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When you're up against the odds:  How Cuba's July 26 celebration can inspire us today      

By Tim Louis



 A few days ago, I, along with supporters of Cuba around the world and Cubans themselves celebrated July 26.  What's so special about July 26? Let me tell you. I think you'll enjoy the story, mainly because it's so relevant today, when a lots of us, especially young people, are determined to make what seems impossible possible: Rebalancing the way we treat nature and our climate, and making our world fair and equitable for everyone, not just those who enjoy wealth and privilege. 

 In June 1948, Carlos Prío Socarrás was elected president of Cuba.  He was a moderately progressive man - not a socialist by any stretch of the imagination, but he did introduce positive, but limited, reforms that benefitted most Cubans. Members of the extreme right-wing military, however, were aplopletic over his election. 

 The anger and rage continued until a Cuban general by the name of Fulgencio Batista — who himself had once been president back in the 1940s — led a violent coup right before the Cuban election in March 1952. Batista, who was also a presidential candidate that election, but in last spot, overthrew the outgoing President Socarrás. He also cancelled the upcoming election and took control of the government as "Provisional President."

  Batista was a brute of a dictator and a huge friend of organised crime. Right after the coup, he started a campaign of terror. In the middle of the night, he'd send his police officers to raid the homes of student organisers, tenant organisers, labour organisers — anyone Batista disapproved of. These people were taken from their homes, disembowelled and left to die on the sidewalk. The message was clear. 

 Still, a very young, some would say, naive lawyer sought a court order to have Batista removed. He was literally laughed out of court, the judge summarily dismissing his application. That lawyer was just 25 years old. His name was Fidel Castro.

 Castro soon realized that the only way to rid Cuba of Batista and his brutal regime was through an armed revolt. And here's where we get to the July 26 celebrations.

 In July 26, 1953, the then 27-year-old Fidel carried out an audacious plan. He led fewer than 200 poorly armed revolutionaries in an attack on Cuba’s second largest military base, Moncada, and on another military barracks. He stipulated no blood shed unless they met armed resistance. But the attack was a disaster. A complete disaster — over almost before it began. Castro ordered a retreat as soon as failure was apparent and surrendered along with his fighters.

 Batista’s soldiers should have taken them into custody and had them tried in court. Instead, they began to summarily execute them. But, against all odds, Castro and a handful of comrades managed to escape into the Sierra Maestra mountains.

 It was only a matter of time before Batista’s military tracked them down. However, in another amazing reprieve, the soldier who arrested Fidel was one of the very few members of the military at the time who believed in the rule of law. Instead of executing him on the spot, he arrested Castro and had him put in prison to await trial.

 Of course, Castro was convicted. But before passing the sentence of up to 15 years in prison, the judge allowed Fidel to address the court. His subsequent extraordinary four-hour, extemporaneous speech later became the basis for a pamphlet called "History Will Absolve Me." It also became the manifesto for the revolutionary July 26 Movement, so named for the date of the Moncada uprising and for the 26 men — including Fidel — imprisoned as a result. 

 By now, Fidel was supported, even deeply loved, throughout much of Cuba, both for his brave attack on Moncada and his famous speech. Over the next two years, public pressure for his release became so intense that he was released in 1955. Batista’s real plan, however, was to have Fidel murdered in the middle of the night by one of his policemen, which was impossible as long as Fidel remained in prison.

 Fidel got wind of the plan and, with his brother, Raúl, who was part of the uprising, fled to Mexico City. There he met a young doctor from Argentina who, the previous year, had ridden his motorbike to Guatemala, where a new government led by Jacobo Árbenz had recently been elected.

 Echoing the events in Cuba, that new, democratically-elected government also introduced a handful of moderate reforms that benefitted most Guatemalans. Predictably, the Guatemalan military also went apoplectic. To top things off, a powerful American-owned company, the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita Brands International) —described as a "state within a state" since it dominated so much of Guatemala and other Latin American countries, including the banana trade — also vehemently opposed the reforms because they cut into the company’s power and profits.

 In 1954, with the assistance of the CIA, the Guatemalan military overthrew the Árbenz government.

 After witnessing the coup, the young Argentine doctor became convinced that the poor of Latin America could never achieve social justice through the ballot box. He left Guatemala for Mexico City, where he met Fidel Castro. That young doctor was Ernesto "Che" Guevara. The two men clicked, and spent an entire night talking about their revolutionary ideas.

 Then, Fidel and Che set about achieving the impossible.

 The first step in their plan was to assemble a group of fighters who would sail from Mexico to Cuba, then organise a mass revolt and overthrow Batista. For the 1956 voyage, Fidel purchased a decrepit old yacht, barely seaworthy, but it would do the job. Fidel named it Granma, a name that lives on today as the name of Cuba's national newspaper.

 With only 81 armed revolutionaries on board, the plan was to rendezvous with a number of supporters at a specific date, time and place on the Cuban coast.

 The 1,900-km crossing was harsh. Food and water were in short supply plus the boat leaked, so at times they were delayed by bailing water. Still, by the time the Granma was halfway to Cuba, they were on schedule for the rendezvous. Then, misfortune struck. One of the men fell overboard. Fidel was faced with a choice: He could continue and reach the Cuban supporters at the agreed time, or he could order the captain to circle back in a desperate attempt to find the man overboard.

 For any of us, it would have been a terrible dilemma. Not so for Fidel, who was extremely loyal to his comrades. He immediately ordered the captain to start circling. Despite the harsh circumstances, they miraculously found the man, but by the time the Granma reached the rendezvous point, they were long overdue.

 In the meantime, Batista’s troops had learned of the plans, including the chosen location. They waited in ambush until all the combatants had waded halfway to shore, then opened fire with machine guns. Castro's fighters had nowhere to hide. They couldn't run since they were waist-deep in the water. Nearly all of them were killed.

 But once again, defying the odds, Fidel and 12 others managed to make it ashore and run for their lives into the forest. They had no food or water and were only lightly armed, but sympathizers fed and sheltered them.

 In just a few short months, the small band of fighters — which included both men and women — had grown until it was large enough to begin attacking Cuban military outposts. Whenever one of Fidel’s fighters was captured by the military, they were summarily executed. However, when things were reversed and a Batista soldier was caught, he was not harmed in any way. In fact, he was let go, but only after being forced to give up his shoes.

 It was only a matter of time before word spread throughout the military that it was much safer to surrender to the revolutionaries than it was to keep fighting. Eventually, whenever the revolutionaries attacked Batista’s men, the soldiers would simply give up without a fight.

 In just two years, Fidel’s forces overthrew the brutal dictator.

 Batista fled Cuba on New Year’s Eve, 1958. Once he was gone, Fidel and Ché, along their supporters, set about implementing a large number of far-reaching reforms and setting up a socialist state to improve Cubans' standard of living.

 Once again, apoplexy reared its head, but this time it was the Americans in Washington D.C. who couldn't get over the progressive initiatives. Their response? In 1960, they set up a brutal trade embargo, which over the decades has only been continually tightened.

In spite of the embargo — and against all odds — Cubans have accomplished a number of breathtaking achievements, all of which proves that it really is possible to achieve what seems like the impossible:

 • Low infant mortality: At 4.40 deaths per 1,000 live births, Cuba has lowered its infant mortality rate such that it's far lower than every other developing country in the world. According to the CIA's own World Factbook, it's far lower than America's (5.80 deaths per 1,000 live births) and slightly lower than Canada's (4.50 deaths per 1,000 live births). Monaco's is best, at 1.80 deaths, followed by Japan. Sadly, Afghanistan is the worst for infant mortality, at just over 110 deaths per 1,000 live births.

 • High life expectancy: Cuba's remarkable health care system — which provides free medical treatment for all Cubans and is the envy of the developing world — has enabled it to extend life expectancy to 78.8 years (according to the World Bank). This is considerably higher than that for the world (72.6 years) and slightly higher than the U.S.'s, at 78.5 years. By comparison, Canada has a life expectancy of 82 years.

 • Providing volunteer doctors around the world: In 2005, to help out U.S. victims of Hurricane Katrina, Castro created the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade (HRIMB). Unfortunately for New Orledandeans the US never accepted this generous offer of support, but HRIMB's purpose is still to send thousands of volunteer doctors to countries around the world to help out where the need is greatest.

 In Pakistan, HRIMB treated more than 600,000 victims in the aftermath of the devastating 2005 earthquake. Members of this voluntary medical brigade went up into remote areas of Pakistan's mountains and assisted people who had never before seen a doctor in their entire lives. Patients were so grateful they began naming their newborn babies after the Cuban doctors!

 Another remarkable example: In 2015, the brigade was instrumental in helping contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Cuban doctors, at great risk to their own safety, treated thousands of patients with Ebola, their efforts earning them a nomination for that year's Nobel Peace Prize.

 Again this year, Pastors for Peace, Code Pink and others have nominated Cuba's volunteer-doctor program for the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts in 23 countries treating thousands of COVID-19 patients. In total, it's estimated the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade has helped more than 3.5 million patients around the world over the years. Fingers crossed they receive this honour this time. (To support the nomination, contact the Nobel Committee here.)

 • Free medical education for students from poor communities: In 1999, Cuba started a medical school for foreign students from the poorest communities around the world. Known as Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM), the school is aimed at returning its grads to practise medicine in those poor areas of their home countries. Tuition, accommodation and board are free, and a small stipend is provided as well.

 ELAM has been described as possibly the largest medical school in the world, by enrolment. Preference goes to applicants who are financially needy and/or people of colour who show the most commitment to working in their poor communities. Even students from the U.S. are accepted. The school and its grads are recognized by the Medical Board of California and the World Health Organization, plus a sister school has been opened in Venezuela as well.

 • Free treatment for people going blind: In 2004, Cuba and Venezuela jointly started a program to provide free medical treatment for people with eye problems. It now runs dozens of eye clinics in 13 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Called Operación Milagro (Operation Miracle), it's estimated to have restored the vision, at no cost, of nearly 50,000 patients around the world, including the Bolivian officer who executed Che Guevara — Mario Terán.

https://www.timlouis.ca/

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Who is IFCO


For more than five decades Intereligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) has assisted hundreds of community organizations and public policy groups –by providing technical assistance, training organizers, making and administering grants, and using our global network of grassroots organizers, clergy, and other professionals to advance the struggles of oppressed people for justice and self-determination.
IFCO’s mission is to support the poor and disenfranchised in developing and sustaining community organizations to fight human and civil rights injustices. In pursuit of this mission, IFCO promotes funds and coordinates domestic and international community development efforts -programs designed to improve people’s own communities.
The first national foundation controlled by people of color, IFCO has acted as a bridge between predominantly mainline churches and community groups conceived of and run by people of color; as a broker for the channeling of interdenominational support; and as a resource bank supporting the work of congregations and organizations engaged in the work of community-building. IFCO has acted as a monitor, supporting self-determination by the poor, the hungry, and the exploited and insuring that their needs are not sacrificed for the priorities of the privileged in American society. IFCO has acted as a catalyst and a conscience in the movement for social justice.
This is our continuing commitment to our family; Some of whom are living, many of whom have passed away, and most of whom are yet unborn…
Join the Celebration!  Donate
Victory!!!

After a 10-year historic struggle against unprecedented IRS harassment,
we’ve won!!!

The IRS finally conceded and
reinstated our 501c(3) non-profit status!!
We want to thank ALL of you who helped make this IFCO victory possible!  Our friends who continued to support our work financially even when they didn’t have the benefit of making their gifts tax-exempt, and our partners at the Alliance for Global Justice who stepped in to support us and all of our fiscally sponsored projects. We thank those who provided legal expertise and those who exercised the power of prayer. Thank you all!!
In the words of our attorney, this reinstatement is a clear vindication of IFCO’s principled stand to serve as a fiscal sponsor of the Viva Palestina project that provided desperately needed medical aid for the beleaguered people of Gaza.

The IRS’s concession absolves our righteous decision to stand in solidarity with the people of Cuba and to engage in prayerful civil disobedience of the US government’s unjust and criminal blockade of the island nation.

This ruling justifies our steadfast commitment to defend the rights of the disenfranchised, the wrongly imprisoned, and the victims of police brutality.
In the last 10 years, we've never let the powers-that-be stop our life-giving work:
           --Challenging (and winning!) the immoral US blockade of Cuba and unconstitutional US travel restrictions with our solidarity caravans and delegations;
           --Supporting the work of sister progressive organizations from Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees to South Bronx Unite; from the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition to the Campaign to End Sanctions
--Administering the US/ELAM scholarship program that has graduated nearly 200 US doctors who are now working in underserved communities across the US! (Help us spread the word about this wonderful opportunity!) [https://ifconews.org/medical-school/]
Ever since 1967 IFCO has been saying “NO” to injustice. Ever since 1967 IFCO has been attacking and exposing the systems which cause racism, hunger and suffering – both in the US and throughout the world.
How can we “keep on keeping on?” The answer is easy. YOU!
Your support, your words of encouragement, your gifts allow us:
·        To keep sending young people to study medicine in Cuba, mentor them during their seven years of study and after they return home to practice in under-served communities.
·        To keep organizing Caravans to Cuba (we’ve already begun the work for next spring’s Caravan – 10 routes in 50 cities around the US. And travel to Cuba next summer!)
·        To organize delegations to travel throughout the year – to have deep discussions and insightful visits to learn about specific areas of Cuban life and culture: healthcare, education, religion, farming, incarceration, and the justice system – and more.
·        To work with others to organize against US-sponsored sanctions – a form of warfare designed to harm children, the sick, the aging, warfare waged against the most vulnerable people in a country.
Help us celebrate this victory by making a generous CELEBRATION donation today!
(and it’s now TAX-DEDUCTIBLE!!)






[Phone: 212-926-5757] [Fax: 212-926-5842] 
[E-mail: ifco@ifconews.org
 [Website: www.ifconews.org]
[Address: 418 West 145th Street, New York, NY 10031]




CNC Responds to Canadian Government on Visa Services for Cubans

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada

Dear Prime Minister,

Re:  Reply by S. Charbonneau, Ministerial Enquiries Division regarding the processing of applications for citizens of Cuba

I am writing in response to the letter I received via email on On October 1, 2019 from  S. Charbonneau, Ministerial Enquiries Division in the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The letter was in direct response - at the request of your office - to one of the questions posed to you in your capacity as Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada in An Open Letter to Party Leaders in the 2019 Federal Election of Canada, sent to you on September 22, 2019. 

On behalf of the Canadian Network On Cuba (CNC), I inquired: "whether you and your party will support the Government of Canada fully reopening the IRCC Office and all visa services offered to Cubans in Havana, Cuba, so that visa processing may proceed in a reasonable manner?"

In the September 22, 2019 letter, it was pointed out that despite the restoration of some services, "the continued reduction in embassy staffing has resulted - and continues to result – in unreasonable delays and significant financial obstacles for those Cubans seeking to travel to Canada, and will, amongst other things, cause significant damage to people-to-people contacts, business, cultural, academic, scientific and sporting relations."

Mr. Charbonneau's response is evasive and unsatisfactory. He states that the Ministry is taking steps to make "the application process quicker, easier and less costly for applicants," and that "Canada recognizes the importance of minimizing the impact of the service reduction on Cuban residents so that they can continue to come to Canada." However, he then notes that the Embassy of Canada in Havana:

"no longer has diplomatic staff working at the Embassy to deliver these functions. All permanent and temporary resident applications will be processed outside Cuba. Permanent residence applicants are still required to travel outside of Cuba to take their medical exam and if required, attend interviews, as these services are not available in Cuba. Applicants can choose to take their medical exam in any country where there is a panel physician authorized by the Government of Canada. Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana are the 2 closest countries with panel physicians that do not have visa requirements for Cuban nationals to visit. However, applicants can travel to any country that is most convenient for them. Applicants residing in Cuba who require an interview will be given the choice to have their interview at an IRCC office in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, or Mexico City, Mexico. All visa and permanent resident applications are being transferred to IRCC’s visa office in Mexico City to be processed. After applying, applicants will be hearing directly from that office on the next steps required for their application."

This admission cannot be reconciled with the commitment to make "the application process quicker, easier and less costly for applicants" and "the importance of minimizing the impact of the service reduction on Cuban residents so that they can continue to come to Canada." Indeed, they are mutually exclusive.

Our central concerns remain. The reduction in services have introduced unacceptable and unreasonable delays and established significant financial obstacles for those Cubans seeking to travel to Canada. These have already caused damage to people-to-people contacts, business, cultural, academic, scientific and sporting relations.

Therefore, we ask that if your government and party is committed to “minimizing the impact of the service reduction on Cuban residents so that they can continue to come to Canada," in particular, and fostering the further development of Canada-Cuba relations, in general:

Will you and your party fully support the reopening of the IRCC Office, and all visa services offered to Cubans in Havana, Cuba, so that visa processing may proceed in a reasonable manner?

Additionally, Mr. Charbonneau also stated at the end of his response that regarding "concerns about diplomatic relations with Cuba and the policies of the government of the United States, I must advise you that this does not fall under the mandate of IRCC. You may wish to send a copy of your letter to Global Affairs Canada."

While, we would welcome an answer from Global Affairs Canada to these issues, we also recognize that as Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada our queries about "diplomatic relations with Cuba and the policies of the government of the United States" fall under your ambit and spheres of responsibilities.

We look forward to your reply and  thank you in advance for your consideration of the issues raised and questions posed by the Canadian Network On Cuba.

Respectfully,

Isaac Saney,
Co-Chair and National Spokesperson
Canadian Network On Cuba

Tel.: 902-449-4967



From the office of the Prime Minister


Mailing address:
Canadian Network On Cuba
209 Oakwood Avenue
Toronto, ON M6E 2V3


Dear Isaac Saney:

The Office of the Prime Minister has kindly forwarded to the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, a copy of your correspondence of September 22, 2019, regarding the processing of applications for citizens of Cuba. I have been asked to respond to your concerns.

I appreciate you sharing the circumstances which prompted you to write. Since the visa office located at the Embassy of Canada in Havana, Cuba closed on May 8, 2019, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been working diligently to ensure that the processing of applications from Cuba continues smoothly and that applicants have access to the services they need to come to Canada.

As of August 1, 2019, the following services originally offered at IRCC’s Havana visa office will be once again available at the same location in the Canadian Embassy:
·      biometrics collection (fingerprints and a photo)
·      passport drop-off and visa pick-up

The Department is reinstating some of the services originally offered at the visa office to minimize the impact of the closure on applicants and facilitate their travel to Canada. These will make the application process quicker, easier and less costly for applicants.

Canada recognizes the importance of minimizing the impact of the service reduction on Cuban residents so that they can continue to come to Canada. We will continue to explore other mitigation measures and alternative service channels to improve visa and immigration services offered to Cuban residents.

Only IRCC officials have the authority to make decisions and oversee the processing of applications, and conduct permanent residence interviews. IRCC no longer has diplomatic staff working at the Embassy to deliver these functions. All permanent and temporary resident applications will be processed outside Cuba. Permanent residence applicants are still required to travel outside of Cuba to take their medical exam and if required, attend interviews, as these services are not available in Cuba.

Applicants can choose to take their medical exam in any country where there is a panel physician authorized by the Government of Canada. Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana are the 2 closest countries with panel physicians that do not have visa requirements for Cuban nationals to visit. However, applicants can travel to any country that is most convenient for them. Applicants residing in Cuba who require an interview will be given the choice to have their interview at an IRCC office in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, or Mexico City, Mexico.

All visa and permanent resident applications are being transferred to IRCC’s visa office in Mexico City to be processed. After applying, applicants will be hearing directly from that office on the next steps required for their application.

Please consult IRCC’s latest Web Notice for information on what services are available at the Canadian embassy.

With regard to your concerns about diplomatic relations with Cuba and the policies of the government of the United States, I must advise you that this does not fall under the mandate of IRCC. You may wish to send a copy of your letter to Global Affairs Canada.


Sincerely,

S. Charbonneau
Ministerial Enquiries Division



Elections 2019 in Canada: 

Questions to Party Leaders



An Open Letter to Party Leaders in the 2019 Federal Election of CanadaPrintE-mail

Re: Canada-Cuba Relations

I am writing to you on behalf of the Canadian Network On Cuba (CNC), which represents Canada-Cuba friendship and solidarity organizations across Canada, ranging from Vancouver to Halifax and with over 50,000 in membership. One of the CNC’s principal objectives is advocating that Canadian foreign policy regarding Cuba remains based on equality and respect for sovereignty and the right of selfdetermination. Consequently, the CNC is deeply concerned by recent decisions and actions of the Government of Canada. Canadians are very worried that recent developments in Ottawa-Havana relations could lead to the mirroring of the policy of the United States.

The abrupt decision earlier this year to shut down the section of its Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) Office in Embassy of Canada in Havana that processed visas and study permits is particularly perturbing. While some services have been restored, the continued reduction in embassy staffing has resulted - and continues to result – in unreasonable delays and significant financial obstacles for those Cubans seeking to travel to Canada, and will, amongst other things, cause significant damage to people-to-people contacts, business, cultural, academic, scientific and sporting relations.

Therefore, we wish to inquire whether you and your party will support the Government of Canada fully reopening the IRCC Office and all visa services offered to Cubans in Havana, Cuba, so that visa processing may proceed in a reasonable manner?

In 2014, the world rejoiced to see the restoration of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba in a signed agreement between then Presidents Raúl Castro Barrack Obama. The world held out great hopes that relations between the two countries would be normalized. Canada helped by providing a venue for the talks which led to the improvement of those relations. However, under the administration of Donald Trump, we have witnessed a return to the policy of overt and ever escalating hostility and aggression against Cuba. The United States continues to zealously pursue and implement the extensive series of economic sanctions arrayed against the island nation, including the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which allows U.S. companies and citizens to sue in U.S. courts not only Cuban companies but also Canadian and other international companies engaged in business and other economic activity in Cuba.

In short, Washington is waging an economic war – more than an embargo - against Cuba, with the objective of negating and extinguishing Cuba’s right to selfdetermination, sovereignty and independence. This effort to asphyxiate Cuba is the principal obstacle to this proud island nation’s social and economic development, costing the people of Cuba in excess of $100 billion. In short, the economic blockade is an egregious violation of the human rights of the people of Cuba.

For 27-consecutive years, the General Assembly of the United Nations has rejected and condemned these economic sanctions – an economic blockade- imposed on Cuba by United States. Washington’s policy, with its extra-territorial character, is a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and customary international law. In 2018, as in previous years, the global community overwhelmingly stood with Cuba, voting 189- 2 against Washington. Canada was once again counted in the vast ranks of the world’s nations resoundingly rejecting the coercive, unilateral and extra-territorial U.S. policy. Within this context, the Canadian Network On Cuba wishes to inquire what are the stances of you and your party on the following very important and salient questions:

How do you and your party intend to respond to and counter the escalation of Washington’s hostility towards Cuba by the administration of Donald Trump?

What further steps will you and your party take to oppose the economic sanctions of the United States against Cuba condemned by the United Nations and several other international organizations?

What concrete measures will you and your party implement to oppose the extraterritorial application of U.S. sanctions against Cuba, especially as they pertain to Canadian businesses and Canadian citizens? Especially regarding the enforcement of the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act?

The CNC resolutely reaffirms the inalienable right of the people of Cuba - and all other peoples - to determine their future and their political, economic and social system without external interference: a right enshrined in the United Nations Charter, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-Operation Among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. Will you and your party support the right of Cuba to the return of the illegally occupied territory of the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay?

Do you and your party support Cuba’s right to self-determination and sovereignty, free of any external interference in the island's domestic affairs (i.e. affirming the right of the people of Cuba to determine their own political, economic and social arrangements without foreign diktat)?

Millions of Canadians have travelled to Cuba and having witnessed Cuban reality for themselves have come away with a profound respect and admiration for the people of Cuba and their efforts to build a society centered on independence, justice and human dignity. Irrespective of their political or ideological positions, Canadians stand for the building of genuine friendship with the island nation: relations based on mutual respect, equality and recognition of Cuba’s right to self-determination and sovereignty. Consequently, Canada's relations with Cuba should be based on mutual respect and equality, not on outmoded colonialist ideas and practices.

In closing, we wish to thank you in advance for your consideration of the issues raised and answering the questions posed by the CNC. Please find enclosed, the recently published book, Cuba Solidarity in Canada: Five Decades of People to People Foreign Relations.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Respectfully,

Isaac Saney,
Co-Chair and National Spokesperson
Canadian Network On Cuba

Email: isaney@hotmail.com
Tel.: 902-449-4967

Mailing address:
Canadian Network On Cuba
209 Oakwood Avenue
Toronto, ON M6E 2V3

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