Sunday, September 27, 2020

Somos del Barrio -We are the neighbourhood 
Gerardo Hernandez, Cuban Five Hero.

Visit: Sportsnet interview with Bill Ryan:

Bat man and Gervan take swing at saving Cuban baseball season

Patrick Kennedy articleSeptember 25, 2020 

Kingston Whig Standard

Gerardo Hernandez, a member of the Cuban 5, holds a Cubacan "trophy" bat while surrounded by members of Cuba's first family of baseball, the Gurriels, and bat maker Bill Ryan. From left are Ryan, Lourdes Gurriel Sr., Hernandez, ex-Baltimore Oriole Yuniesky Gurriel, current Toronto Blue Jay Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Houston Astro Yuliesky Gurriel. (Supplied Photo) JPG, KI

 Siembra -great music and a gift, by Arnaldo Rodriguez and Talismán
to the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution
celebrating their 60th Anniversary.

Thursday, September 10, 2020


Retired car salesman turning out baseball bats for Cuba

Sep 10, 2020   Ottawa Citizen

 From his basement woodworking shop in the Ottawa Valley, former car salesman Bill Ryan, 66, is turning out finely-crafted maple bats for Cuba's beleaguered baseball leagues. PHOTO BY JEAN LEVAC /Postmedia

A retired Ottawa Valley car salesman is turning out hundreds of hand-made maple bats every year for Cuban baseball players as part of a decade-long effort to assist the impoverished island nation.

Bill Ryan, 66, spends 10 or 11 hours every day in his basement woodworking shop, making his now famous “Cubacan” bats.

This year, he wants to send 600 bats — they each cost about $50 — to Cuba, which is about to start its national baseball series. Professional quality bats are difficult to find and prohibitively expensive in Cuba, which remains the subject of a strict U.S. trade embargo.

“The only way I can do this is to do all of the steps myself,” says Ryan, who lives on a rural side road south of Carleton Place, near Franktown.

He uses his own sawmill to cut the rectangular “blanks” from which he crafts a baseball bat. The blanks — rectangular blocks 36 inches long and three inches wide — are kiln-dried for three months to reduce their moisture content and weight.

Each bat requires about two hours of labour. Ryan uses a lathe to shape the bat, then sands it three different ways before applying two coats of paint, decals and two coats of varnish.

A careful record keeper, Ryan has made 2,967 bats since he launched his “hobby” a decade ago. Almost all of his bats are now in Cuba.

“When I made the first bat, there was no intention of making the second or the third: It just sort of built,” he says.

Like most Canadians, Ryan’s first exposure to Cuba came as a sun-seeking tourist.

A deeper involvement in the country started innocently enough when he decided to fashion a few bats as gifts for Cuban friends. A lifelong woodworker, Ryan made trophy bats that were more a decoration than a piece of baseball equipment.

In baseball-mad Cuba, however, the bats attracted attention and he was asked to make more, including bats that could be used in games. The maple bats quickly grew in popularity among Cuban players.

He was also asked to make bats as gifts for each of the Cuban Five — five intelligence officers who were arrested by U.S. authorities in September 1988. “Los Cincos” spent more than a decade in U.S. prisons after being convicted of spying. Cuba maintained they were in South Florida to monitor extremist exiles involved in a wave of terrorist bombings in Havana.

All of the men were released by 2014 and welcomed home as heroes in Cuba. Ryan met and befriended one of them, Gerardo Hernandez, and together they launched a grassroots organization, Cubacan, dedicated to improving the lives of ordinary Cubans.

Cubacan has shipped equipment and materials to improve bat making in Cuba. Last year, the organization delivered more than two tonnes of sports equipment to the island.

This year, Ryan wants to send 600 hand-crafted bats to the 16 teams competing in Cuba’s national baseball series, a key stepping stone to the Olympic Games for the country’s best players. The series starts next week.

Cuba is struggling to equip its baseball teams because of economic sanctions and new restrictions imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump. During the past four years, Trump has reversed the thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations orchestrated by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and tightened the sanctions that have stifled the Cuban economy for 60 years.

Ryan says U.S. efforts to damage Cuba even reached into the Ottawa Valley. Earlier this year, he says, under pressure from the U.S. Treasury Department, GoFundMe closed his fundraising account which had been created to send sports equipment to Cuba from Canada.

The Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) is now leading the fundraising effort to raise $30,000 to send the Cubacan bats to Cuba.

Ryan still travels to Cuba once a year with his wife, Nora. It’s “incredibly satisfying,” he says, to watch a baseball player hit a home run with one of his bats, but seeing one break still makes him shudder.

Two years ago, Ryan received the Cuban government’s Friendship Medal, which has gone to people such as singer Harry Belafonte and actor Danny Glover.

“More than one million Canadians go to Cuba every year,” he says, “so we’re trying to suggest to some of those people to send a bat, offer a donation, give something back.”

Anyone interested in donating to the Cubacan bat program, known as Cubacan 6060, can go to theCNC’s website or email

Cubacan6060 Bats for Cuba

Sunday, September 6, 2020


listen to this music and protest against the Cuban Blockade!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Eusebio Leal: the Historian

August, 1st, 2020

Eusebio Leal Spengler, the man who saved Havana, died at age 77 due to pancreatic cancer.  Leal has been -for more than half a century, well known as the Historian of the City of Havana and well respected in Cuba and around the world for his indefatigable work.  Eusebio Leal rebuilt palaces, fortresses, houses and squares, while at the Head of the office of the Historian and following UNESCO recognition of Old Havana as World Heritage site (1982).  The Historian managed donations and built a self-sufficient project sustained mainly with income raised through its own chain of renovated hotels. Most importantly, the Historian office provided needed social support and social work to the neighbours of Old Havana.  

Every morning people could see Leal walking through Old Havana something he did for decades. The Historian saw himself as a “guardian of memory,” and often expressed concern about those who loving decadent Old Havana forgot the many losses to time and change, losses he mourned dearly. The Historian knew he would never have enough time to achieve his entire goal -he would need many lives, he often said, to complete the work that kept him awake at night.  However, despite his concern and the size of the work Leal never gave up and instead tried with all his strength proving much could be achieved.  

The Historian rescued Havana through hard work, inexhaustible effort, and vision. He enlisted the support of anyone willing to bring to life his goal of restoring Havana to its original beauty. Since the 1960s, Leal dressed in grey a color he chose to facilitate communication with the men who helped him turn the old Palace of the Captain-Generals into the Museum of the City (of Havana). Men who were in jail but volunteered to work with him.  Leal was appointed Director of this Museum in 1967 and after his mentor, Emilio Roig de Leushenring, retired.

The Historian preferred blue for special occasions. Then, his passionate and knowledgeable speech would touch kings, popes, presidents, ministers, scholars and, very importantly, the many regular people who came in touch with him.  Leal guided Prince Charles, visiting from England, and King Felipe and Queen Letizia visiting from Spain.  His friendship and admiration for Fidel and Raul Castro and many Cuban political figures no doubt helped Leal achieve his dream. he was also a deputy to the National Assembly (Cuban Parliament) and was always open about his catholic faith, even at times where religion was strongly challenged.

Leal Spengler, born September 11th, 1942, was the son of poor farmers, the grandson of patriots and the great-grandson of immigrants of French and German background who arrived in Cuba from Haiti. He completed grade 5 when his mother sent him to an Asturian merchant she knew to complete an apprenticeship with him who failed to turn Leal into a merchant but succeeded in instill in him a strong faith and a wish of becoming a priest. Leal did not become a priest, he later said, because he could not remain celibate: “I loved women too much.” He married a few times and had five children, two of them living in Spain.  “Homeland and faith” his motto, insatiable reader from infancy and a regular reader of the Bible. I want to be remembered, he said, as a “Cuban devoted to his dream, a dream he was able to carry out mainly at the expense of wounds and indignities, sacrificing his private life.” Cubans knew Leal and his work through “Andar La Habana” (Walking Havana) a television program he did for years teaching Cubans to know and love their capital. Leal was the recipient of international recognition for his work, the last Order of Charles III from the King of Spain in November 2019 and Doctor Honoris Cause from Pontificia Universidad Lateranense (Pontificia Lateran University) on that same month and year.

See also: 

The Man Who Saved Havana, Smithsonian:

Monday, June 8, 2020

The Nobel Peace Prize for the Henry Reeve Brigade
The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity calls on the friends of Cuba and men and women of good will to support the nomination of the "Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade Specialized in Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics" for the Nobel Peace Prize for its significant contribution to humanity in the face of the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus.

More than 1500 Cuban health professionals, doctors, specialists and nurses were requested by 23 countries in Europe, Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Latin America and the Caribbean to help them in this global crisis and are now working in those countries.

Other requests for cooperation are underway, constituting the only international medical contingent to provide a scientific and humanitarian response to the pandemic on a global scale.

The medical cooperation that took place in Pakistan and Haiti after the devastating earthquakes, and the extraordinary success in the face of major epidemics such as Ebola in Africa demonstrates their great medical-scientific training, the capacity and experience to save lives in situations of natural disasters and serious epidemics, and underscores their great values of altruism, solidarity and humanism. "The Henry Reeve Brigade has spread a message of hope throughout the world. Its 7,400 volunteer health professionals have treated more than 3.5 million people in 21 countries in the face of the worst disasters and epidemics of the last decade," said the World Health Organization when it presented the Dr Lee Jong-wook Public Health Award at a ceremony for them in Geneva in May 2017 during the 70th World Health Assembly.

The initiative to nominate the Henry Reeve Brigade for the Nobel Peace Prize, that has appeared in social networks since March, has taken shape in groups of friendship and solidarity with Cuba such as the Association Cuba Linda, the Association France-Cuba and Cuba Cooperation of France; the Circle of Granma in Italy; the page created in the social network Facebook, on behalf of the Greek solidarity groups by the outstanding friend of Cuba Velisarios Kossivakis, under the name "Nobel Price for the Doctors of Cuba", which has more than 13 thousand endorsers in Greece and tens of thousands of messages and interactions; the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity of Brazil, Cubanismo of Belgium, the Movement of Solidarity and Mutual Friendship Venezuela-Cuba, Australia-Cuba Friendship Society, ACFS WA branch, the Association of Latin American Arab Solidarity José Martí of Lebanon and Madres Sabias of Spain. 

They are joined by solidarity groups in the US, such as the Network in Defense of Humanity - US Chapter, the National Network on Cuba (NNOC), IFCO/ Pastors for Peace, Code Pink and the US Chapter of the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity.

We ask you to strengthen the bonds between all of us to work in unity of action and achieve the nomination of the Cuban International Medical Brigade "Henry Reeve" for the Nobel Peace Prize.

While the US doubles the blockade, it prevents Cuba in the midst of a pandemic from even acquiring the health supplies to face it and puts pressure on other countries by launching a campaign of lies and slander against Cuban doctors.

The rhetoric of hatred, expressed by US President Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo and servile OAS Secretary Luis Almagro, seems to have no end. Recently an additional two million dollars has been allocated to the USAID to attack Cuban medical collaboration. "Instead of wasting money on aggressions against international cooperation and the health of the people, the U.S. government should focus on preventing the illness and death of its citizens in the face of Covid-19," Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said on Twitter.

In August 2019, to serve this same purpose, USAID, which provides resources to subversive programs against the Cuban government, allocated three million dollars. In less than a year, they have directed at least $5 million; taken from the pockets of American taxpayers to destabilize a program that's only purpose is to provide health to those who need it most, during this current pandemic, especially the countries of the Third World.

The small and besieged Cuba continues its heroic resistance, leaving no one behind, preserving its social conquests, its sovereignty and independence. Faithful to its principles of internationalism and cooperation, as recently expressed before the NAM summit by Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel.
Cuba and its doctors are giving the greatest example of giving solidarity and love to the world.

Nobel Peace Prize to the Henry Reeve Brigade


CNC letter to the
Canadian Minister of  Foreign Affairs

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, MP
Minister of Foreign Affairs
125 Sussex Dr
ON K1A 0G2

Dear Minister Champagne,

Re: April 30, 2020 Attack on Embassy of Cuba in the United States and Ongoing U.S. Aggression Against Cuba 

The world, including Canadians, were shocked by the attack on the Embassy of Cuba in the United States that occurred on April 30, 2020. The Canadian Network On Cuba (CNC) resolutely and unreservedly condemns this terrorist act.       

Under international law - specifically the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations - the United States is obligated to ensure the security of diplomats and diplomatic premises. Not only did Washington fail in that duty, it has failed to condemn the attack. The failure to condemn this act of terror is a flagrant violation of diplomatic norms, creating a situation in which Cuban diplomats in the United States will face the very real possibility of ongoing coercion or harassment. This is unacceptable.       

Moreover, the April 30 attack occurs within the context of increasingly hostile and belligerent actions against Cuba by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Washington’s hostile actions extend to actively and openly denying the island nation access to the medical equipment, medicines and protective gear needed to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.       

Surely, in the face of the worldwide corona virus menace, now is the time put political differences aside in order to control the pandemic and save lives?!   
In 2014, the world rejoiced to see the restoration of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba. 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 an incessant and unabating 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. In short, Washington is waging an economic war – more than an embargo - and an overt campaign of subversion against Cuba, with the objective of negating and extinguishing Cuba’s right to self-determination, sovereignty and independence.      

For 28-consecutive years, the United Nations has rejected this policy of aggression and subversion by condemning the economic sanctions – a veritable blockade- imposed on Cuba by United States. Canada has repeatedly been counted in the vast ranks of the world’s nations resoundingly rejecting the coercive and unilateral U.S. policy      

Therefore, the CNC - representing, Canada-Cuba friendship and solidarity organizations across Canada, ranging from Vancouver to Halifax - calls on the Government of Canada to insist that the United States:

1. Investigates the April 30 attack with full transparency and disclosure;
2. Ceases its acts and policy of hostility and aggression against Cuba;
3. Ends its on going measures that prevent Cuba accessing and importing medical equipment and medicines to confront COVID-19; and 
4. Ends all U.S. economic sanctions against the island nation.     

In closing, I wish to thank you in advance for your consideration of these issues. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Isaac Saney,
Co-Chair and National Spokesperson
Canadian Network On Cuba
Tel.: 902-449-4967

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

Cuba's potential virus vaccine

 has good results 

72% of critically ill patients, 90% sever cases recovered with treatment, says Verena Muzio

Beyza Binnur Donmez   |04.06.2020

A potential coronavirus vaccine in Cuba used to treat 58 patients, including those with severe and critical conditions from COVID-19, gave promising results, according to a Cuban expert.
The CIGB 258 vaccine has an 84% survival rate, Verena Muzio, chief of the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center (CIGB), told the Mesa Redonda television program Wednesday.
Muzio said 72% of critically ill patients and 90% of severe cases recovered from the virus with the vaccine treatment.
Cuba has 2,107 coronavirus cases and 83 deaths, while recoveries neared the 2,000 mark, according to the data compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, Brazil's Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) will participate in the testing phase of a vaccine developed by Oxford University, becoming "the first country where the vaccine was tried out of England," according to reports Wednesday.
The testing will involve 2,000 Brazilian patients.
Brazil is the epicenter of the pandemic in Latin America and shows a significant increase in cases and deaths while most of the world are on a downward trend. The country has more than 584,000 cases -- the second-highest count globally after the US, and more than 32,500 deaths.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

YOUTUBE Interview in English. Meet Cuban doctor Luis Herrera, the creator of Interferon Alfa 2-B medication against COVID-19. In layman’s language he explains it, and answers questions.
Credit: teleSur English



Cuba Business Report


Letter written by Mr. Jack Harris, MP to Honorable F. P. Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in response to request made by Cuban Ambassador in Canada.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Cuba is not alone: Unblock Cuba
Colaboración entre EEUU-Cuba-Canada en la lucha contra covid-19

Prensa Latina: Lanzan campaña en Canada para apoyar lucha de Cuba contra covid-19

U.S.-Cuba-Canada Collaboration in Fighting COVID-19

-National Network On Cuba & Canadian Network On Cuba Campaign-

COVID-19 is ravaging the United States. Day by day, hour by hour, the infected and fatalities continue to spiral ever upward, with the most vulnerable communities, especially African Americans, disproportionately affected. The entire healthcare system is being strained beyond its capacity to provide adequate care and treatment, with doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers driven to exhaustion and beyond in their valiant efforts to save lives.

A pandemic is by definition global. Surely, in the face of this worldwide menace, now is the time for international medical cooperation and solidarity. A time for joint efforts to confront COVID-19. A time to put political differences aside in order to save lives. It is for this reason, that we are launching a campaign to call for medical collaboration with Cuba, to gain access to Cuban medical expertise to assist in the fight against COVID-19.

Many countries are now drawing on Cuba's expertise in fighting COVID-19. At the time of writing, Cuba has more than 800 medical personnel serving in 18 countries, including especially hard-hit Italy and Spain. In the coming days and weeks more Cuban medical missions will be dispatched to other countries. These missions reflect Cuba's long history of medical internationalism. Many of the medical personnel now intimately involved in the fight against COVID-19 are part of the specially trained Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade against Disasters and Serious Epidemics, which distinguished itself in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Cuba also offers treatment regimens, some of which are not available in the United States and Canada. A key component of the protocols being used on the island and in the medical missions is Cuba's Interferon Alfa 2B Recombinant (IFNrec). While IFNrec is not a panacea, preliminary reports are promising, pointing to IFNrec's efficacy (in combination with other drugs) in treating COVID-19. In the recently published extensive medical handbook by Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China on how to treat COVID-19, IFNrec is a crucial component of the anti-viral treatment to combat the coronavirus. It is also used as a preventative measure to protect healthcare workers from contagion. At least 45 countries have sought to use IFNrec for confronting the COVID-19 pandemic.

We call on the U.S. and Canadian governments to lift restrictions on access to Cuban medical expertise, including the importation of IFNrec, in order to more effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

A precedent for this opening and cooperation has already been established by the joint venture--facilitated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo--between Cuba's Centre for Molecular Immunology and Buffalo's Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in developing CIMAvax, the Cuban lung cancer vaccine.

There was also the collaboration between medical personnel from Cuba and the University of Illinois on infant-mortality in Chicago. This campaign will also benefit Canada, particularly, Indigenous peoples and Black communities that are the most at risk from COVID-19. For example, the Canadian government has turned down the request for Cuban doctors by the Southern Chiefs’ Organization, representing the Anishinaabe and Dakota First Nations in southern Manitoba.

Join and support us in this call for medical collaboration with Cuba. Cuban medical expertise can and will save lives. As Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez stated: "Humanity faces a common challenge. This pandemic does not respect borders or ideologies. It threatens the lives of all, and it is everyone's responsibility to address it."

Specifically, we call for:
1. Incorporating Cuba’s Interferon Alfa 2B Recombinant in clinical trials in the U.S. and Canada.
2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for Cuba’s Interferon Alfa 2B Recombinant.
3. Allowing U.S.-Cuba-Canada medical collaboration.
4. Ending U.S. economic and travel sanctions against Cuba, including its extraterritorial nature and the attempts to stop all other countries accepting Cuban medical brigades.

Please endorse this campaign at:

Use this letter by sharing and sending it to medical personnel, unions, elected officials, community, faith-based and political

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Nadie se va a morir...menos ahora -Cancilleria de Cuba

Follow the link for a video of how Cuba is dealing with covid-19:

Thursday, March 19, 2020

What the Covid-19 virus revealed about national mindsets across the world and how Cuba came out on top by helping...
In a sign of true global solidarity, writes Ahmed Twaij, Cuba allowed the MS Braemer, a British cruise ship, to dock on Cuban shores despite carrying at least five confirmed coronavirus cases on board and 52 additional passengers showing symptoms. The ship carrying over 600 mainly British passengers had no Cuban nationals on board. Nevertheless, Cuba accepted their plea for help and allowed the MS Braemer to dock. The MS Braemer had been anchored in the Caribbean for five days searching frantically for a place to dock with no positive response. Diplomats from the British Foreign Office urged US officials to allow the ship to dock on American soil but they found obstacles. Cuban officials, however, accepted the request saying stopping the pandemic must be “a shared effort.” The Cuban response added that humans were suffering, and, regardless of the passport they held, they deserved help. Until then Cuba had only five confirmed cases of Covid-19 and was aware that the ship docking could threaten to increase that number exponentially.
This is not the first time the Cuban government and Cuban health care providers stepped in to help during global emergencies: Cuban doctors deployed in West Africa during the Ebola crisis and also during the Haitian earthquake emergency in 2010. This government program which emerged in the wake of the Cuban revolution sending Cuban healthcare professionals across the world during humanitarian situations and crises, has been recently at risk because of the US unrelenting blockade, made more virulent by the Trump Administration.

The coronavirus pandemic is serious and should unite the world. Cuba has for years run a celebrated universal healthcare system with outcomes equal to those of developed countries, argues Twaij, and Cuba has one of the world’s highest life expectancies. On the other hand, Twaij argues, the US continues to push profiteering from coronavirus through a private healthcare system that abandons its most vulnerable citizens. The US health care system early failure to even provide adequate testing kits to its population speaks volumes, he said.  Spain, in a dramatic announcement, nationalized all its private hospitals this week in an effort to contain the impact of the virus and showing privatization is not a good option. A public health care is more effective, affordable and accountable than a private one.  This crisis proves that a nationalized public system works better and keeps citizens safer.
Rather than battling to close borders and fueling xenophobia, by referring to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus,” the president of the US should show leadership during time of crisis proving he is capable.  Still, Mr. Trump continues to ask for wall building achieving nothing, Twij argues. Is there still room for humanitarian goodness? Remember he says when we treat others, regardless of where they are from, as we would wish to be treated. Well Iran has borne the brunt of US protectionism and sanctions which had accelerated the spread of the virus in the country. One thing to learn about a global world: global economies and global epidemics cannot be treated in isolation. A car bomb in Iraq affects the stock prices in the US. Covid-19 has caused a financial contagion worse than the 2008 credit crunch. This is no longer about making America great again, says Twaij, a theory that has already collapse. It is about saving the world again. If this US Administration fails at this, other countries have proven they can and will step in.