.

The source states that the conclusion of the White House is that Maduro remains in power thanks to the Cuban support. It seems that the intention is to return to the old rhetoric that Cuba “is the source” of the problems facing the United States in the region.

It is a maneuver that seems inserted in an attempt to significantly reduce Cuba’s support in the United Nations’ vote against the blockade. It is also part of the campaign to include Cuba in the campaign being waged against Venezuela.

There is nothing new in the script. Perhaps the most striking development here is the U.S.’s inability to achieve its goals. Even most of the right-wing governments now in power in Latin America have so far tried to maintain their relations with Cuba and not have them affected. The same has happened with Europe, where there is a sustained improvement in relations based on new agreements signed with the European Union.

[The United Nations General Assembly’s vote on Thursday, Nov. 1, on the Cuban-sponsored resolution on the “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” was 189-2 with no abstentions. The U.S. and Israel voted “no” and Moldova and Ukraine did not vote.]

The reason can be found in the possible impact of both policies in the internal politics of the countries that promote them. While the Venezuelan case has been functionally neutralized by dividing the local progressive forces, solidarity with Cuba constitutes a unifying factor of the leftist forces in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has the support of broad popular sectors and even of a part of the national bourgeoisies, who perceive relations with Cuba as a demonstration of independence from the United States.

Aware of this reality, the Obama administration policy was aimed at differentiating the treatment of both countries, while attempting to weaken Cuba’s support for Venezuela, which had to be rejected on several occasions by the Cuban government.

But the Donald Trump policy does not traverse these subtleties and the composition of the current National Security Council, headed by John Bolton, has much to do with it.

When Bolton was appointed to this position, it was obvious that the dams that could control the debauchery of the current U.S. president had been broken and that the foreign policy of the United States had fallen into the hands not only of the most aggressive sectors of the country, but of the least scrupulous.

Considered a “war hawk,” Bolton has been linked to the promotion of the indiscriminate use of force as a support for U.S. policy in the world. Iraq, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela have been targets of his crusades.

When there have been no convincing reasons to justify his positions, Bolton has been one of its most fruitful inventors. To mention just a few, his handiwork is seen in the construction of the myth of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which justified the U.S. invasion of that country. He was also one of the main proponents of the U.S. rejection of the nuclear pact with Iran, and one of the promoters of the cancellation of agreements on nuclear proliferation with Russia.

He has been accused by his own colleagues of attempting to adulterate intelligence reports in order to attain his goals. Moreover, one of the arguments used against his confirmation as ambassador to the UN in 2005 was that he had lied in his statements to Congress.

In 2002, while serving as Undersecretary of State for the Bush administration, Bolton accused Cuba of having the capacity, and the possible intention, of producing and using biological weapons. It in fact was the same excuse that had been used for the invasion of Iraq. Although this was denied by several intelligence sources in the country and by former president Jimmy Carter during a visit he made to Cuba, his actions made clear this person’s intentions and what a dangerous player he was. 

The moment he took over the position in the Trump government, Bolton eliminated those who did not share his criteria and in their place put people loyal to his extreme right-wing ideology. Among them, he named Mauricio Claver-Carone,an anti-Cuba lobbyist, to deal with his Latin America policy. Claver-Carone is easily distinguishable among those “high-ranking functionaries who’d rather not be identified.”

Cuba is no stranger to the frenzy that distinguishes American politics in all its aspects. Especially in an electoral context where anything goes to encourage one’s followers. The lies are part of the official discourse and impunity is given by the alienation of a sector of society encouraged by very primitive feelings.

It was predicted by someone as conspicuously non anti-imperialist as Zbigniew Brzezinski, who said: “Most Americans are close to total ignorance about the world. They are ignorant. That is an unhealthy condition in a country in which foreign policy has to be endorsed by the people if it is to be pursued. And it makes it much more difficult for any president to pursue an intelligent policy that does justice to the complexity of the world.”

Donald Trump is a product of this alienation and also its manipulator par excellence. In his contempt for the American people and the exploitation of their divisions lies his strength. To this point, it has worked for him.