‘For how long are we going to be the backwards periphery, exploited and denigrated? Enough! Here we are putting down the fundamental building block for South American unity, independence and development. If we hesitate, we are lost!’ (Simon Bolivar)
On 2 December 2011 the 33 independent countries across the Americas – with the exception of the US and Canada – founded the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). CELAC is designed to counter the Organisation of American States, which the US has used as a tool for protecting its interests in Latin America since 1948. The new alliance is committed to promoting economic and social development across the region and undermining the unequal terms of trade with Europe and the US.
Rock Around the Blockade decided to call our February 2012 solidarity delegation to Cuba 'Justice for the Cuban 5 Brigade' in honor of the five brave Cuban prisoners of imperialism unjustly incarcerated in the US for the last 12 years. During the brigade we met with Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Insitute of friendship between peoples (ICAP) who gave us this message emphasising the need for a continued political campaign internationally to free the five.
Visit our campaigns section for more information on the Cuban 5
On Tuesday 14 February 2012, the year of the London Olympics, the Rock around the Blockade brigadistas visited a Cuban Institute for Sport and Recreation (INDER) project at Ho Chi Minh Park, Havana and presented the project with £650 of material aid including footballs, volleyballs, basketballs, football nets, bibs and gloves.
Tuesday 7 February 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the implementation of the commercial, economic, and financial blockade of Cuba by the United States. Over the years it has cost Cuba’s economy over $236 Billion.The US began issuing sanctions and a partial blockade in October 1960 when the Cuban government began expropriating the U.S. corporations that had controlled most of Cuba's resources and over half of its sugar production before the revolution. The expropriations ensured Cuba’s resources would be produced for the Cuban people and not for the profits of US conglomerates. As expected, any threat to the US hegemony in a region that they view as their ‘backyard’ would be met with severe actions. The initial refusal of US-owned oil refineries in Cuban to refine imported soviet oil was followed by the Bay of Pigs (Playa Giron) invasion, the Cuban missile crisis and continuous terrorist actions committed against the Cuban people by the US. The latter included the introduction of dengue fever to Cuba in 1981 and numerous failed attempts on Fidel Castro’s life.
Between 9 and 22 February 2012, 13 Rock around the Blockade activists visited Cuba on the campaign’s 12th solidarity brigade to the revolutionary island.
During their 2-week visit, brigadistas witnessed the realities of Cuban socialism first-hand - from meeting revolutionaries organising in their local communities (Committees for the Defence of the Revolution) to working alongside farm workers and discussing the latest developments in Cuba with trade unionists and Communist Party members.
A short film with footage and speeches from the 2009 Day against Homophobia. Made by the National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX), a government funded body which promotes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights, headed by Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban leader Raul Castro
Article published 26 February 2012 in Mexica newspaper 'La Jornada'. Translated by Rock Around the Blockade. Original article in Spanish: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/02/26/opinion/024a1mun
Yoani Sánchez, a famous blogger in Havana, Cuba, is a character peculiar to the world of Cuban dissidents. No opponent has ever benefited from such massive media exposure and international recognition of such a scale in so little time. After emigrating to Switzerland in 2002, she returned to Cuba two years later, in 2004. In 2007, she joined the world of the Cuban opposition and created her blog ‘Generation Y’ becoming a staunch critic of the government. Never has any dissident in Cuba, or perhaps in the world, achieved so many international awards in such a short time, and all with a particular characteristic: Yoani Sánchez has been provided with enough money to live quietly in Cuba for the rest of her life. Indeed, the blogger has been paid up to 250 000 euros in total, or an amount equivalent to more than 20 years of the minimum wage in a country like France, the fifth world power. The minimum monthly wage in Cuba is 420 pesos, or 18 dollars or 14 euros, so that Yoani Sánchez has won the equivalent of 1,488 years of Cuban minimum wage for her opposition activities.
Wednesday 11 January 2012 marked ten years since the first 20 prisoners arrived at the US prison camp in the Guantanamo Bay naval base. In these ten years the US has held 779 people in the detention camp, using the occupied Cuban land to detain innocent people without trial and subject them to a regime of systematic torture. According to US government figures, 92% of those detained have turned out not to be 'al-Qaeda fighters'. Instead Guantanamo Bay has demonstrated to Cuba and the world, the barbaric depths to which US imperialism will sink in defence of its international profits.
Cuba has urged the UN Security Council to play an active role in stopping Israeli abuses of international law. It has also repeated its support for the Palestinian bid to be a full member of the UN, and criticised those countries who refuse to support it. In making these calls, Cuba shows its solidarity with the oppressed around the world. During a UN debate on the Middle East on 18 January, UN representative for Cuba, Pedro Nunez Mosquera demanded change, whilst at the same time exposing the limitations of these channels, dominated by the interests of the imperialist powers.
Mosquera denounced Israel's increasing demolition of Palestinian homes, which leaves families homeless and often having to pay for the demolition themselves. Despite the demolitions contravening UN international law, 2011 has been a record year for demolitions, with 622 Palestinian structures destroyed. Mosquera drew attention to the expansion of national park space in East Jerusalem, an area where settlement growth and house demolitions combine to create rapid expansion of the racist and brutal occupation. He also spoke of a 40% increase in settler violence. Mosquera not only denounced Israel's actions, but criticised the apathy of the UN Security Council, urging them to play an active and practical role in preventing abuses of International law.
Havana, Feb 15 (Prensa Latina) Members of the Revolutionary Communist Group of Britain expressed their admiration on Tuesday for the achievements of the humanistic process started in Cuba by leader Fidel Castro in 1959.
During a visit to a park in Havana, where people from different generations gather to practice sports, these friends of Cuba donated a series of sports equipment to the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation and spoke with children, mothers and elderly people.
‘Glasgow City Council should take a leaf out the book of Cuba’ says mother campaigning for the rights of the disabled…
In Britain today people with disabilities claiming incapacity benefit, must go through a humiliating and daunting health assessment carried out by a private multinational contractor – Atos Origin – to determine whether or not they are ‘fit for work’. Ever more stories of injustice, abuse and trickery emerge as Atos ploughs its way through over two million people. 40% of those found ‘fit for work’ and kicked off their benefit have subsequently won their appeals. For the other 60% (which has included non-terminal cancer sufferers and people with mental health problems) it is straight to job searching or work; if they protest they risk losing all entitlement to benefit. To cope with such a situation, job centres have been giving staff training on how to deal with people threatening suicide.
Press Release 30 January 2012
Between 9 and 23 February 2012, activists from the British campaign in solidarity with socialist Cuba, Rock Around the Blockade, will be in Cuba for the group’s 12th brigade; the ‘Justice for the Cuban 5’ brigade.
Hosted by the Union of Young Communists (UJC) the brigadistas will visit numerous centres, institutions and organisations, meeting political leaders and doing agricultural work. They will visit old peoples’ homes, maternity homes, youth, community and sports centres and schools. They will go to a hospital that treats children with cancer; victims of the genocidal and illegal US blockade of Cuba, which prevents the Cuban government from buying the medicines that are necessary to treat them because they are patented in the US.
On Friday 20 January, the audience in Bolivar Hall was treated to a feast of classical music at Rock around the Blockade's delightful evening to celebrate the 53rd year of the Cuban revolution and to raise funds for the organisation's February brigade to Cuba. £800 was raised, with all the money going for material aid for children in hospital and sports equipment. Guitarist Ahmed Dickinson, mezzo soprano Sarah-Jane Lewis, Eralys Fernandez on piano and Emma Blanco on violin, along with accompanist Neus Guiu Ritort, performed a variety of pieces from Bach and Bartok to English composer Myers, Italian composer Domenicon, Spanish composers including Obradors, de Falla and the Catalan Albeniz, Argentinian composers Piazzolla and Guastavino and Cuban composers Grenet and Lecuona.
Eralys and Ahmed are from Cuba, examples of the musical talent that the Cuban Revolution has nurtured and encouraged. Eralys gave a short and informative introduction about the composers. The audience was blown away by her virtuouso performance. By a happy coincidence, she comes from Guanabacoa, the part of Cuba where the brigade will spend half its time and where the brigadistas will contribute their voluntary labour.
After the musicians took their bow, Eralys and Sarah-Jane returned for an encore and Sarah-Jane sang Habanera from Bizet's Carmen with Eralys on the piano - a passionate end to a fantastic evening.
Rock around the Blockade thanks all the performers and all those in the audience who were very generous in their donations.
'How would they describe the recent manifestations of police brutality in Spain and a large part of "educated and civilized" Europe against the indignados movement?'
OVER the last few days, the media and representatives of certain governments traditionally committed to anti-Cuba subversion have unleashed a new campaign of accusations, unscrupulously taking advantage of a lamentable event: the death of an ordinary prisoner, which possibly only in the case of Cuba, is converted into news of international repercussion.
The method utilized is the same one as always: fruitlessly attempting, through repetition, to demonize Cuba, in this case through the deliberate manipulation of an incident which is absolutely exceptional in this country.
By Joseph Eskovitchl
Today, the technology to which Che aspired is steaming across the oceans towards the northern coast of Cuba in the form of Scarabeo 9; a $750 million investment by the Cuban government in one of the world’s largest semi-submersible oil drilling rigs. Drilling on exploratory wells in the Gulf of Mexico will begin before the end of 2011.
In mid-November 2011, Rafael Tenreiro, head of exploration for the state-owned oil company Cubapetroleo, stated: ‘It is not a matter of if we have oil, it is a matter of when we are going to start producing.’ JOSEPH ESKOVITCHL reports.
Photo: Felice Gorordo, who has worked in the White House, is one of the founder of Roots of Hope. The organisation is part of Washington’s latest offensive against Cuba
Haitians have repeatedly witnessed how Washington carries out “regime change” in the past two decades. In the lead-up and aftermath of the 1991 and 2004 coups, we saw how the U.S. concocted organizations like the Democratic Convergence and Group of 184 through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). U.S. subversion has succeeded twice in Haiti, but it has failed miserably dozens of times in our neighbor Cuba. Let’s look at the most recent destabilization campaign they are cooking up for our Cuban brothers and sisters.
In a time of global crisis, Cuba represents a unique reality for women. Understanding that sexual equality is necessarily bound with economic and political equality, women's emancipation is crucial to the ongoing process of revolution. The huge grassroots political involvement of the people, and the planned economy driven by their needs, means that society actively works to challenge sexism and inequality. Accordingly, Cuba stands out in The World Economic Forum's study on gender disparity and economics - despite its small economy and the blockade which attempts to strangle development, its women rank highly in health, education, political and economic equality. The index shows Cuba's gender disparity has improved; Britain, despite its imperialist wealth, is only four places above Cuba, and has fallen in ranking.
Overwhelming opposition to the US blockade of Cuba was shown at the United Nations General Assembly on 25 October 2011. This is the 20th consecutive year that the Cuban resolution condemning the US blockade has won support at the UN. The resolution on The Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Blockade Imposed by the United States of America against Cuba was backed by the votes of 186 UN member states. Only the US and ‘its inseparable ally in genocidal actions’, Israel, opposed the resolution. Three Pacific island countries abstained. Despite worldwide opposition, the US, as a member of the UN Security Council, will veto the vote and continue its brutal blockade against the Cuban people. While attempts to isolate Cuba from the international stage have failed, the negative impact of US policies and the blockade on Cuban living standards is in no doubt. The blockade, which has been tightened in recent years, is estimated to have caused a total $975 billion in damage to the island at present gold prices.
On Saturday 8 October, the British campaign in solidarity with socialist Cuba, Rock around the Blockade (RATB), joined demonstrators at an anti-war assembly in Trafalgar Square, central London, on the 10th anniversary of the illegal occupation of Afghanistan. Under the slogan ‘Free the Five’, RATB explained how the case of the Cuban Five, who were working to prevent US-based terrorism against the Cuban people and the Revolution, exposed the utter hypocrisy of the so-called ‘war on terrorism’ - the pretext under which the imperialist countries fought to secure their geostrategic and economic interests.
The RATB stall received plenty of support and interest and handed out hundreds of statements with information about the unjust ‘supervised release’ of Rene Gonzalez, one of the Cuban Five, the previous day. Cuba has a heroic history of resistance to imperialism, surviving economic and military aggression to create a society which prioritises the welfare of its citizens with exceptional human development indicators.