By Laura V. Mor on May 2, 2022 from Havana
“Unity in diversity” is the central theme that brought together 1,058 delegates from 60 countries from the 5 continents together with 219 trade union organizations and solidarity movements at the Havana Convention Palace during the International Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba.
Between Saturday and Monday, a new edition of the solidarity event took place in Havana, which after three years of interruption due to the necessary restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, gathered again. Delegates from Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, Panama, Spain, United States, Palestine, Jordan, Peru, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Canada, Colombia and United Kingdom, among others, to analyze the possible ways of action in view of the current political scenarios.
Last Saturday, prior to the participation in the May Day parade, the delegates visited production centers in Havana and Artemisa, where they were able to visualize the effects of the blockade on the Cuban economy, particularly in the productive sector.
In an exchange with neighbors they were able to have a more accurate approximation of what it means for the people to live in a small country blockaded by one of the largest economic powers in the world and the difficulties that this generates in each sector of society and in the daily life of each Cuban family.
Opening today’s event, organized by the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC) and the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, Secretary General of the CTC, stressed the importance of “socializing ideas and building consensus” to achieve platforms of action to counteract the onslaught of imperialism and neoliberalism.
For his part, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla stressed the importance of the solidarity received in these years of economic, commercial and financial blockade and reaffirmed Cuba’s support to the “legitimate right of Argentina over the Malvinas Islands”, the right of Puerto Rico to “be free and independent from the colonial yoke” and the full support to Nicaragua’s decision to “dissolve its link with the discredited Organization of American States” (OAS).
He also highlighted the presence of Cuban collaboration with 58 medical brigades of the “Henry Reeve” Contingent in more than 40 countries since the declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and the cooperation in terms of the distribution of vaccines developed in Cuba to countries such as Nicaragua, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Vietnam and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
“The pandemic confirms that the capitalist mode of production is unsustainable” he charged while giving account of the inequality and inequity in the acquisition and distribution of anti-Covid vaccines to countries in Latin America and Africa, becoming a business of pharmaceutical transnationals to the detriment of people’s right to health. “The 11 billion vaccines produced would have been enough to immunize Humanity”, he affirmed in this sense.
Rodríguez Parrilla also denounced the manipulation of international organizations and the exclusion of Cuba and Venezuela from the preparations for the IX Summit of the Americas to be held next June in Los Angeles, where, he said, “it is proposed to impose that the OAS certify the elections in the region”.
“It is the moment to close ranks in close unity within our diversity for the anti-imperialist struggle, in defense of peace, sovereignty, self-determination of the peoples, development and social justice”, he concluded.
The opening session was also attended by President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, members of the Political Bureau Esteban Lazo Hernández, Roberto Morales Ojeda and a representation of Cuban scientists who were part of the working team that created the first anti-Covid vaccines in Latin America, Soberana and Abdala, who were warmly applauded by all present.
The Meeting continued during Monday morning in three simultaneous thematic commissions: “World solidarity, Covid-19 and the right to life of the peoples”, “Unity in diversity in the anti-imperialist struggle” and “Solidarity with the just causes of the peoples”.
Not to naturalize the blockade, an essential task
“To cohesion and unity to defeat the infamous imperial design, which allocates significant financial resources to stimulate and organize the cultural, media and subversive war that aims to divide and fracture this heroic people” called Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla during the opening of the meeting.
The delegates discussed in three working commissions on unity in diversity in the anti-imperialist struggle at the global level, the right of the peoples to life and the defense of just causes and the impact of Covid-19 in the region.
The demand for the end of the blockade against Cuba (whose damage, according to Rodríguez Parrilla, totals 150,410 million dollars until the end of the year 2021) was one of the recurring themes of the day, as well as the media campaign manipulated from abroad and aimed at the Cuban youth, both denounced by the delegates present in the solidarity commission.
Graciela Ramirez, Coordinator of the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity and Editor of the Resumen Latinoamericano in Cuba, detailed some of the “most urgent tasks” in terms of solidarity with the Cuban people.
At the beginning of her speech she mentioned the beloved Argentine-American revolutionary Alicia Jrapko, coordinator of the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity and founder and editor of Resumen Latinoamericano – English in the United States, who’s partner in life and struggles Bill Hackwell was present. Ramirez also spoke of “dear Ricardo Alarcón, from whom we learned so much how not to have expectations in the different governments but in the workers, artists, professionals and the good people of the United States; the importance of establishing bridges of solidarity and fighting against the blockade”. For this reason, she paid tribute to both not in silence but with an emotional applause with the audience on its feet.
Mentioning the “brutal tightening” of the blockade with the 243 coercive measures sanctioned by Donald Trump against Cuba “in the midst of a pandemic,” Ramirez testified to the enormous suffering of the Cuban people who were prevented from acquiring “not even an aspirin, respirators, medicines and food,” when “people were dying in hospitals despite the enormous effort of the Cuban government.”
“We cannot have an attitude of naturalization when it comes to the blockade. There is nothing natural about it. We have to fight every day against the undeclared war imposed by the United States on an entire people”, she proclaimed.
Ramirez urged all to ratify the Resolution to put an end to that criminal policy and to demand that Cuba not be excluded from the Summit and “to be present” at the Summit of the Peoples, to be held in parallel to the IX Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles from June 8 to 10, from which Cuba and Venezuela have so far been excluded, she urged everyone to work closely with U.S. organizations such as People’s Forum to make it large and successful.
Ramirez could not stop until she called for international mobilizations for the freedom of Julian Assange, whose extradition to the United States is in the hands of the UK Home Secretary. “If Assange dies in prison, the right to freedom of the press will die as well. Preventing that is everyone’s job.”
Gail Walker, Executive Director of IFCO – Pastors for Peace in the US, also called for forceful actions to make even more visible to public scrutiny the consequences suffered by the people with a policy that is “a crime against the Cuban people”, as the Brazilian Socorro Gómes, President of the World Council for Peace, also described it.
Dagmar García Rivera, Research Director of the Finlay Vaccine Institute, responsible for the creation of the Soberana vaccine, affirmed that “Cuba is a threat to the United States because of the example it represents to the world, because of the example of dignity, of motivation”, “everything that imperialism wants to overshadow in the world”.
“Cuba Resists and Advances”: Declaration of Solidarity with Cuba
During the day, a statement was agreed upon that expresses solidarity with the Cuban people in the face of the coercive measures imposed against Cuba during the Trump administration and that are maintained during the new Biden administration.
“The 1,058 participants, from 54 countries, in the International Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba have learned what the will of a self-sacrificing people is capable of achieving when, led by a committed government, it continues to move forward despite the insistence of the imperialist superpower, bent on undermining the noble Cuban social project, which has set out to conquer all justice with all and for the good of all.
The people of Cuba maintain their commitment to the legacy of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, the legitimate reference and paradigm of solidarity throughout the world.
Cuba resists and advances despite the sustained policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade, intensified with 243 unilateral coercive measures, adopted by the Trump administration and maintained in a criminal manner by the Biden administration, in the midst of a global pandemic.
The blockade is the main tool of imperialism in its attempt to bend and surrender the spirit of independence, altruism, socialism and internationalism of the Cubans. This cruel and hostile policy constitutes a systematic and permanent violation of the human rights of an entire people and is rejected and condemned by the immense majority of the countries of the world and by all those who defend peace and the right to sovereignty, self-determination and solidarity among peoples. The blockade is an act of genocide, an outrage to humanity and the main obstacle to Cuba’s development.
In its extraterritorial application, the blockade has deprived the peoples of the world of the right to maintain closer ties with a country that stands out for its creativity, capacity for resistance, vocation for struggle and spirit of solidarity.
In the midst of the most difficult circumstances, the Cuban people have stoically maintained their noble tradition of sharing what they have, not what they have too much of. Cuban medical collaboration has assisted more than one billion people in 150 countries, with no other commitment than to serve the poorest and neediest, practicing solidarity with deeds and not with words.
This Meeting has been possible precisely because Cuba is an example in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, with the immunization of the vast majority of its people with its own vaccines, which have also benefited millions of people in the world. This is the result of its creative resistance.
We call on the world to mobilize in defense of the Cuban Revolution, besieged by a brutal media campaign that exacerbates lies, manipulation, disinformation and disinformation, that stimulates hatred and confrontation, to confuse and attempt to justify new actions aimed at reversing the political, economic and social order freely and overwhelmingly chosen by the Cuban people.
We reaffirm that, together with patriotic Cubans living abroad, we will maintain and promote the world day of solidarity with Cuba, the defense of its diplomatic missions against any hostile action, the mobilization of donations to support its efforts for the life of its people and the objective promotion of its reality.
We call for cohesion and unity to defeat the infamous imperial design, which allocates significant financial resources to stimulate and organize the cultural, media and subversive war that aims to divide and fracture this heroic people. Cuba has proven to have the moral and ideological strength to ensure the continuity of the Revolution, which represents a symbol of struggle and internationalism. We reaffirm that “he who stands up today for Cuba, stands up for all times”, as José Martí said.
On the basis of respect for international law, world peace and the sovereignty of peoples, peaceful coexistence, friendship, solidarity and cooperation: Socialist Cuba has the right to exist!
No more Blockade!
Long live internationalism and peace!
Long live Solidarity with Cuba and the peoples in struggle!”