Sunday, October 13, 2019



Havana 500 years

Sabanas Blancas -- Omara Portuondo
Havana 500 years



Havana celebrates 500 years
Cuba’s capital will be celebrating its 500th anniversary this November with festivities to honour this historic half-century milestone.  Havana, founded on November 16, 1519, was originally called San Cristobal de La Habana.  The city's historic centre was named UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982 and the surrounding city declared one of seven global "New 7 Wonders Cities in 2015. 

As part of the anniversary celebrations music will take over public spaces. The Cuban Institute of Music has lined up a series of concerts with the country’s best musicians, taking place every second, third and fourth Saturday each month until the big birthday bash in November. From festivals and cultural shows to theatre productions and art exhibitions — to culminate in November with an exhibition of ‘Footprints on the City’ by 50 Cuban painters, the premiere of  ‘Cecilia Valdés’ and the Alabanza international dance event. On the eve of the anniversary we will have "Habanera Night" -with music, poetry, theatre and food throughout the city, along with fireworks at midnight. Havana is reopening facilities that have sat empty for several years, including the Cuatro Caminos market, currently a shopping centre.

"Everywhere you go in Havana, you will experience the feeling of music in the air. Cuba, especially Havana is one of the main centres of Latin American music and dance," says Eloy Govea, the Cuba Tourist Board’s director for Canada.We encourage people to go outside the resorts, to mingle with locals and visit cities such as Havana. Cuban people are so open, so talkative, so easygoing, so cheerful and willing to share. This year is a perfect opportunity for Canadians to visit and celebrate Havana's 500th anniversary."



Postcards from Cuba: Havana celebrates 500 years
https://www.euronews.com/2019/06/28/cuba-celebrates-500-years-of-history-through-its-arts#targetText=last%20updated%3A%2028%2F06%2F2019&targetText=Havana%2C%

Saturday, October 12, 2019


Climate Change and Cuba Highlights Conference Panel -

The Cuban Revolution@60 International Conference

https://www.cubabusinessreport.com/climate-change-and-cuba-highlights-conference-panels/

Square Canada doesn't have a tech issue: it's a Cuban coffee issue    Toronto coffee stand's collection problem stems from U.S. bank's Cuba embargo fears

MONICA MUSTELIER OWNS TORONTO'S LITTLE HAVANA MOBILE COFFEE SHOP. SHE SAYS PAYMENTS
MADE THROUGH SQUARE WERE NOT REACHING HER BANK ACCOUNT (ANDY HINCENBERGS, CBC)

THE OWNERS OF A TORONTO COFFEE STAND SAY SQUARE CANADA HAS TOLD THEM THEY CAN NO LONBER USE THE POPULAR PAYMENT TECHNOLOGY BECAUSE OF CONCERNS THE COFFEE STAND IS SELLING BEVERAGES MADE FROM CUBAN COFFEE BEANS. SQUARE CANADA ALLOWS CUSTOMERS TO TAP OR SWIPE THEIR FINANCIAL CARDS TO PAY FOR THINGS -IN THIS CASE COFFEE FROM TORONTO'S LITTLE HAVANA COFFEE STAND.
LITTLE HAVANA'S CO OWNER, MONICA MUSTELIER, SAID SHE'D BEEN IN CONTACT WITH THE TECHNOLOGY COMPANY REGULARLY SINCE LATE AUGUST, AFTER $14,000 IN CUSTOMER PAYMENTS COLLECTED USING SQUARE NEVER MADE IT INTO HER TD CANADA TRUST BANK ACCOUNT.
IN AN EARLIER CBC NEWS REPORT, SHE SAID THE COMPANY LED HER TO BELIEVE THE MISSING MONEY WAS BEING HELD DUE TO PROBLEMS WITH AN "ACQUIRING PROCESSOR." A SQUARE CANADA SPOKESPERSON HAD TOLD CBC NEWS, THE SITUATION WASN'T "ONE-OFF" — BUT WASN'T WIDESPREAD, EITHER.  IT TURNS OUT, THAT'S NOT THE CASE, MUSTELIER SAYS.
ACCORDING TO MUSTELIER, SQUARE CANADA TOLD HER THE TECH COMPANY USES THE U.S. BANK JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. TO PROCESS PAYMENTS, AND THE BANK CANNOT OR WILL NOT RELEASE THE FUNDS DUE TO POTENTIAL CONCERNS OVER LITTLE HAVANA'S CUBAN COFFEE BEANS. "I WAS KIND OF SHOCKED AND MAD, BECAUSE WE'RE A CANADIAN COMPANY USING CUBAN GOODS BOUGHT AND SOLD IN CANADA," MUSTELIER TOLD CBC NEWS MONDAY.
MUSTELIER LEGALLY IMPORTS THE COFFEE BEANS THROUGH A MONTREAL DISTRIBUTOR.




IT'S CURRENTLY 'CASH ONLY' AT THE LITTLE HAVANA MOBILE COFFEE STAND. (ANDY HINCENBERGS/CBC)
MONEY MISSING SINCE AUGUST

TODAY, VALERIE JACKSON, SQUARE CANADA'S COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, CONFIRMED TO CBC NEWS THE ISSUE ISN'T A TECH PROBLEM AFTER ALL.  "I WANT TO CLARIFY THAT SQUARE IS NOT EXPERIENCING A TECHNICAL GLITCH. WHILE I CANNOT SPEAK WITH YOU ABOUT MONICA'S INDIVIDUAL CASE, I CAN TELL YOU THAT SQUARE'S CUSTOMER SUCCESS TEAM SPOKE WITH MONICA YESTERDAY, AND SHE NOW KNOWS THE REASON," SHE WROTE IN AN EMAIL TO CBC NEWS. THE U.S. HAS A FINANCIAL AND COMMERCIAL EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA, SEVERELY LIMITING DEALINGS WITH CUBAN INTERESTS. MUSTELIER IS CANADIAN AND SAYS SHE HAS NO IDEA WHY A U.S. EMBARGO IS AFFECTING HER CANADIAN BUSINESS. "FOR THE U.S. SANCTIONS AGAINST CUBA TO AFFECT US SO DIRECTLY IS A SHOCK, BECAUSE I KNOW CANADA AND CUBA HAVE GOOD RELATIONS," SHE SAYS.

MUSTELIER HAD BEEN USING SQUARE TECHNOLOGY FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS WITHOUT INCIDENT. THEN, IN LATE AUGUST, THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS SQUARE CANADA WAS SUPPOSED TO TRANSFER INTO HER BANK ACCOUNT NEVER MADE IT.  EVER SINCE, SQUARE CANADA HAD BEEN WORKING WITH MUSTELIER TO FIND OUT WHAT WENT WRONG. "I DON'T KNOW WHY THEY WOULD BE USING A THIRD PARTY IN THE STATES TO PROCESS CANADIAN FUNDS," MUSTELIER SAYS ABOUT SQUARE CANADA'S USE OF THE U.S. BANK. "IF I KNEW SQUARE'S POLICY, I PROBABLY WOULDN'T HAVE USED THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE," SHE ADDS.    SHE SAYS SQUARE CANADA HAS TOLD HER, THE COMPANY IS STILL WORKING ON REFUNDING HER THE $14,000. IN THE MEANTIME, MUSTELIER IS NOW LOOKING FOR A PAYMENT SYSTEM THAT USES CANADIAN BANKS ONLY, TO PROCESS TRANSACTIONS.
CBC NEWS HAS CONTACTED SQUARE CANADA FOR FURTHER COMMENT ON ITS PLANS.

A LETTER TO THE EDITOR:  THE LONG ARM OF US POLICY

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Economic aggression, threats and blackmail will not take away a single concession.

Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla on September 29, 2019,
Complete Transcript of Speech by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, at the 74th General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 28 September 2019, “Year 61 of the Revolution”.
I denounce before the General Assembly of the United Nations that in recent months the Government of the United States has initiated the application of criminal, non-conventional measures to prevent the supply of fuel to our country from various markets, by threatening and persecuting the companies that transport it, the governments of registry and flag, shipping companies and insurance companies.
As a result, we have faced severe difficulties in guaranteeing the supply of fuel required for the daily activity of the country, which has forced us to adopt temporary emergency measures, which would only be possible in an organized country, with a united and supportive people, ready to defend themselves against foreign aggression and to preserve the social justice achieved.
In the past year, the United States Government has qualitatively increased its measures of hostility and blockade against Cuba. It has imposed additional obstacles to foreign trade and increased the persecution of our banking-financial relations with the rest of the world. It has extremely limited travel and any interaction between the two peoples. It hinders the links and contacts of Cubans living in the United States with their homeland.
To this day, the strategy of imperialism against Cuba is guided by the infamous memorandum signed in 1960 by Undersecretary of State Lester Mallory, which I quote:
“There is no effective political opposition (…) The only possible way to make it lose internal support [for the government] is to provoke disillusionment and discouragement through economic dissatisfaction and hardship (…) It is necessary to put into practice quickly all possible means to weaken economic life (…) denying Cuba money and supplies in order to reduce nominal and real wages, with the objective of provoking hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government.”
The illegal Helms-Burton Act of 1996 guides the aggressive behavior of the United States against Cuba. Its essence is the blatant attempt to question the right to self-determination and independence of the Cuban nation.
It also conceives the imposition of U.S. legal authority and the jurisdiction of its courts over the commercial and financial relations of any country with Cuba in order to violate international law, national jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of third states, and to establish the supposed primacy of the law and the political will of the United States over them.
The economic, commercial and financial blockade continues to be the main obstacle for the development of our country and for the advancement of the process of updating the Socialist Model of Economic and Social Development that our country has drawn up. The new measures particularly affect the non-state sector of our economy.
Every year, the United States allocates tens of millions of dollars from the federal budget to political subversion, with the intention of confusing and weakening the unity of our people, which is articulated with a concerted propaganda campaign aimed at discrediting the Revolution, its leaders, its glorious historical legacy, denigrating economic and social policies in favor of development and justice, and destroying the ideas of socialism.
Last Thursday, on the basis of gross slander, the State Department announced that the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, will not be able to receive an entry visa to this country. It is an action, without practical effect, aimed at outraging the dignity of Cuba and the feelings of our people. It is an electoral crumb that is thrown at the Cuban-American extreme right. However, the open and offensive falsehoods that are used to justify it, and which I reject in the strongest terms, reflect the baseness and rottenness to which this U.S. Government has to resort, drowned in corruption, lies and immorality.
They are all actions that violate international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
The most recent pretext, reiterated here last Tuesday by President Donald Trump, is to blame Cuba for the failure of the plan to forcibly overthrow the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. To hide the Venezuelan people’s prowess, Yankee spokesmen repeatedly use the vulgar slander that our country has “between 20,000 and 25,000 military personnel in Venezuela,” and that “Cuban imperialism exercises dominion” over that country.
A few minutes earlier, that Tuesday, the President of Brazil had used on this podium the booklet of falsehoods written in Washington, augmented by the shameless figure of “some 60,000 Cuban military personnel” in Venezuela.
As part of its anti-Cuban obsession, the current Government of the United States, that Brazil echoes, attacks on the international medical cooperation programs that Cuba shares with dozens of developing countries, aimed at the most needy communities, based on a sense of solidarity and the freely voluntary disposition of hundreds of thousands of Cuban professionals, which are implemented on the basis of cooperation agreements signed with the Governments of those countries, programs that have enjoyed for many years the recognition of the international community, of this very Organization and of the World Health Organization as an exemplary example of South-South cooperation.
As a result of Bolsonaro, many Brazilian communities were deprived of the free, quality health service provided by thousands of Cuban professionals under the “More Doctors” program.
During this period, there has been no lack of threats or the most outraged blackmails, or immoral invitations for our country to betray its principles and its international commitments in exchange for oil under preferential conditions and dubious friendships.
In commemorating the 60th anniversary of the revolutionary triumph with which we Cubans achieved true and definitive independence, First Secretary Raúl Castro said: “… we Cubans are prepared to resist a scenario of confrontation, which we do not want, and we hope that the most balanced minds in the U.S. government can avoid it.”
We have reiterated that, even in the present circumstances, we do not relinquish the will to develop a civilized relationship with the United States, based on mutual respect and recognition of our deep differences.
We know that this is the desire of our people and the sentiment shared by the majority of the people of the United States and the Cubans who live in this country.
I confirm in the same way that economic aggression, however hard as it may be, threats and blackmail will not remove a single concession from us. Whoever knows the history of Cuba in the long struggle for emancipation and in the firm defense of the freedom and justice won, will understand without equivocation the weight, sincerity and authority of these convictions and proposals of our people.
The bilateral relationship between Cuba and Venezuela is based on mutual respect and true solidarity. We unhesitatingly support the legitimate government presided over by comrade Nicolás Maduro Moros and the civil-military union of the Bolivarian and Chavista people.
We condemn the conduct of the United States Government against Venezuela centered on the promotion of coups d’état, assassinations, economic warfare and sabotage of the electricity supply. We reject the application of severe unilateral coercive measures and the dispossession of its assets, companies and export revenues. These actions constitute a serious threat to regional peace and security, and a direct aggression against the Venezuelan population, which is attempting to be defeated by the cruelest means.
We call on everyone to become aware of these facts, to demand the cessation of unilateral coercive measures, to reject the use of force and to encourage respectful dialogue on the basis of the principles of international law and the constitutional order of that country.
A few days ago, the United States and a handful of other countries decided to activate the obsolete Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance that contemplates the use of military force. It is an absurd decision that represents a historical setback and a danger to regional peace and security that seeks to justify, through a legal artifact, intervention in the internal affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
It is also a gross violation of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, which it’s Heads of State and Government signed in Havana in January 2014. The United States decision to resurrect the disastrous Monroe Doctrine, the instrument of imperialist domination under which military interventions and invasions, coups d’état, military dictatorships and the most horrendous crimes took place in Our America, has a similar meaning.
As we saw a few days ago in this Assembly, the President of the United States often attacks socialism in repeated public pronouncements, for clearly electoral purposes, while promoting a McCarthy intolerance against those who believe in the possibility of a better world and a hope to live in peace, in sustainable harmony with nature and in solidarity with others.
President Trump ignores or tries to hide the fact that neoliberal capitalism is responsible for the growing economic and social inequality that even the most developed societies suffer today and that, by its nature, it encourages corruption, social marginalization, the growth of crime, racial intolerance and xenophobia; and he forgets or ignores the fact that fascism, apartheid and imperialism arose from capitalism.
The Government of the United States leads a gross persecution against political leaders and popular and social movements, through slander campaigns and scandalously manipulated and politically motivated judicial processes, to reverse the policies that, through sovereign control over natural resources and the gradual elimination of social differences, built more just and supportive societies, which represented a way out of the economic and social crisis, and a hope for the peoples of America.
So as they did with the former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, for whom we demand freedom.
We reject the attempts directed from Washington to destabilize the Nicaraguan government, and we ratify the invariable solidarity with President Daniel Ortega.
We stand in solidarity with the nations of the Caribbean who are calling for legitimate reparation for the horrific aftermath of slavery, as well as the fair, special and differential treatment they deserve.
We reaffirm our historic commitment to the self-determination and independence of the brotherly people of Puerto Rico.
We support Argentina’s legitimate claim to sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, the South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia.
The conduct of the current United States Government and its strategy of military and nuclear domination constitute a threat to international peace and security. It maintains nearly 800 military bases worldwide. It advances projects for the militarization of outer space and cyberspace, as well as the covert and illegal use of information and communication technologies to attack other States. It withdrew the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and their immediate start of medium-range missile tests are intended to open a new arms race.
The President of the Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, stated last year before this Assembly: “… The exercise of multilateralism and full respect for the principles and norms of International Law in order to move towards a multipolar, democratic and equitable world are requirements to guarantee peaceful coexistence, preserve international peace and security and find lasting solutions to systemic problems”.
We reiterate our unrestricted support for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the establishment of two States, which would enable the Palestinian people to exercise the right to self-determination and to have an independent and sovereign State on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We reject the unilateral action of the United States to establish its diplomatic representation in the city of Jerusalem. We condemn the violence of Israeli forces against the civilian population in Palestine and the threats of annexation of territories in the occupied West Bank.
We reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with the Saharawi people and support for the search for an answer to the question of Western Sahara that will allow them to exercise their right to self-determination and to live in peace in their territory.
We support the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the situation imposed on Syria, without external interference and with full respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We reject any direct or indirect intervention without the agreement of the legitimate authorities of that country.
We express our solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the face of the aggressive escalation by the United States. We reject the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Nuclear Agreement with Iran. We call for dialogue and cooperation, based on the principles of international law.
We welcome the inter-Korean dialogue process. Only through negotiations can a lasting political solution be achieved on the Korean peninsula. We strongly condemn the imposition of unilateral and unjust sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
NATO’s continued expansion towards the borders with Russia causes serious dangers, aggravated by the imposition of arbitrary sanctions, which we reject.
We support, with admiration, the call of the recent marches of students and young people. Climate change, some of whose effects are now irreversible, threatens the survival of all, in particular of the Small Island Developing States.
Capitalism is unsustainable. Its irrational and unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and the growing and unjust concentration of wealth are the main threat to the ecological balance of the planet. There will be no sustainable development without social justice.
The special and differential treatment of countries of the South in international economic relations cannot continue to be overlooked.
The emergency in the Amazon impels us to search for solutions through the cooperation of all, without exclusions or politicization, with full respect for the sovereignty of States.
The corruption of political systems and electoral models and their growing distance from the will of the people are proliferating. Powerful and exclusive minorities, particularly corporate groups, decide the nature and composition of governments, parliaments, and justice and law enforcement institutions.
Following the failure of its intention to submit the Human Rights Council, the US Government opted to abandon it in order to further hamper dialogue and international cooperation on the matter.
It’s not news that should surprise us. The United States is a country where human rights are systematically and often deliberately and flagrantly violated. Thirty-six thousand, 383 people – one hundred a day – died in this country in 2018 from firearms, while the Government protects producers and traders of them at the expense of the safety of citizens. Ninety-one thousand 757 Americans die each year from heart disease, for lack of adequate treatment. Infant and maternal mortality among African Americans is twice that of the white population. Twenty-eight million U.S. citizens have no health insurance or real access to health services; 32 million cannot read or write functionally; 2.2 million U.S. citizens are incarcerated; 4.7 million are on probation and 10 million are arrested each year. It is then understandable why the President is engaged in attacking socialism.
We reject politicization, selectivity, punitive approaches and double standards in addressing the issue of human rights. Cuba will remain committed to the exercise by all individuals and all peoples of all human rights, in particular, to peace, life, development and self-determination.
We must prevent the imposition of a single, totalitarian and overwhelming cultural model that destroys national cultures, identities, history, memory, symbols and individuality, and that silences the structural problems of capitalism, which causes a lacerating inequality that is constantly increasing.
The so-called “cognitive” capitalism offers the same thing. Digital capital crowns global value chains, concentrates ownership of digital data, exploits identity, information and knowledge, and threatens already analogically diminished freedom and democracy. We need other forms of our own, humanist and counter-hegemonic thinking and decisive political action to articulate popular mobilization in the networks, in the streets and at the polls.
Independent states need to exercise sovereignty over cyberspace, abandon the mirage of so-called “networked society” or the “age of access” and instead democratize Internet governance.
The powerful and universal thought of the Apostle of Independence José Martí continues to inspire and encourage the Cubans of the new generations. His words written a few hours before facing death in combat have particular relevance today and I quote: “Every day now I am in danger of giving my life for my country and it is my duty –since I understand it and have the spirit to carry it out—in order to prevent the United States from extending its hold across the Antilles and … All I have done up to now and I will do is for that.”
Similar strength is found in the words of Antonio Maceo, who in 1888 wrote: “Whoever tries to seize Cuba will only collect the dust from its blood-soaked soil, if he does not perish in the struggle.”
This is the same and only Cuban Revolution commanded by Fidel Castro Ruz and now headed by First Secretary Raul Castro and President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
And if, at this point, someone still intends to make the Cuban Revolution surrender, or expects the new generations of Cubans to betray their past and renounce their future, we will repeat with Fidel’s impetus:
Homeland or Death!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Cuban Revolution at 60 -Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2019

In 2019, the Cuban revolution celebrates its 60th anniversary. It is also a time of historic transformation on the island – leadership change, constitutional reform, and a complex process of economic developments under way. We believe this is a good opportunity to discuss the progress Cuba has made over the past 60 years and perhaps more importantly, to analyze current developments. In addition, given the difficulties faced by Cuban academics and researchers to meet their American colleagues due to visa restrictions imposed by the US government, and significantly increased bilateral tension, it is important to maintain channels of dialogue open.
Here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, we believe that there is an appropriate place for this exchange to take place. We have a tradition of working with Cuba. Over twenty years ago Dalhousie University established an exchange programme with FLACSO-Cuba, and over 700 of our students have participated in programmes in Cuba. Faculty in Law, Coastal Zone Resources, Management, and International Development Studies
In 1989—to provide an assessment of 30 years of the Cuban revolutionary process—we organized an international conference attended by 450 Cuba specialists, and four books (compilations of the best presentations) were published.
The Cuban Revolution at 60 international conference will discuss the significance of 60 years of the Cuban revolutionary process, and examine the potential and challenges facing Cuba: the progress Cuba has made over the past six decades and the evolution currently underway. A series of panels will assess the successes and challenges of the Cuban economy, Cuba-US relations, and Cuba's international relations. Other panels revolve around climate change and ecological challenges facing the island, and social change (analyzing questions of race, gender (in)equity, health, and LGBTQ rights). Some forty of the leading Cuba specialists from Cuba, the UK, Latin America, Europe, the United States and Canada will gather to discuss these subjects. 

The Cuban Revolution at 60 International Conference, 

Halifax, Canada 31 Oct-02 Nov, 2019

Program





III Call Anti-imperialist Meeting of Solidarity, for Democracy
and against Neoliberalism
PrintE-mail
Havana, November 1-3, 2019
The Anti-imperialist Meeting of Solidarity, for Democracy and
against Neoliberalism will take place in Havana from
November 1 to 3 of this year, organized by the Cuban Institute
of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Central Organization of
Cuban Trade Unions (CTC), along with the Cuban Chapter of
Social Movements and the Continental Conference for
Democracy and against Neoliberalism.
The meeting in Havana expresses the Cuban Revolution´s
decision to respond to the demand of the political, social
left-wing and the Solidarity Movement with Cuba that our
country continues to be a meeting point of the peoples
struggles in our continent.
We have proposed the event to be a real contribution to
confronting the current counterrevolutionary offensive of US
imperialism, to the search for the widest possible unity of the
leftist forces in the region and to strengthening militant solidarity
with the just causes defended by the peoples. In the current
political situation, marked by the aggressiveness of the
Trump administration, new ways will be sought to reinforce
solidarity with these causes in the world, mainly in our region.
In November, a heterogeneous representation of the
United States and Canada will also be present in Havana,
friends who have always been on the side of justice and who
since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution have been in solidarity
with us. We will also have important intellectuals, committed
to the liberating struggles of the peoples.
The growing hostility against Cuba and other countries in the
region, the judicial persecution of progressive leaders, the
imposition of recycled neoliberalism, are distinctive features of
the current North American policy towards Latin America and
the Caribbean that awaken the fighting capacity of
Latin American and Caribbean peoples.
In the same way, the mobilization for the occasion of hundreds
of social fighters, political leaders, intellectuals, peasants, women,
indigenous people, solidarity activists, among others; will
constitute a formidable encouragement to the heroic resistance
of the Cuban people, determined to defeat the Helms Burton Act,
the blockade and to carry forward the updating of its economic
and social development model.
Faced with pessimism and the claudication of some, the
participants in the anti-imperialist solidarity meeting will respond
with the strengthening of the struggle moral and the deep
conviction that the Latin America and the Caribbean peoples
will continue marching towards their second
and definitive independence.
The Organizing Committee of the Anti-imperialist Meeting of
Solidarity, for Democracy and against Neoliberalism, calls for
an event that highlights the Cubans´ best traditions of hospitality
and their commitment to independence, justice, peace and
fraternity among the peoples.
Those interested should send their attendance confirmation
to the email address enc.jornada2019@gmail.com with a
copy to AMISTUR emailsdireccion@amistur.cu and
comercial@amistur.cu
Conference Program
Havana, Cuba, November 1-3, 2019.
1st day: November 1st
9.00-09: 30: Opening of the event. Tribute to Fidel.
09.30-09: 45: Words from comrade Fernando González LLort,
ICAP President and the Coordinating Committee of the event.
09.45-10: 15: Audiovisual projection about Cuba,
its foreign policy and solidarity.
10: 15-12: 45: MINREX speech: Cuba’s foreign policy
in the regional context. Fight against the blockade.
12: 45-14: 45: Lunch
15: 00- 17:00: Panel: Challenges of the left in the current
regional scenario before the imperialist offensive.
17: 15-19.15: Anti-imperialist tribune in support of just causes.
– Closing of the tribune with Cuban troubadours and foreigners
participating in the event.
2nd day: November 2
09.00- 09.15: Audiovisual material presentation
09: 15- 10:45: Panel: Challenges for a solidarity
articulation of our struggles.
10: 45- 11:00: Break
11: 00- 13: 15: Working in Thematic Commissions.
– Solidarity with Cuba and other just causes.
– Peoples before free trade and transnationals.
– Decolonization and cultural war.
– Youth: strategies and continuity in struggles.
– Democracy, sovereignty and anti-imperialism.
– Strategic communication and social struggle.
– Integration, identities and common struggles.
1:30 – 3:00: Lunch
14:00 – 15:00 Anti-imperialist Twitterstorm
15: 00 – 16:30 Working in Thematic Commissions
16.30 – 18.00 Coordination Meetings
3rd day: November 3
09: 00- 12:00: Process of articulation in Plenary.
– Presentation of working Commissions.
12: 00- 13:45: Lunch
14:00 -16: 00: Closing Plenary.
– Presentation and approval of the Action Plan Project.
– Closing speech.
16:00 – 18:00: Cultural Gala.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


Paul Lynch 1952-2019

 On behalf of the Canadian Network on Cuba we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of a dear friend and solidarity activist, Paul Lynch on August 5th in Toronto after a short illness.

Paul was an easy-going, generous, warm person, who worked tirelessly in solidarity with Cuba and for peace and social justice.  In Cuba, his vibrant presence at the brigades over the years livened up the spirits of everyone around him. His deep commitment and love for Cuba was reflected in his constant return and solidarity with the Cuban Revolution.  He found hope, solace and renewed energy from the Cuban people and their innumerable accomplishments; and in turn brought that optimism back to Canada and shared it with all those he encountered.

Back in Toronto, Paul was an executive member of the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association and attended the 9th Biennial Convention in June 2019 as a delegate.  He was always keen to welcome our Cuban visitors.  Most recently, during the convention held in Toronto, he had the opportunity to drive ICAP representatives Sandra Yisel Ramírez and Yamil Edwardo Martínez Marrero around the city; and around Ontario during their post-convention tour.

Paul’s presence was omnipresent with CCFA.  He helped organize the Bravo Film Festival in 2018. With a keen proofreaders’ eye, Paul helped put out the CCFA Toronto newsletter Amistad.  He delivered cots for the large Pastors for Peace caravan on its stopover in Toronto last fall.  Paul always had his cell phone camera ready to take photos, documenting demonstrations, events, travel and friends everywhere.

We express our heartfelt condolences to Paul’s family and friends.

Our dear, wonderful Paul will be greatly missed by his numerous friends in Canada and Cuba and around the world.

Elizabeth Hill and Isaac Saney, Co-chairs Canadian Network on Cuba

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

66TH ANNIVERSARY OF MONCADA: ROAD OF INDEPENDENCE, JUSTICE AND DIGNITY

-Isaac Saney, CNC Spokesperson, July 21, 2019 -


July 26, 2019 marks the 66th anniversary of the act that is annually celebrated all over Cuba as the beginning of the movement and struggle that paved the way for the Cuban Revolution. 

On that day 66-years ago, Cuba’s rebels rose up against the U.S.- supported dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Although that first battle was lost, the Revolution ultimately prevailed on January 1, 1959.

Canadian commemorations of Moncada Day are a refection of the ties that exist between Cuba and Canada. Canadians admire the courageous and rebellious spirit embodied in Moncada; a spirit that today is so powerfully manifested in Cuba’s steadfastness against the efforts of the empire to destroy the island’s independence. 

The Canadian Network On Cuba and the  Canada-Cuba solidarity movement stand united against the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba. This economic war, combined with other attacks against the right of the Cuban people to chart their own course, has failed - and will fail - to defeat those historical aspirations and aim to build a society based on genuine independence and justice.  As Raúl Castro poignantly underscored, "Despite its immense power, imperialism does not possess the capacity to break the dignity of a united people, proud of its history and of the freedom conquered with so much sacrifice." 

Canadian commemorations of Moncada also take place in the context of disturbing developments in Ottawa's policy towards Cuba. On May 8, 2019 the Government of Canada made the abrupt decision to shut down the section of its Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) Office in Havana through which visas were processed for Cuban citizens wishing to visit Canada. This includes Cubans travelling for family visits, and those seeking work or study permits. This decision has introduced unreasonable delays and significant financial obstacles, as well as personal and emotional distress for those Cubans seeking to travel to Canada, and will cause (and has caused), among other things, significant damages to family reunification, business,  academic, cultural, scientific, and sports relations. 

This is unacceptable! The Canadian Network On Cuba and the Canada-Cuba solidarity movement call on the Government of Canada to fully re-open the IRCC Office and all visa services to Cubans in Havana!

In the 66-years that have flashed by since Moncada, the Cuban people have shown what it is possible to achieve when one defends genuine independence and self-determination. The example of Cuba assumes even greater significance as the 21st century continues unfolding, fraught with grave threats and alarming dangers that threaten the well-being - even the existence - of the peoples of the world. In the midst of these profound challenges,  these terrible perils, Cuba isa potent refutation to the contention that relations among the world’s nations and peoples are — and can only be — determined and governed by egoist self-interest, and the brutal pursuit of power and wealth. 

As  Cuba continues on the path of social justice, human dignity and international solidarity, the Cuban Revolution continues to be an inspiration to humanity. Cuba demonstrates that it is possible to build relations based on genuine solidarity and social love; it is a living example of the alternatives that permit people to realize their deepest aspirations, and that another better world is possible.

LONG LIVE THE MARTYRS OF MONCADA!
 

Moncada: Affirming History,  Independence and the Cause of Peace and Justice

- By Isaac Saney, National Spokesperson, Canadian Network On Cuba -

On July 26, 1953, a group of courageous young men and women -- led by Fidel Castro -- attacked the Moncada Barracks in the city of Santiago de Cuba, and the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Barracks in Bayamo, in an attempt to overthrow the U.S. supported puppet dictator Fulgencio Batista. As the island's second largest military garrison, the Moncada Barracks was critical to Batista's military control of southern Cuba. The goal was to seize the weapons and distribute them to the people and spark a national uprising that would not only overthrow the Batista dictatorship but also establish Cuba's independence and sovereignty. This heroic act is annually commemorated all over Cuba as the beginning of the movement and struggle that laid the foundation of the Cuban Revolution. 
          This year's commemorations are imbued with a particular poignancy;  it is the first without the physical presence of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. Fidel epitomized the unbending commitment to Justice, Dignity and Independence that has characterized Cuba since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.  Fidel's living legacy continues in the work of the Cuban Revolution. Fidel's example and fidelity to principle continue to inspire the Cuban people, who continue on the path of independence, self-determination and human dignity. 
        The attacks were carried out by an organization that was created in 1952, under the leadership of Fidel Castro and Abel Santamaria, and comprised of young workers, students, artisans, peasants and landless farmers. It had around 1,500 members and affiliated itself with historic Cuban national liberation figures such as José Martí and Antonio Maceo. Around 120 youths were part of the attacks, approximately 70 of whom were killed, with many being tortured and executed after the attack. The survivors, including Fidel Castro, were subsequently put on trial and given lengthy prison sentences. Most, including Fidel Castro, were released after an amnesty in May 1955. This amnesty was the result of the mass mobilization of Cubans in support of the imprisoned rebels. Under the leadership of Fidel Castro, the July 26th Movement galvanized Cubans, ultimately leading to the victory of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959.
          

The Moncada Barracks shortly after the July 26, 1953 attack. The barracks have been converted into a school
and Museum of the Revolution where the bullet holes shown here can be seen to this day.

While the Moncada attack failed in fulfilling its immediate objective, it was central to the Cuban people's struggle for national affirmation and social emancipation. Cubans have always placed Moncada in a broad historical context, viewing it as a crucial link in the century-long striving of Cuba to free itself from Spanish colonial domination and U.S. tutelage, and then, establish authentic independence. At his trial Fidel Castro delivered a speech that eventually became the manifesto of the movement to overthrow the Batista tyranny. It was published as La Historia Me Absolvera (History Will Absolve Me) and laid out the national and social goals of the revolutionary movement that eventually triumphed on January 1, 1959. Today, the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks, now a school and a museum, stand as concrete symbols of that successful struggle.
              

Raúl and Fidel in the Sierra Maestra during the Cuban Revolutionary War

Since the Cuban people embarked on the road paved by Moncada, Cuba has refuted and continues to refute the colonialist mentality and practice of foisting on independent countries imperial arrangements and dictates that they resoundingly reject. The Cuban Revolution has refused to renounce its right to self-determination and the principles, principles forged in the crucible of Moncada.  

History has given its judgment, vindicating the attack on the Moncada Barracks!

Long Live the Martyrs of Moncada!
Long Live the Cuban Revolution!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Communiqué - 9th Biennial Convention of the Canadian Network on Cuba: Defending Canada-Cuba Ties of Friendship & Solidarity  

Isaac Saney (CNC)
On June 8 - 9, 2019 delegates of 19 Canada-Cuba solidarity and friendship organizations from across the country gathered at Toronto City Hall for the 9th Biennial Convention of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC). Delegates met in the context of Washington’s escalating attacks on Cuba and worrying developments in Canada-Cuba relations. The closing of Canada's visa office in Havana, for example, was highlighted as extremely perturbing. Delegate deliberations emphasized that for 2019-2021 one of the central tasks facing the CNC, therefore, is to do its utmost to reverse these negative developments and ensure Ottawa's policy towards Cuba does not mirror Washington's. The Convention underscored  that Canadians, who in their hundreds of thousands visit Cuba annually for many reasons including tourism, business, academic, political and cultural exchanges of all kinds, want Ottawa to pursue a foreign policy based on mutual respect and equality.  

Heroic Island Faces the Empire 

On June 7, a pre-convention event was held at A Different Booklist, where speakers Cuban Consul Yoslaidy Clemente López, Cikiah Thomas (Chairperson, Global Afrikan Congress) and Dr. Isaac Saney Cuba specialist, CNC co-chair and spokesperson) addressed  a packed house.  Clemente López said Cuba's history has been one of resisting and standing up to colonizers and imperial powers and that the Cuban people would prevail over whatever the U.S. decided to hit them with.  In their presentations Saney and Thomas soberly but passionately denounced Washington’s and Ottawa's aggression against Cuba and Venezuela. With the meeting serving as the kick-off for the CNC Convention, the presenters called on all Canadians to uphold the right of self-determination and sovereignty of all peoples, while opposing the meddling and interference of any external force in their countries. 

       On the morning of June 8, the 9th Biennial Convention opened by acknowledging and greeting guests from the Embassy of Cuba in Canada and the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP).  Chief Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation then brought greetings. With a moving message of unity, Chief Laforme stressed the commonalities that bind all peoples together. As a token of gratitude, Chief Laforme was presented with a pouch of Cuban tobacco by CNC co-chair Isaac Saney. Saney underlined the symbolism of the Cuban tobacco by reciting the story of Hatuey, the Taino chief from Haiti who led the resistance in Cuba to Spanish colonization. Hatuey is recognized by Cubans as the island nation’s first internationalist. Saney also highlighted Havana’s important diplomatic contribution to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  

        Distinguished guests included Her Excellency Josefina Vidal (Ambassador of Cuba to Canada), Tania López Larroque (Consul General of Cuba), Sandra Ramírez Rodríguez (Director, North American Desk - ICAP), Yamil Martínez Marrero (Canada Desk - ICAP) and other Cuban diplomats and guests. The Convention then had the distinct honour and privilege of receiving words of greetings from Ambassador Josefina Vidal. The Ambassador underlined the importance of the Canada-Cuba solidarity and friendship movement.  She emphasized that despite facing ongoing U.S. aggression, the Cuban people had preserved their unity, without violating any of the revolutionary or ethical principles that have guided Cuba’s socialist project. She stated that Cuba’s goal was to continue to build a society of ever greater equity and justice, guided by José Martí’s vision of a nation “with all and for all.” The Ambassador reiterated these points in the June 8th evening public meeting, Cuba Moving Forward in 2019, held at the Church of the Holy Trinity, located in Trinity Square. She elaborated on the island nation’s socioeconomic development and the new constitution, emphasizing Cuba’s determination to renew its revolutionary and nation building project, while preserving its independence and sovereignty. She underscored the extensive democratic participation of the Cuban people in this process.  In a lively question and answer period, Ambassador Vidal unequivocally declared that Cuba stands for Latin American independence, is opposed to foreign interference and intervention in the region, and would not yield to imperial pressure. She said that the Canadian government should reconsider its decision to close its visa office in Havana, so that it would not be remembered as the government that ended Canada-Cuba people to people relations.  
     
         Delegates attended from almost all the Canadian Network on Cuba member groups from Halifax to Vancouver.  A report on the CNC work over the last two years was presented by co-chairs, Isaac Saney and Elizabeth Hill, followed with verbal reports from member organizations. In addition to plenary sessions and public events, three Convention panels were also held. In the first panel, on Canada-Cuba-U.S. relations, Sandra Ramírez  and Isaac Saney addressed Canada’s closing of its visa processing facilities in its Havana embassy and its impact on the Canadian and Cuban people. There was also an extensive discussion of Washington’s aggression against Venezuela and the impact on Cuba and Canada of the activation by U.S. President Trump of Title III and IV of the notorious and internationally condemned Helms-Burton Act. On the second panel, Defend Cuba and Latin American Sovereignty and Independence, Yamil Martínez (ICAP), Edgar Godoy (Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network) and Dr. Maria Páez Victor, (Chair, Canadian, Latin American and Caribbean Policy Centre) underscored the historic meaning of the Cuban Revolution for the cause of democracy, sovereignty and peace in the region.  The dangers of U.S. imperialism, especially its ongoing attacks on Venezuela, which Canada has also joined, were examined in sobering detail.       
  
        The third panel featured a special guest speaker, Mark Entwistle, former Ambassador of Canada to Cuba from 1993-1997. Trained as an historian, Mr. Entwistle drew attention to the early history of Canada-Cuba relations going back to the late 19th century before reviewing the uninterrupted diplomatic relations that Canada and Cuba have enjoyed since 1945. He accentuated that Canada, along with Mexico, refused to break diplomatic relations with Cuba in the 1960s when the United States established its economic, financial and commercial blockade of the island nation. He stressed that the recent closing of the visa office represents a serious departure from this longstanding relationship. He underscored that Cuba has a unique perspective on the world and has played an important role in contributing to regional peace and security. In the question and answer period, Mr. Entwistle emphasized that Canada's relationship with Cuba is important but that due to current developments Canada's image is at risk of being harmed in the eyes of the Cuban people.     

        Over the course of the convention delegates reaffirmed their determination to strengthen the Canada-Cuba solidarity movement and defeat the U.S. all-sided economic blockade of Cuba. Delegates also expressed their deep concern over the current state of Canada-Cuba relations resolving to do their utmost to ensure that relations remain based on the international norms of mutual respect and equality between nations. Therefore, given the escalation of the U.S. economic war against Cuba and the current uncertainty in Ottawa’s relations with Havana, a number of resolutions were adopted to guide the work of the CNC during 2019-2021. 

        Measures were adopted to stabilize and grow the Ernesto Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade in order to ensure its future success. Carrying on the fight against the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, delegates adopted a resolution against the activation of Titles III & IV of the Helms-Burton Act aimed at mobilizing Canadian public and political opinion against the unabated U.S. policy of aggression against Cuba. Apprehensive about the present state of Canada-Cuba relations, they also passed a resolution calling on Ottawa to reopen visa services in the Canadian embassy in Havana. Among other resolutions adopted were those calling for actions to mark the 5th anniversary of the liberation of the Five Cuban Heroes and the 500th anniversary of the founding of the city of Havana. Additionally, resolutions were passed to support the following conferences: 8th Vancouver Che Guevara Conference, in Vancouver, October 25– 27, 2019; Hemispheric Anti-Imperialist Solidarity Conference for Democracy and Against Neo-Liberalism in Havana, November 1-3, 2019; and Cuba at 60: Current Challenges, Future Prospects, in Halifax, October 31-November 2, 2019. Delegates also reiterated the necessity to continue to strengthen the work with Members of Parliament and legislatures.  
   
        To pursue this mandate and initiatives a new seven-member executive was elected: Bronwyn Cragg, Nora Fernandez, Julio Fonseca, Tamara Hansen, Elizabeth Hill, Michael O’Neill and Isaac Saney. The CNC embarks on the next two years with the task of expanding solidarity and friendship with Cuba throughout Canadian society. The CNC reaffirms that the people of Cuba, whatever the changes in Ottawa’s relations with Havana, can continue to count on the ongoing and undiminished solidarity and friendship of the people of Canada.  This solidarity and friendship are neither tenuous nor transitory but spring from the deeply rooted respect and admiration of Canadians for Cuba’s historic realization of its right to independence and self-determination: respect and admiration amplified by the what the Cuban people have been able to achieve while facing unceasing aggression from the United States. Out of this respect and admiration unbreakable ties of solidarity and friendship have been -- and continue to be -- forged between the peoples of Canada and Cuba.