RATB

Cuba Vive brigade 2015

Rock Around the Blockade, ‘Justice for the Cuban 5’ solidarity brigade to Cuba
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. They will also return with a strategy for strengthening the international campaign to demand freedom for the remaining 3 of the Cuban 5 who were unjustly imprisoned in the US for their role in combatting Miami-based terrorism.

Please contribute towards the Cuba Vive 2015 brigade.

Contact us to be a brigade sponsor or to organise educational or fundraising activities and report back meetings in your area. Facebook: www.facebook.com/ratb.cuba

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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.

 

Rene Gonzalez blogs for the Cuban 5

rene-gonzalez-computadoraRené González, one of the Cuban five who was released in 2011 and returned to Cuba, is now on the web with his own blog 'I'm a spy, they say,'

You can read his blog here in English and Spanish

and we republish below his initial blog post and a series of questions and answers about his new blog from a range of his followers:

'This post constitutes my presentation to the world of the blogosphere. To write it I’ve counted on the politeness of people who have preceded me on this field. Not all of them share the same views, but they all wish for a better Cuba and share an intellectual honesty which I respect. They are also together on the support for the Five. In this regard they represent millions of people both in Cuba and around the world.

I’ve wanted this questionnaire to answer to some of the questions from those millions of people. It is my aspiration that with the development of the blog some other answers are found, even for so many that don’t know about the case or that knowing it, for diverse reasons, are not today with the cause of the Five.

I sincerely believe in truth as a value. I believe that accessing it benefits everybody, even those who refuse to hear it. I trust that truth will find its way through this blog.

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Free the Cuban five-Political prisoners of imperialism!

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On the 16th anniversary of their incarceration in the imperialist gaols of the USA, members and supporters of Rock around the Blockade celebrate the Cuban Revolution and demand the freedom of all the Cuban 5, heroes of the revolution. 

 For a brief and brilliant introduction to the case of the Cuban 5, watch and share this video produced by Discover the five

The Cuban 5 are five Cuban men unjustly imprisoned in US gaols since 1998. Falsely accused of espionage and in one case murder, they are in fact guilty of nothing more than peacefully trying to prevent terrorist attacks against Cuba being planned from within the US.

During the early 1990s Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, René González, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González came to Miami from Cuba to monitor right-wing Cuban exile groups.  They compiled evidence of attacks against Cuba being planned by these groups. The Cuban authorities gave this information to the FBI, urging them to take action. But instead of arresting those planning the attacks, the five Cuban agents were themselves arrested on 12 September 1998. They were charged with conspiracy to commit espionage and Gerardo Hernandez was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder. In July 2001, after a biased six-month trial in Miami, the Cuban 5 were convicted and sentenced to a combined four life sentences plus 77 years.

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Freedom for Palestine! Victory to the Intifada

Palestine - cubaRock around the Blockade unreservedly condemns the barbaric Zionist onslaught of Israel on Gaza.

As the Cuban government said, 'Israel uses its military and technological superiority to implement a policy of collective punishment with a disproportionate use of force that causes loss of innocent civilian lives and massive property damage'.

We condemn the imperialist support for Israel, in particular in Britain where the ConDem coalition government continues to arm Israel and the British Labour Party in opposition pledges its support for Israel.

We stand with the Palestinian people and reiterate the words of Fidel Castro who expressed his 'solidarity with the heroic people who defend the last sliver remaining of what was their homeland for thousands of years'. We give our unconditional support to all resistance in Palestine

Resistance is justified when Palestine is occupied!

We take up the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's call for urgent international solidarity. 
Join us on the streets for political activity as part of the Boycott Divestment and Sanction movement. 

Long Live Gaza! Long Live Palestine!

Remembering 'The heroine of Moncada' The revolutionary life of Melba Hernandez

Melba HernandezSocialist Cuba has paid tribute to ‘the heroine of Moncada’, Melba Hernandez, who recently died at the age of 92. She was one of two women who took part in the historic Moncada Barracks assault which led to the 26th July Movement and the beginning of the Cuban Revolution.

Melba died of complications related to diabetes on 2 March in Havana. She was born on 28 July, 1921, in the town of Cruces, in the former Las Villas province, today’s Villa Clara. She graduated as a Lawyer from Havana University in 1943. A Cuban Communist Party statement released the day after her death read ‘She is one of the most glorious and beloved combatants of the revolutionary quest, [and an] imperishable example of the Cuban woman.’

Melba was responsible for obtaining 100 army uniforms prior to the Moncada assault. Herself and fellow combatant Haydee Santamaria sewed army rank insignia onto the uniforms, in a farm house in the hours before the assault. Both women were arrested and, while incarcerated, witnessed the torture and deaths of many of their comrades. Melba was instrumental in smuggling correspondence whilst imprisoned. She smuggled a letter from Fidel Castro, denying the lie that he was too ill to represent himself legally. Once free, she maintained correspondence with Fidel, who sent her the text of his famous court speech ‘History Will Absolve Me’, which became a programme for the 26th July Movement.

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