Monday, June 10, 2024


Cuban ambassador visits Portland

Cuba’s ambassador to the United States, Lianys Torres Rivera, speaking to University of Portland students, accompanied by David Ramirez, Second Secretary for the Cuban Mission in Washington, D.C. Portland, Oregon, May 28, 2024.

By Maddi Johnson and Jey Clayton

Cuban Ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera visited Portland, Oregon, on May 28 to talk about establishing improved ties between the U.S. and Cuba. She met with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and the president and department heads of Portland State University. The ambassador spoke at an event organized by the PSU Cuba Solidarity group and the Portland End the Blockade of Cuba Committee, of which Workers World Party is a member.

Torres Rivera told the audience that Cuba spends 60% of its budget on education and other benefits for the people. She said the country continues to provide free training and education to workers: “I could be a painter if I wanted and would have gotten my training for free.”

Cuba produced its own COVID-19 vaccine, vaccinated 90% of its population and was the first country to develop a vaccine for children over two years old. A true internationalist leader, Cuba sends medical professionals abroad to train, work and treat patients, often in life-threatening situations. Cuban doctors were killed earlier this year by a U.S. airstrike in Somalia.

The ambassador explained that Cubans are very proud of the new Family Code, the most progressive legislation in the world pertaining to families and relationships. This change to the Cuban Constitution not only protects the most vulnerable in Cuba and affirms same-sex relationships, it protects the course of Cuban socialism. Writing the “Law of Love” involved the whole population. It went through 25 revisions over the course of 3½ years, after which a majority of Cubans approved the Code in a referendum vote. The process, a lesson in democracy, is an example to the world.

Cuba defends the well-being of its people against the onslaught of the capitalist-driven climate catastrophe. One response to increased global warming has been to move homes away from the shore as sea levels rise.

These are just a few of the accomplishments Cuba has made despite over 60 years of the U.S. economic blockade. Torres Rivera explained that: “Development in Cuba takes 10 times longer because of the blockade. However, our collective struggle must go on. We must build on the over 100 resolutions by organizations and unions to end the blockade, with multiple fronts to finally smash it once and for all!”

The blockade prohibits U.S. citizens from visiting Cuba, with only a few exceptions. It has forced many thousands of people to leave Cuba due to severe conditions created under the weight of this imperialist bludgeon. Food prices are double or triple what they might be without the blockade. 

Some Cubans fear that despite all they’ve endured, the Cuban economy may continue to deteriorate. Torres Rivera described how the younger generation in Cuba is heavily propagandized through the U.S. mainstream media and social media influencers and stressed that “Cuba could be a very different country without U.S. sanctions.”

Ambassador Torres Rivera said that Cuba is waging a tedious uphill struggle against U.S. aggression. It is up to the working class in this country to put pressure on the U.S. government with a simple message: “Let Cuba live!”