Cuba Informacion and the Euskadi-Cuba Association are under attack for reporting on counter-revolutionary groups slandering Cuba's medical solidarity brigades. This law-fare trial is very serious and could result in 6 years imprisonment of Jose Manzaneda, the website's coordinator, plus a 50,000 Euro fine. The trial is on 15 February. There are two things that you can do to help:
DONATE TO THE LEGAL DEFENCE FUND
Either by becoming a member of Cubainformación (or by making an extra one-off contribution if you are already one) through this module: https://www.cubainformacion.tv/campaigns/yotambiensoyci/donativo
OR by participating in the crowdfunding campaign to collect funds for legal expenses on the Goteo platform.
SIGN THE LETTER OF SUPPORT
Prison for the critical journalism of Cubainformación and the solidarity cooperation of Euskadi-Cuba?
In mid-February, in Madrid, a trial will be held against José Manzaneda, coordinator of the media outlet Cubainformación, and against the legal representation of the Euskadi-Cuba association, an entity that, until 2020, held the ownership of the www.cubainformacion.tv domain, due to a criminal complaint of libel, slander and hate crime, filed by the president of the "anti-Castro" organization PrisonersDefenders. which requests a sentence of six years in prison and compensation of 50 thousand euros, for the content of the report "Creating a health crisis in Cuba: objective of the war against its medical cooperation".
Cubainformación published this work in October 2020. In it, they described the work of Prisoners Defenders, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, exposing the attempt to destroy Cuba's medical solidarity cooperation agreements in numerous countries. One of the objectives, the report explains, would be to apply the economic blockade against the island in the field of health, cutting off the income that its Ministry of Public Health obtains from medical agreements in some nations – only in some, since, in the poorest, Havana assumes all the expenses of cooperation – this income serves to sustain, in a scenario of acute sanctions from Washington, part of the island's internal public health system. The current shortage of medicines and medical supplies in Cuba is be a direct cause of this.
Blockade against Cuba: an act of war
Numerous legal and academic sources describe the U.S. blockade against Cuba as an "act of war." In November 2023, in Brussels, a symbolic International Court described this blockade, in its verdict, as a "crime against humanity" that "has already caused, directly and indirectly, the loss of numerous human lives".
Because of his direct participation in the blockade, because of his public justification of this in the media and because of his lobbying work in favor of the extension of the blockade, through "sanctions", to countries of the European Union, the work affirmed, in its first version, that the president of Prisoners Defenders is, "like Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, a war criminal."
Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, who was an independent expert of the United Nations Human Rights Council, says that those who carry out this blockade, whether from the US government or from the organizations that support it, are "war criminals", in the absence of "a true International Criminal Court" to judge their crimes.
Whoever reads or listens to the work understands that the expression is journalistic hyperbole referring to "criminals of the war against medical cooperation" or "of the economic war" against Cuba, and not of a declared military war. In any case, the expression was withdrawn a few days later, in one of the routine editorial revisions. However, to our surprise, a week later, we received a burofax (special registered letter) announcing the beginning of the lawsuit, centered on that phrase.
European funds to "destabilise Europe and Spain"
Once the complaint was admitted, media outlets such as ABC, El Correo or El Nuevo Herald published parts of a press release by Prisoners Defenders, which stated, among other nonsense, that the Euskadi-Cuba NGO receives "European funds (...) to undermine institutions and destabilize (...) Europe and Spain." No further comment.
This lawsuit attacks an organization and a media outlet of the International Movement of Solidarity with Cuba, seeking to economically hurt both the development cooperation developed by Euskadi-Cuba and to censor the critical and uncomfortable voice of Cubainformación.
But they're not going to win. We will continue to denounce the blockade against Cuba as a war crime and to support the Cuban people with all possible solidarity. A solidarity that Cubainformación and Euskadi-Cuba will need in the coming months, in the face of what, in our opinion, is an attack on the work of cooperation and freedom of the press.
Note from defense lawyer Endika Zulueta regarding the upcoming trial against freedom of expression in Madrid Endika Zulueta
On October 5, 2020, on the website www.cubainformacion.tv (owned at the time by the Euskadi-Cuba Association), the journalist José Manzaneda published an article entitled "Creating a health crisis in Cuba, objective of the war against its medical cooperation", in this article, among other considerations, he pointed out the following: “Javier Larrondo, a member of one of the families of the Cuban bourgeoisie protected under the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, is, like Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, a war criminal. And he should be treated as such” (expression removed from the website on October 13, 2020).
Javier Larrondo is a person who is politically active in his capacity as president of the NGO "Prisoners Defenders", he is especially critical of Cuba's medical cooperation.
It is obvious that the expression "war criminal", in relation to the title of the article, implies the "war against medical cooperation" being waged by the Cuban Government, and in no way relates to war crimes committed in the context of an armed conflict, https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimen_de_guerra
At the hearing in February, the private prosecution brought by Mr Larrondo requested the sentence of 6 years' imprisonment, a fine of 26 months (15,600 euros) (13 months' imprisonment in the event of non-payment) and compensation of 50,000 euros, considering both the journalist and the legal representative of the website responsible for crimes of serious insult, serious slander and incitement to hatred for each of the accused.
Both the Public Prosecutor's Office and the defense request acquittal on the grounds that the facts do not constitute any crime.
CONSIDERATION OF PROSECUTION. – Not only does it seem obvious to us that the facts do not constitute any crime, but it is paradoxical that the president of an Association that claims to defend human rights intends not only to criminalize freedom of expression, freedom of information and ideological freedom, but also requests the imprisonment for more than 6 years of those who simply legitimately disagree with a certain political practice in a newspaper article.
Supporters of Rock Around the Blockade are are hosting report back meetings around the country, presenting the lessons and politics we learnt from our recent brigade to Cuba.
The meetings will include short talks with video clips from the brigadistas, and open discussion.
See the image below and follow the links to find your local meeting! More dates to be announced.
Activists from Rock Around the Blockade joined the international caravana against the blockade on Saturday 27th, sending a message of solidarity with Cuba to Palestine marches and stalls across the country!
Since its establishment in 1959, the Cuban revolutionary government has consistently supported the Palestinian national liberation struggle. In the context of the current Israeli onslaught, President Miguel Díaz-Canel stated in a speech broadcast on 29 October that ‘Cuba condemns, in the harshest terms, the bombings against the people in Gaza and the destruction of their homes, hospitals, and civil infrastructure… Nothing can justify what Israel’s army is doing against Gaza. Nothing can justify the serious violations of international humanitarian law that Israel is committing.’
At the Central Havana Paediatric Hospital the brigade delivered our medical equipment donations. Doctors and nurses in the ICU described the practices and training making Cuban medicine a leading example, despite the genocidal US blockade. Cuban healthcare is representative of Cuba’s socialist system with training and diagnosis focused on spending time understanding patients’ medical issues through their own experiences and their families. As part of our brigade, RATB fundraised over £2,500, delivering cannulas, catheters, stethoscopes and pulse oximeters. Donations are still open, click here to find out more.
On 16-17 November, a special international tribunal hosted by the European Parliament discussed evidence of the economic and human costs of the US blockade. The tribunal heard extensive evidence from Cuban, European and US witnesses of the extraterritorial application of US sanctions which constitutes a clear violation of international law.
The Cuba Viva Brigade 2023/4 has met with care workers and residents at the San Rafael Clinic nursing home in Havana. The staff and residents spoke with Rock Around The Blockade brigadistas about the system of care for elderly members of their community. We outlined for them the crisis in Britain’s social care system, such as severe staff shortages, profiteering private companies, and growing waiting lists. We learned that their facility under socialism has 53 staff caring for its 50 residents. Our brigade delivered material aid including games for the residents, gloves for the workers, and they described how Cuba battles the US blockade’s effects on its revolutionary care system.
In Cuba, as the nurses said, care users know that “we are their family”.
See below for more photos:
Rock Around the Blockade's 2023 brigade to Cuba has begun! The brigadistas arrived at the Juan Antonio Mella International Camp (CIJAM), Artemisa Province, just in time for the annual celebration of the triumph of the Cuban revolution!
CIJAM camp was established more than 50 years ago, after a first brigade of 228 young people from 22 countries travelled to Cuba to help build schools in Artemisa due to their commitment to the Cuban Revolution. Opened in 1972, CIJAM hosts up to 2,000 brigadistas every year taking part in practical solidarity in support of socialist Cuba. Our brigadistas start a packed schedule of meetings, visits and practical work to learn from the revolutionary example of Cuba. Watch this space and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular updates!
On November 2, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for a resolution calling on the US to lift the blockade against Cuba. The US and Israel were the only two nations to vote no, with Ukraine abstaining. This marks the 31st time that the world has expressed its opposition to the blockade. Across the country, activists with Rock Around the Blockade brought opposition to the blockade into the streets, often coinciding with Palestine demonstrations, bringing a message of the importance of solidarity with Cuba and Cuban internationalism with them:
Cuba 11J: counter-hegemonic perspectives of social protests, Alexander Hall Lujardo (coordinator), published by Marx21, 2023, 392pp digital edition free under Creative Commons Licence.
On 11 July 2021, street protests broke out in various locations across Cuba, some turning violent. They were the first widespread social disturbances in Cuba for 27 years. They occurred in the context of Covid-19 lockdown measures, and conditions of extreme hardship imposed by the tightening of the 62-year US blockade of Cuba, and were stoked by a US-backed social media campaign. 11 July was celebrated by the imperialist media and Florida’s right-wing Cuban exiles, some of whom called for US military intervention (see FRFI 283 for a detailed analysis).