Published on 18 January by www.letcubalive.org Source: http://www.mujerfariana.org/index.php/heroinas/241-leonela-relys-laincansable-educadora Translated by Tom Whitney
“Death is not true when one has fulfilled life's work in all respects.” -- José Martí
Leonela Relys died on January 17, 2015. She created the Cuban method of literacy teaching known as “Yes I can” (Yo, si puedo). It’s the means by which millions of people in various parts of the world keep on learning how to read and write. Letters have allowed men and women to understand their rights as citizens, or simply – but no less important –to read a story, a poem, or know how to sign something. With pencils they see those names bursting forth that other people use to identify us.
She was born in Camagüey on April 20 1947 and lived many years in Havana where she did much of her work as a teacher. A militant of the Communist Party of Cuba, she was tireless in defending the achievements of the Cuban revolution. As either teacher or professor, one of her ways to do it was to pass on her academic knowledge and her moral and revolutionary principles to each compatriot, to each Latin American
At 14 years of age she became a [volunteer] literacy teacher in the campaign asked for by Fidel to fill various corners of Cuba's geography with letters, learning, and knowledge. Responding much later to another call from Fidel, she went to the land of Petión to coordinate literacy teaching for the Haitian people. Haitians received not only Leonela’s wisdom but also her friendship and love. After this experience, Fidel sent her to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and later to Bolivia, Colombia, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, Guinea Bissau, and Seville in Spain. In all these places, she set up her program.
Published on 26 January 2015 by TeleSur English
Authorities from Mexico's Veracruz state announced Sunday that they had found the body of missing local journalist José Moisés Sanchez Cerezo and accused the mayor of Medellín de Bravo, Omar Cruz Reyes, of masterminding Sanchez’s abduction and murder.
Veracruz state’s attorney general, Luis Angel Bravo released a statement on Sunday stating that that former municipal police confessed to participating in Sanchez's murder along with five other people at the instructions of the deputy director of the town's police force allegedly at the request of Cruz. Sanchez was abducted by armed men three weeks ago.
Bravo also issued formal murder charges against Cruz and requested the state congress to remove the mayor’s immunity so that he may be prosecuted.
According to a 2011 report by Journalists Without Borders, Veracruz was among the 10 most dangerous cities in the world to practice journalism.
Published on 23 January 2015 by Houston Communist Party
Hypocrisy or diplomacy
Certainly all rational people understand that the current negotiations between Cuba and the USA are complex and progress will not be smooth. One way to smooth the negotiations would be to remove the element of hypocrisy constantly being hammered by the US negotiators. One impediment to progress is the demand by the US for Cuba to improve their stance on “human rights.” The US negotiators should consider this biblical passage before making demands on Cuba:
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sinamong you be the first to throw a stone at her.” They also might want to consider this old saying “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
The US negotiators have reached the apex of hypocrisy when they demand that Cuba improve its human rights record. Cuba has never unleashed nuclear weapons on foreign or domestic metropolises such as the US did to Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Cuba has never firebombed a city such as was done to Dresden, Germany. Cuba has never bombed foreign countries throughout the world such as the US has done in Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Published on 25 January by TeleSur English
The Ecuadorean National Secretariat for Planning and Development announced Friday that between 2007 and 2014, more than 1.5 million people had been lifted out of poverty in the South American country.
These years coincide with Presdient Rafael Correa’s time in office and the policies of what is known as the Citizens’ Revolution, which recently celebrated eight years of government.
“The model of government has radically changed,” said Pabel Muñoz, the national secretary for planning and development. The Correa administration has also dramatically reduced inequality in the country. In 2007, the country’s wealthiest earned 42 times that of the poorest, while in 2014 that was reduced to only 22 times.
The 1.5 million lifted out of poverty represents a drop of 14 percent in the poverty rate in the country, with extreme poverty dropping 8 points from 16.5 percent to 8.6 percent.
“Ecuador is a successful country because while reducing poverty, it reduces the gap between the rich and the poor. It has allowed for an increase in consumption and has not registered drops in social indicators. Instead people have climbed the social ladder,” said Muñoz.
Published on 16 January 2015 by TeleSUR English
The U.S. government lifted large portions of its blockade against Cuba Friday, significantly loosening restrictions on American trade and investment. The U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday modifications to trade limitations with Cuba and the travel restrictions to the island for U.S. citizens.
Cuba–U.S. relations took a historic turn on Dec. 17, when three Cuban political prisoners — unjustly held by the United States for more than 15 years — were released, and the White House announced numerous policy shifts toward the Caribbean nation. President Barack Obama admitted that his country's half-century attempt to defeat Cuba had failed.
United Airlines said Thursday it planned to serve Cuba from Houston, Texas, and Newark, New Jersey, subject to government approvals. Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways said they would also look into adding services. Leading online travel company Orbitz Worldwide welcomed the Department of the Treasury's amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, which will facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes and facilitate the provision by travel agents and airlines of authorized travel services.
However, general tourism to Cuba remains banned.
Robert Muse, a Washington-based lawyer and expert on Cuban legal issues, told Voice of America that hefty fines remain for those involved in unauthorized travel.
“It is US$100,000 per infraction. So if you have 20 people in a group traveling to Cuba and the organizers violated the rules, you are looking at a US$2 million penalty,” he said.
Meanwhile, the details of the new amendments provide opportunities for U.S. businesses to export certain goods to Cuba, including telecommunications equipment and building materials for private residents and small businesses.
Senior administration officials plan to travel to Cuba later this month to discuss additional migration issues, as well the logistical considerations surrounding the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba.
Only the U.S. Congress can lift the blockade that has been in place since 1960. However, several U.S. lawmakers have vowed to block any attempts to restore diplomatic relations.
The United States is home to over 2 million Cubans.
Published on 15 January 2015 by Cuba News Agency
Cuban doctor Felix Baez, who overcame the Ebola virus, which he got in Sierra Leone, returned to that Western African nation to continue fighting the disease along his comrades with the Henry Reeve international medical brigade.
Cubadebate website published a series of photos of the doctor along his comrades in Sierra Leone announcing his return.
An internal medicine specialist, Baez announced in December 2014 that he would return to the African nation to finish the job he started, once he fully recovered from the disease.
The 43-year-old doctor returned to Cuba after having been released from the Geneva-based Cantonal University Hospital, where he received treatment against Ebola.
In response to the World Health Organization call to fight Ebola in Africa, Cuba sent three brigades to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to fight the virus.
According to the World Health Organization over 8 thousand 800 people have died from the Ebola virus in Africa.
17 December 2014, was an historic day for Cuba. On that morning, the three remaining Cuban Five members in U.S. prison flew home to freedom. At the same time, Alan Gross, an American who was arrested in Cuba 5 years ago, and convicted for illegally bringing into Cuba undercover communications equipment, was returned to the United States.
This was announced on December. 17 at 12 noon, simultaneously by Cuban President Raul Castro on Cuban Television and by President Obama in Washington.
Both announced that for the first time in more than 50 years, U.S. and Cuban embassies will be opened in each respective country. This means the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.
Up to now, a quasi-diplomatic relationship has been maintained by what are called “Interests Sections,” essentially diplomatic missions that are hosted by the Swiss government in both countries.
To give you a sense of what it means for the Cuban people, I have here an excerpt of what that day was like, from Michael Krinsky, a progressive New York attorney who has represented the Cuban Government in the U.S. for more than 30 years.
He was in Cuba for a seminar, and on New York City’s WBAI radio station last week he said that when Raul Castro spoke to the Cuban people on Television at noon and announced that the Five were now home:
“There was pandemonium. Unbelievable joy. Then when Raul announced that both governments agreed to establish normal relations, there was stunned silence. Then tremendous commotion and applause. There is a sense of triumph, for the person on the street, that after 55 years of holding on, despite the Bay of Pigs invasion, economic blockade, the special period when trade with the Soviet Union ended, they had held on. The feeling was, the U.S. came to us. It was a tremendous sense of vindication and triumph, you could see it in the streets, in the restaurants, they would congratulate each other, it was quite a moment.”
It is a very important development for the Cuban people and the Revolution, who have been besieged for more than 55 years by U.S. imperialism, blockaded, invaded, attacked by terrorism, to see that one small part of this cruel policy is being lifted.
But, the U.S. blockade remains in place.
Published on 6 January 2015 by Prensa Latina
Gema Hernández, daughter of one of the Cuban Five, Gerardo Hernandez and his wife Adriana Perez, was born here today, surrounded by relatives and common people who received the news with great joy.
Gema, born with a little over seven pounds, through caesarean surgery and both she and her mother Adriana Perez O’Connor are reported in good health, reported the midday National TV Newsreel.
Recently, Gerardo had joked, as is his nature, "the emotion is grat and everyone is asking, while we have a lot of fun with all the gossip and speculation."
"The truth is that it has been in silence, without much details we had to do it by remote control, but there it is and all went well which is most important"
Gerardo explained that Adriana wanted to name her Gema, meaning precious stone, because if it was a boy I wanted to name him Gerardo and the closest name to Gerardo is Gema.
Gema’s father returned to Cuba last December 17, together with Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labañino, the three Cuban fighters who were still serving unjust sentences in United States prisons.
The Five, arrested in 1998, included Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez, who had returned to Cuba months before, after wholly serving their sentences.
The Cuban Five were wrongly accused for informing their country of terrorist actions planned by violent groups based in U.S. territory in Florida.
Published on 08 January 2015 by TeleSUR English
Chinese President Xi Jinping opened a historic meeting between his nation and the countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Thursday.
“During the meeting, China and the CELAC member states will have an in-depth discussion on collective cooperation,” Xi said in his opening address to the forum.
The two-day meeting is the first of its kind between CELAC and Beijing. The Chinese leader said the talks mark a “new beginning and new opportunity” for both Beijing and CELAC.
“China is willing to work with the Latin American and Caribbean states with a long-term and strategic perspective, to build the new platform of collective cooperation between the two sides. Let's take the meeting as a new starting point, seize the new opportunity of collective cooperation, and work for a new phase of the China-CELAC comprehensive partnership of cooperation and promote new development of bilateral ties based on a higher level,” he said.
The summit is expected to lead to close to US$50 billion in new investment between China and CELAC nations, in areas ranging from energy to scientific research.
Representatives will also agree on a four-year plan to deepen trade and other political and economic ties. CELAC, which unites all 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, launched in Venezuela in 2011 when representatives of each country signed the Declaration of Caracas.
The declaration seeks to consolidate regional integration and reduce the influence of the United States in the Americas.
“The quality of medical care for the children, teenagers and pregnant women is the only way to make this result sustainable,” emphasized Dr. Maritza Rodriguez Gabin, Vice-President of the Provincial Board of Health.
The province also holds the highest rates of blood, organs and transplant tissues donations of the country, Gabin boasted.
Over 2,000 health specialists from Cienfuegos collaborate in international missions in 35 countries of the world, including many stationed in West Africa to fight against the spread of the Ebola virus.
Cuban health professionals abroad provide medical training, contribute to clinical tests, like the vaccines against cholera and the pneumococcal disease.
After 53 years without diplomatic relations, the governments of the United States andCuba announced their willingness to resume them and start a process aimed atnormalizing bilateral relations.
The most immediate effect of this agreement was an exchange of prisoners that allowedCuba to recover three of the five heroic fighters against terrorism who had remained in US prisons after the other two had completed their long and unjust sentences and had already returned to their homeland.
"The Five" infiltrated the ranks of Cuban counter-revolutionary organizations based in south Florida and controlled by the CIA. Aware of the risks that this meant for their lives, they were there to monitor the pernicious terrorist plans of these groups and to officiallyinform the government of the United States through the Cuban government, given theinaction of the local and federal law enforcement.
For its part, Cuba freed a mercenary who had been captured in 2009 when –at the service of an American contractor agency for intelligence and subversion missions– hecarried out repeated infiltrations into Cuban territory and engaged in criminal act. He had been given a 15-year prison sentence. An spy for the United States who had spent nearly 20 years in prison and other criminals in Cuban jails whose release was of interest toWashington were also freed.
Obviously, all Cubans, including many living abroad who love their country, received the news joyously. It suggested the end of the most acute period of violent confrontationbetween the superpower and a rebellious people. Cubans have shown that they wouldnever yield to threats or reprisals in the struggle for their sovereign rights.
Published on 26 November by TeleSUR English
A tragic milestone went virtually unreported in the English-speaking press in November, as Colombia's Victims Unit released its report indicating that the number of victims of Colombia's civil war has now surpassed 7 million. This number includes those who have been killed, disappeared or displaced since 1956. For a country of under 50 million citizens, these numbers are staggering, and certainly newsworthy, but apparently not for our mainstream media.
Of course, the violence and human rights abuses in Colombia have constituted inconvenient truths for the Western media as the U.S. has been a major sponsor of the violence and abuses in that country.
Indeed, a notable fact in the Victims Unit report is that "that the majority of victimization occurred after 2000, peaking in 2002 at 744,799 victims." It is not coincidental that "Plan Colombia," or "Plan Washington" as many Colombians have called it, was inaugurated by President Bill Clinton in 2000, thus escalating the conflict to new heights and new levels of barbarity. Plan Colombia is the plan pursuant to which the U.S. has given Colombia over $8 billion of mostly military and police assistance.
As Amnesty International has explained, these monies have only fueled the human rights crisis in Colombia:
Many thanks for your letter of congratulation from The Revolutionary Communist Group in support of The Cuban Revolution. I take this opportunity to convey to all of you in the Party this message from our Cuban Communist Party.
In Comradership, Jorge Luis, Cuban Embassy
MESSAGE TO PARTIES AND POLITICAL AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND FORCES IN THE WORLD
Published on 19 December 2014 by Helen Yaffe
On 17 December, the US and Cuban presidents announced the beginning of a new relationship between those countries, including the restoration of diplomatic relations, the easing of financial and travel restrictions imposed by the US and a prison swap which saw Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino - of the Cuban Five - released from US prisons and returned to Cuba. It was an historic and momentous announcement. In Britain, political commentator and author Owen Jones used the opportunity to assert that Cuba has a dictatorship in his comment piece published on The Guardian website. I submitted a response to The Guardian, but have so far received no reply. I am therefore publishing it below:
By referring to the US ‘embargo’ as an ‘excuse’ for dictatorship in Cuba (The US embargo is disappearing; so, too, must Cuba’s dictatorship), Owen Jones reveals his ignorance about US aggression against Cuba and his narrow conceptualisation of democracy.
For over 50 years the US blockade has attempted to strangle the Cuban economy. It is not an ‘embargo’, a legal barrier to impede trade; it is a ‘blockade’, an act of war against an entire country. It is a genocidal act as defined by the 1948 Geneva Convention of 1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Moreover, it is just one element of US strategy to effect regime change. In addition to the terrorist activity, instigated by the CIA and zealously pursued by right-wing Cuban exile groups until today, are more subtle and insidious covert operations to generate an internal opposition. These days programmes are managed by private companies which bid for contracts from USAID. The annual budget, which is approved by the US Congress runs into millions of dollars. Recent investigations by AP exposed programmes to set up and use a twitter service (Zunzuneo) to instigate civil unrest, attempts to recruit foreign students in Cuba and to infiltrate Cuba’s burgeoning hip-hop scene. These programmes target civil society, exploiting every political and cultural opening on the island. The government is right to be wary. While aspects of Cuba’s financial and economic strangulation may be loosened, there is little sign that US interference will cease.
Secondly, Jones conflates liberal parliamentarianism, a party political system which historically developed alongside economic liberalism, with democracy. Given his own writing on The Establishment, he should be expected to differentiate between voting and democracy. Real democracy means active participation in shaping society and daily life. In Cuba this happens through regular elections and national policy debate. Cuba may be a one-party state but the Communist Party does not stand in elections. There are regular local, provincial and national elections in which candidates are first nominated and then voted by their peers, either through work-place or social and cultural organisations, or to represent their neighbourhood and region. They are not subject to a party whip and are directly answerable to their constituents. The right to recall exists and is practiced. There are no career politicians; representatives continue in their employment when not ‘doing politics’ and receive their existing salaries.
In terms of national policy debate, one recent example will suffice. The 2011 ‘guidelines for updating the Cuban economy’ were subject to four months of national consultation. Almost nine million people (out of a population of just over 11 million) participated in discussions on the draft guidelines. Subsequently 68% of the guidelines were modified according to their comments. Many of the measures announced since then reflect that consultation process.
It is easy, from a position of privilege, to declare that social and economic rights are not compensation for political rights. This view is not shared by impoverished people around the world, including the millions who have benefited from Cuba’s medical internationalism, who already see Cuba as the ‘beacon’ Jones imagines it could become. The dispute is whether Cuba needs liberal parliamentarianism for Cubans to achieve more freedom.
*Helen Yaffe is author of Che Guevara: the economics of revolution (2009, Palgrave Macmillan). Her doctoral research on Cuban economic history and Che Guevara's contribution to socialist political economy was undertaken at the London School of Economics.
Published on 17 December 2014 by www.revolutionarycommunist.org
After 16 unjust years of imprisonment, on 17 December 2014, Ramón Labañino, Gerardo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero, the three remaining members of the Cuban 5, returned to Cuba following their release from US gaols. This is a defeat for the corrupt US justice system and massive victory for Cuba, particularly for anti-terrorist Gerardo Hernandez who was serving two life sentences plus 15 years.
The five Cuban heroes were arrested in 1998 and tried in Miami in 2001, in the midst of a hostile media storm whipped up by journalists in the pay of the US government. Denied a fair trial, they were found guilty of charges ranging from spying to conspiracy to commit murder and endangering the security of the United States. These men had been working to foil the persistent attempts by right-wing counter-revolutionary groups in the United States to commit acts of sabotage and terrorism against Socialist Cuba. These attacks included 78 bombings, 61 hijackings of planes and boats, biological attacks of dengue and swine fever, and 58 attacks from the sea, killing at least 3,478 people in total. The Cuban 5 were guilty of nothing more than peacefully trying to protect their country against terrorism. Their case Illustrates the hypocrisy of the US ‘War on Terror’.
Wednesday 17 December will be recognised for decades to come as a crucial date for Cuban history when, following years of campaigning, the Cuban 5 were finally free. Ramon, Gerardo and Antonio now join Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Hernandez, who served their full sentences and were released in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
Following the news of the release of the Cuban 5 and renewed diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, Owen Jones published a 'Comment is Free' piece in the Guardian on 18 December 2014. Entitled 'The US embargo is disappearing, so too, must Cuba's dictatorship' Jones launches a virulent attack on Cuba. Rock Around the Blockade replies:
What free press should socialist Cuba aspire to Mr Jones? The 'free press' that dictated the outcome of the Scottish referendum here. 38 national newspapers agin us...and yet we still voted in our million and a half plus for independence.
A well read lad like yersel'- and a proclaimed socialist- should know there is no such thing in any capitalist society- the media are run by rich white men, to paraphrase Michael Moore. But then of course your employer is amongst them. So stop yer liberal sooking and as Fidel has explained to friends of Cuba, try and imagine the difficulties the socialist revolution has faced in its short history...then judge. Cuba in the absence of the corrupt influence of the millionaire media is more free, not less!
Dundee Rock Around the Blockade
At 1pm on 17 December 2014, Cuba President Raul Castro announced the release of the remaining Cuban 5 in return for an unnamed US agent and the humanitarian release of USAID contractor Alan Gross. Below is the transcript of this historic announcement:
From Prensa Latina:
Since my election as President of the State Council and Council of Ministers I have reiterated in many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality, in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment to the national independence and self-determination of our people.
This stance was conveyed to the US Government both publicly and privately by Comrade Fidel on several occasions during our long standing struggle, stating the willingness to discuss and solve our differences without renouncing any of our principles.
The heroic Cuban people, in the wake of serious dangers, aggressions, adversities and sacrifices has proven to be faithful and will continue to be faithful to our ideals of independence and social justice. Strongly united throughout these 56 years of Revolution, we have kept our unswerving loyalty to those who died in defense of our principles since the beginning of our independence wars in 1868.
Today, despite the difficulties, we have embarked on the task of updating our economic model in order to build a prosperous and sustainable Socialism.
As a result of a dialogue at the highest level, which included a phone conversation I had yesterday with President Obama, we have been able to make headway in the solution of some topics of mutual interest for both nations.
As Fidel promised on June 2001, when he said: "They shall return!" Gerardo, Ramon, and Antonio have arrived today to our homeland.
Published on 12 December by Granma Internacional
According to an investigation by the Associated Press, the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, attempted to infiltrate the Cuban hip-hop movement as part of a covert project to destabilize the country.
Documents obtained by AP indicate that USAID hired a group of rappers to develop a youth movement in opposition to the Cuban government. The covert plan was implemented over more than two years, with the aim of using Cuban musicians to establish a network to agitate for social change on the island, PL reported on Thursday.
The Huffington Post website published a chronology of USAID covert operations in Cuba, detailing the activities of Rajko Bozic, a Serbian national who presented himself as a musical promoter and arrived in Cuba with instructions to involve Cuban rappers such as the Aldeanos duo in the covert hip hop program, to promote an opposition movement.
Published 11 December 2014 by TeleSUR English
British army officers trained Brazilian police in torture methods, perfected in Northern Ireland against people opposing British rule there, a report into human rights abuses during the dictatorship revealed.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was tortured herself by the regime in the 1970s, wept as she presented the 2,000 page Truth Commission documentWednesday, which confirmed that 191 were killed and 243 disappeared.
Not only did Brazilian officials travel to the UK to learn the “English System,” but the study also shows that British officers returned the visit, teaching extreme interrogation at Brazilian police headquarters.
“At the end of 1970 we sent a group of army officers to England to learn the English system of interrogation. This consists of putting the prisoner in a cell incommunicado, a method known as the ‘refrigerator’,” the report quotes former general Hugo de Andrade Abreu.
Psychological torture techniques were adopted that the British mastered in Northern Ireland, designed to destabilize the suspect to the point of admitting to a crime.
Published on 9 December by Cuban News Agency
More than 35,000 self-employed workers have joined unions in the province of Holguín in response to the Guidelines for Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution, implemented in Cuba since 2010.
Annia González, member of the provincial secretariat of the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC by its Spanish acronym) in the northeastern territory, told ACN that for the coming 2015, the organization intends to integrate the 3 000 self-employed who are not yet affiliated to unions.
She explained that the sectors of Commerce, Industry and Transport constitute together the ones with largest concentration of non-state workers, and also have the non-integrated workers to CTC.
The creation of a wholesale market, taxes corresponding to the characteristics of each locality and the right to enjoy a month of vacation annually without paying tribute are some of the statements most frequently made by these workers.
Alexander Tamayo, self-employed affiliate for two years, highlighted the advantages of maintaining a union link because they are more organized and have an way through which to raise their rights, opinions and concerns.
Photo taken during the last brigade to Cuba ‘Justice for the Cuban 5’ solidarity brigade – February 2012.
Click the link to see more photos and report.
Lift the blockade of Cuba!
The 13th solidarity brigade of the British campaign Rock around the Blockade will travel to Cuba between late April and early May 2015. The group is collecting funds now to buy material aid for Cuban youth – this time they will take ballet shoes and boxing gloves to training schools. While breaking the US blockade, the donation will contribute towards Cuba’s remarkable achievements in promoting and democratising sport and culture.
Hosted by the Union of Young Communists, the brigadistas will visit a variety of centres, institutions and organisations, meeting political and student leaders and doing agricultural work. They will visit maternity and old peoples’ homes, youth, neighbourhood and cultural groups and research institutes. They will learn about the daily impact of the US blockade, which prevents the Cuban government from buying medicine, food, technology, equipment and resources in every sector, and which has been condemned for 23 consecutive years by the UN General Assembly.
For 55 years, Cuba has maintained and increased its free social provision despite the impact of the US blockade. This presents a contrast with the austerity measures implemented by the British government which are attacking public services, jobs and benefits and causing a return to the poverty, inequality and destitution of the pre-welfare state era. Such differences are also seen in Cuba’s response to the Ebola epidemic. While most of the world tightens border controls and the United States sends 4,000 troops, Cuba is sending nearly 500 medics to West Africa to treat the sick and help stop the disease spreading. Cuba’s medical contribution is greater than the rest of the world’s put together – just as it was in response to the 2010 earthquake which devastated Haiti, when Cuba’s medical contingent treated 40% of the victims. The Cuban Ebola-trained specialists will join some 50,000 Cuban-trained health workers in nearly 70 countries today.
How can a small, blockaded island have such a global impact? Why are Cubans so prepared to assist others around the world? Is this a product of a socialist society? What is socialism like in practice? What about the changes underway in Cuba today?
Through this fraternal exchange, activists on the Cuba Vive brigade will study the achievements and challenges of the Cuban Revolution and socialist construction. What they learn will be discussed with people back in Britain through report back meetings to be organised around the country.
Please contribute towards the Cuba Vive 2015 brigade.
Please donate generously via PayPal or by sending cheques or postal orders payable to:
Rock Around The Blockade at RATB BCM Box 5909, London, WC1N 3XX.