Pickets of Esso garages took place across England and Scotland as the Revolutionary Communist Group and Rock Around the Blockade took action against the illegal US blockade on Cuba. With a racist coup unleashing bloodshed in Bolivia against the Movement Towards Socialism government and their indigenous supporters, the pickets were broadened to urgently protest against US, EU imperialist interests in Latin America. ExxonMobil (whose European trading name is Esso) is the first to bring lawsuits against Cuban state companies under the newly activated Helms Burton Title III legislation of the US blockade. Not only does ExxonMobil target Cuba, back the brutal coup in Bolivia and back destabilisation in Venezuela, it heavily contributes to climate change and environmental destruction which threatens the future of life on Earth.
Report from the RCG delegation to the Anti-Imperialist conference of solidarity, for democracy against neoliberalism. Havana, Cuba 1-3 November 2019.
It was a gathering of resistance. Over 1330 representatives of 789 social movements and organisations from 86 countries focusing on a clear message – to fight in solidarity against all those resisting imperialism and neo-liberalism around the globe. More than that, it was a resounding declaration of solidarity with socialist Cuba, to defy the tightening of the US blockade and the US offensive on all socialist movements across Latin America. To defend Cuba is to defend humanity, it is to defend access to healthcare, education, the environment and basic dignity.
Our delegation from imperialist Britain –which invades, occupies and plunders oppressed countries around the globe, whilst imposing austerity on the working class at home-went to Havana to raise the banner of Cuban socialism and its achievements, to salute the steadfast resistance against destabilisation in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. We went to celebrate the resistance of the popular uprisings against neoliberal governments in Haiti, Honduras, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Brazil which illustrate that the right-wing cannot impose its brutal austerity and violence unchecked. We went to denounce the coup underway in Bolivia. Moreover, we went to strengthen our links with all those worldwide committed to defending Socialist Cuba, ALBA and the revolutionary movements in Latin America that are a beacon of hope; inspiring those fighting against capitalism and imperialism, for liberty and international equality.
'For English translation please turn on subtitles'
‘May the fist rise! May the hand rise! May the people of Latin America rise!’
The conference, organised by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Cuba's Workers Central (CTC), the Cuban Chapter of Social Movements and the Continental Journey for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism, opened with Fernando Gonzalez Lort, head of ICAP, and one of the five Cuban heroes unjustly imprisoned in the US for foiling a terrorist plot against Cuba.
Highlighting the hypocrisy of successive governments in failing to overthrow the Cuban revolution for over 60 years he demanded global condemnation of the US blockade, especially the activation of Helms-Burton Title 3 and declared ‘There’s no better platform than this space, to ratify that Cuba will never give in, nor betray its principles, nor it’s solidarity with the rest of the world’
Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, minister of foreign affairs took the floor, highlighting Cuba’s impressive contribution to international solidarity and highlighting the key popular struggles that define the global anti-imperialist movement today
Margarita Ramirez Jaen, Cuban Communist Party member from Amistur, ICAP’s travel agency explained that it was important to gather delegates from all over the world to Cuba in this moment, to build solidarity with the Cuban socialist system and defend Cuba against the blockade
There followed three days of intense discussion, anti-imperialist tribunes, fiery speeches and proposals for action. Participants were clear, as Gail Walker, director of the US solidarity group ‘Pastors for Peace’ emphasised ‘an attack on Cuba is an attack on all of us standing for justice’ whilst Karin Nansen, president of the Friends of the Earth – Latin America and the Caribbean argued ‘we are living through an intense period of attacks on humanity and on ecological diversity…the internationalist solidarity, held up by the Cuban people is essential…capitalists are turning nature into merchandise and attempts are being made to paint capitalism green and turn nature into a commodity…we must wage a battle of ideas to not allow this happen’ and a Ghanaian medical student stressed ‘some of us learned in Cuba, grew up in Cuba, were raised in Cuba. Cuba is not alone, the world is with Cuba and will stand with Cuba’
Our delegate Ria Aibhilín was invited to speak from the panel in the thematic commission on youth struggles. She explained ‘We are currently very involved in the movement against climate change, dominated by young people, who understand the urgency of the crisis and the need to act now… In every city where we are active, our comrades have been involved in these struggles, bringing anti-imperialist demands, calling for socialism and holding up the example of the most sustainably developed society on the planet – socialist Cuba! We organise under the slogan ‘climate change is a war! of the rich against the poor!’ bringing anti-imperialist politics to the forefront of the struggle.
Rich imperialist countries, like Britain, are driving environmental destruction and global warming as they exploit poorer countries around the world. They plunder the natural resources of the poorer nations, their oil, their mineral and their land. They bribe a tiny layer within those poorer countries to hand over resources at rock bottom price. This is a new form of colonialism. There can be no solution to the climate crisis or its impact without a complete change in the relationship between rich and poor countries, otherwise countries will continue to be looted for the minerals and raw materials to mass produce electric cars and solar panels for ‘eco-friendly’ consumerism, the anarchy and wastefulness of capitalist production will continue and this will just be green imperialism. This requires a challenge to the existing system of imperialist exploitation. None of the existing parliamentary parties in Britain will commit to this and we see no parliamentary route to socialism in our country. The words of Fidel at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio have informed our demands: Abolish the so-called third world debt which facilitates the continued looting of poorer countries. Force the monopolies to hand back their ill-gotten gains from land and raw materials stolen from poor countries.’
Our delegate Sheila Rubio, was taken to speak from the floor in the final session focusing on concrete plans for future work. Holding up photos of protests we have initiated at Esso petrol stations she detailed our efforts to engage climate protestors in taking action against Exxon Mobil, the massive oil conglomerate which owns of Esso. Exxon Mobil, responsible for countless violations of the environment are the first multinational corporation to file a case under Helms Burton Title III, thus attacking the Cuban revolution, world leader in sustainable development. Prompting a round of applause, Sheila declared ‘we must link the struggle to defend Cuba with the youth fighting against climate change. To Esso and Exxon Mobil we say “if you blockade Cuba, we will blockade you!”
In stark contrast to the genocidal US blockade, which costs the island a staggering $12 million each and every day, Cuba is committed to the principles of internationalism, and cooperation. From sending troops to support Angola in the fight against South African Apartheid, to restoring sight to over 50,000 cataract patients without charge, at the conference, Cuba’s achievements in international solidarity were emphasised by the students of ELAM, the Latin American School of Medicine. In an old naval base just outside Havana ELAM has graduated over 29,750 doctors from 105 counties, trained completely for free on the proviso that they return to impoverished communities and offer medical attention. Despite the brutal US blockade, ELAM has even trained over 200 US students. We spoke to Steve Singh Gill from California who explained why studying in Cuba was so important to him. ‘Fidel recognised that people in the US were dying because they didn’t have access to medicine…we want to take some of what we are learning back to our countries, the idea of universal healthcare which would be a blessing in our communities’
At the commission at ELAM met with students from Palestine, Syria, Swaziland, Sri Lanka, Mongolia and beyond. ‘The most precious thing that they have given us is humanity…thank you Cuba’
Not only does Cuba train medical students from around the world, it has sent Cuban doctors to over 80 countries to practice medical internationalism, either dispatching brigades to areas struck by natural disasters, completely for free, or engaging in longer term medical cooperation with countries lacking in public healthcare systems. Gail Walker recalled that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (2005) Cuba offered to send 15,000 doctors to the poor communities, predominantly black and Latino, that were ravaged and left without support. ‘How we wept out of frustration when the US government refused the offer, yet only a few months later a deadly earthquake struck Pakistan and Kashmir so the delegation went there instead.' There are already more than 400,000 health professionals in Cuba who have provided services in 164 countries. At this moment, more than 29,000 are serving vulnerable populations in 65 nations.
How fitting to hold a key commission of the conference in ELAM, the living embodiment of Cuba’s anti-imperialist solidarity.
The final declaration of the conference recognises
‘We are experiencing a new moment in history…The peoples are demonstrating that it is indeed possible to overthrow the imperial offensive which aims to resort to criminalization of social protest, the confinement and displacement of populations, the murder of social and political leaders, feminicide, the persecution of the leaders of progressive governments and the judicialization of politics. Times of hope have opened up. Unity is vital and constitutes our duty; mobilization is the order of the day; organization of the people is the imminent task; and integration is the strategy that will lead us on to victory.’
The central demand calls for
‘Mobilising in permanent actions, intensive, systematic with a high media impact against the escalated aggression of the Yankee Empire as part of the ‘hands off Cuba’ international campaign…demanding the lifting of the blockade on Cuba’ To this end an international day of action has been called for 16 November in which we will be participating.
This came days before the annual UN vote on the US blockade against Cuba which saw 187 countries vote against the US blockade and only US, Israel and Bolsonaro’s Brazil vote in favour. A resounding show of support for Cuba for the 28th year in a row.
Further demands denounced the threats and aggressions against all sovereign governments resisting US and European imperialism. The conference expressed steadfast solidarity with the Chavista movement in Venezuela, and opposed the reactivation of TIAR – The Intern American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance which is reviving the Monroe doctrine and being used to target Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution and their democratically elected president Nicolas Maduro.
The conference demanded Freedom for Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, former president of Brazil who had been imprisoned on trumped up charges of corruption since 2018. Days after the conference in response to massive mobilisations, Lula was released from prison on 8 November. An immediate victory for anti-imperialist activists and all progressive imprisoned Latin American leaders against the neo-liberal government of imperialist lackey, Jair Bolsonaro.
The resolution denounced the destabilisation and coup attempts underway in Bolivia by US backed, racist forces of the Santa Cruz elite. Ariana Campero Nava, Bolivian ambassador to Cuba spoke to us explaining the current attack on democracy in Bolivia, calling for international support.
Days later, right wing forces marched on La Paz, attacking indigenous activists, burning buildings, threatening to kill Movement for Socialism (MAS) politicians and forcing indigenous President Evo Morales to resign. Internationalist solidarity has never been so urgent. The coup violence in Bolivia mirrors the protracted coup attempts in Nicaragua (2018) and Venezuela (2019).
Other key demands included solidarity with Nicaragua, reiterating the right of its people to live in peace. Supporting the historic demand of Argentina to recover the Malvinas (Falkland Islands) from Britain. Reparations to the Caribbean nations for the repercussions of slavery, indigenous extermination and climate change. Demanding independence for Puerto Rico, a Latin American, Caribbean nation dominated by US colonialism for over a century.
Defending the popular movement in Chile and Ecuador to revolt in the streets against neoliberalism.
Expressing deepest solidarity with Haiti in their struggle for social justice and historic reparations. Supporting the protests and struggle in Honduras. Supporting the right of the Colombian people to live in peace
Standing against imperialist intervention in Africa and the Middle East, against imperialist intervention in Syria. Supporting the historic struggles of the Saharawi and Palestinian people for self determination.
Rejecting all forms of discrimination and violence based on gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, religious belief, defending the struggles of indigenous and aboriginal people.
Standing against the anti-immigrant laws of the US and Europe, against the anti-socialist, anti-communist campaigns. Standing with the global struggle to defend natural resources, biodiversity, food sovereignty and ‘Mother Earth’
The conference resolved to move forward in building anti-imperialist unity amongst the left-wing political forces of the world.
In the closing session, Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela, and Miguel Diaz-Canel – President of the Council of State, Cuba addressed the crowd:
Standing firm against the media war, Diaz-Canel then emphasised ‘Cuba has been held under siege by lies and for years separated from its natural environment. With lies they have invaded nations, torn apart peoples, set back entire regions on their path to development.
On behalf of Cuba, we would like to reaffirm that the new generation of Cuban leaders, trained and educated by the historical generation of Fidel and Raúl, are revolutionaries, socialists, faithful to Fidel and Martí. and that we will not yield a millimetre in our positions in favour of independence, sovereignty, and social justice.' Find the full transcript of Diaz-Canel's address to the conference here: Díaz-Canel: A better world is possible, and urgently necessary! Let us struggle for it!
For his part Nicolas Maduro saluted a renewed ‘anti-neoliberal wave….there is an insurgency of the people against the model of exclusion, privatisation, impoverishment, the individualism of savage neoliberal capitalism of the International Monetary Fund,’
It is clear that the future of Latin America hangs in the balance. On one side are the progressive forces rebelling against neo-liberalism, the continued resistance of Venezuela and Cuba, the movement to Free Lula, the anti-neoliberalist uprisings igniting the continent. On the other side is the ugly racist violence of the right-wing, armed and funded by US and European imperialism, defending the rights of multi-nationals to plunder natural resources by shooting students in the streets and launching racist coup attempts against Bolivia’s indigenous led revolutionary movement. The future of Latin America is decisive for the future of humanity – whether the progressive forces can win out will depend, in part on the strength of the anti-imperialist forces from within Europe and the US themselves. Our task is before us!
So what next? Take action against the blockade!
In addition to supporting solidarity protests against the neo-liberal offensive in Latin America, the Revolutionary Communist Group is committed to continuing our monthly pickets of Esso, against Helms Burton Title III. We will launch solidarity protests in all cities where we are active on 16 November, responding to the call from the conference
See the call to action from Gloria La Riva – from the Party of socialism and liberation in the US:
Tighe Barry from Code Pink, one of the activists arrested for defending the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC against a take-over by opposition politicians supporting Guaido’s attempted coup, illustrates the kind of solidarity action that can be taken from the belly of the imperialism.
Whilst on 5 November, RCG comrades in London protested against a visit by Luis Almagro, General Secretary of the US backed Organisation of American States and continental architect of aggression against Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia.
This is an urgent rallying call to action
As the comrades from Palestine expressed so clearly
‘when we fight for the struggle of Cuba we are fighting our struggle too- our common enemy is against imperialism; the exploitation of resources to ensure the continuation of their system…Cuba is an inspiring example for liberation movements around the world.’
End the US blockade of Cuba! Hands off Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and all the progressive movements across Latin America and the world!
The people continue to fight! Los Pueblos seguimos en lucha!
Gloria La Riva, president of the US Party for Socialism and Liberation and now presidential candidate for 2020, has made a call for action in support of Cuba on November 16th. It will be an urgent day of solidarity agreed internationally at the conference: 'Go to the streets, go to the US embassy, go to the companies that blockade Cuba. If they blockade Cuba, we'll blockade them! ¡CUBA SÍ, BLOQUEO NO!'
Gloria La Riva calls for action on the internationally agreed urgent day of solidarity with Cuba - 16 November 2019. Go to the streets, go to the US embassy, go to the companies that blockade Cuba. If they blockade Cuba, we'll blockade them! ¡CUBA SÍ, BLOQUEO NO! Havana Anti Imperialist Conference 2019
Speech by Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba, at the closing of the Anti-Imperialist Solidarity Conference, For Democracy and Against Neoliberalism, at Havana’s Convention Center, November 3, 2019
Author: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez -
Speech by Miguel M. Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba, at the closing of the Anti-Imperialist Solidarity Conference, For Democracy and Against Neoliberalism, at Havana’s Convention Center, November 3, 2019
(Transcript - Presidency of the Republic)
(Exclamations of: "Diaz-Canel, for sure, give it to the Yankees!" And "Thank you, Cuba, guarantor of peace!")
Thanks to all of you.
I think we all agree that there is no better speech than that of the poets. (Laughter), but, well, we have to conduct the closing.
Dear compañero Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee;
Compañero, brother, President Nicolás Maduro Moros of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela;
Dear revolutionary leaders from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean;
Brothers and sisters, friends, colleagues:
A special greeting to all who resist and have come to the Cuban capital, which has always been, and will be, a meeting point for those who defend peace and solidarity among peoples.
With the support, enthusiasm, solidarity that you express, feel, and promise, and with Raúl and Maduro, we are giving it to the Yankees. (Applause)
We have just returned from a long, intense journey through European countries, including a visit to Azerbaijan to attend the 18th Non-Aligned Movement Summit.
The Non-Aligned Movement, which was weakened at the end of the Cold War, has retaken the spirit of Bandung, the group’s founding statement. These countries are mobilized by the dramatic course of events and the crisis of multilateralism that today is putting the United Nations system in danger.
There, Cuba strongly condemned this crisis that threatens everyone, but especially the less developed.
We denounced those responsible for this situation and stated: “More lies than ever before are being told, with greater disdain and a more terrible cost to the vast majority of humanity, in the interest of a minority that has taken its luxuries to mind-boggling excesses.
"Well into the 21st century, threats and aggressions of varying degrees are launched against all sovereign governments that refuse to serve the hegemonic power as sites for military bases, hand over resources, or yield to their mandates.”
But we were not the only ones to identify the culprit by name. Several leaders expressed alarm given the return of U.S. hegemonism that threatens and takes brutal action against governments that it considers enemies, because they do not share their policies, and fiercely attacks socialism as if it were an unacceptable social system.
On a global level, there is a great concern given setbacks in important areas such as peace, self-determination, and the sovereignty of nations, the environment, a response to climate change, human rights, social justice, and the search for economic equity.
In our geographical area, in particular, concern is no less widespread. Latin America and the Caribbean suffer the return of the Monroe Doctrine and the worst practices of McCarthyism. The uncontrolled series of interventionist actions that the current U.S. administration has unleashed, since coming to power, is based on these two imperialist postulates.
The President of the United States and his court of hawks attack the Cuban Revolution, the Bolivarian Revolution, the Sandinista Revolution, the Sao Paulo Forum, the political leadership of the Brazilian, Bolivian, Argentine left, and social, popular, progressive movements throughout the region, which they consider their backyard.
The inter-American system has reactivated mechanisms of such odious memory for the region as the Reciprocal Assistance Treaty (TIAR) and the demoralized OAS, which has been consolidated as an instrument of political pressure for the United States and oligarchies that defend neoliberalism.
How can I not laugh at the OAS, if it is such an ugly, ugly thing that makes you laugh (Applause) that is how our parents sang in the years when the group expelled Cuba for not submitting to Washington's demands. What do we sing to it now, when it could not force Venezuela to its knees, and wants to get rid of a thorn, inspecting Bolivia?
They ran over there, worried about election results in a Latin American nation with the greatest growth and improvement in the last decade, after having been the poorest and most backward in the Southern Cone for centuries.
Yes, the OAS is a very ugly thing. And very cynical. Their "worries" do not touch the depths of anger felt by the people rising up against neoliberalism, faced with pellet guns, gases, and lead bullets for protesting peacefully.
It is very important to note the media component of this war we are being subjected to. At the forefront of imperial policies, the tanks of the cultural and symbolic offensive are always advancing, intent upon legitimizing the injustices of the capitalist system, discrediting the left’s political alternatives, and destroying the cultural identity of our nations, as a previous step to their destabilization plans.
Just recently, in Azerbaijan, the falsehoods that Washington has sought to impose as pretexts against the legitimate Venezuelan government were debunked.
When Nicolás Maduro Moros, in his capacity as the previous president pro tempore of the Movement, led the first part of the assembly and then presented the responsibility to Azerbaijan, practically all the delegations participating - some 120 at different levels of representation - recognized and congratulated the performance of the Bolivarian Republic at the head of the Non-Aligned Movement. (Applause)
Where was the supposed rejection of Venezuela by the international community? Why was there not a single expression of condemnation or criticism of the Bolivarian government by the governments that represent the absolute majority of the United Nations? Nonetheless, as part of the war of symbols, the media lynching launched against Maduro, the media have reported ad nauseum, in half the planet, that he has no international support.
Internally, they don’t treat any better political leaders who seriously believe a change within the United States is necessary. The discourse is aggressive and dismissive of all those who do not share the approach of the President, who announces decisions that affect millions on Twitter and behaves abhorrently everywhere.
He talks about socialism without the slightest idea of what it means. And orders the end of any process or political program that intends to overcome prevailing injustice, as if he held the course of history in his hands.
He is not the first emperor to try this. And surely he will not be the last to fail. Because history can only be changed by peoples. (Applause)
Fidel said many times that the lie was the main adversary to defeat in politics and that telling the truth is the first duty of every revolutionary. This is one of our fundamental missions as practitioners of revolutionary politics. The first enemy to cut down is the lie and even more so, the imperialist lie. (Applause)
Cuba has been held under siege by lies and for years separated from its natural environment. With lies they have invaded nations, torn apart peoples, set back entire regions on their path to development.
With lies they attacked Iraq and Libya and plunged them into instability. With lies they have turned Syria into a weapons-testing facility and a theater for terrorist operations, which they have financed under the false banners of democracy and freedom.
With colossal, ridiculous lies they accuse Cuba, Venezuela, and the Sao Paulo Forum of promoting popular uprisings in all corners of the planet, while covering their eyes, ears, and mouths, to not see, not hear, not recognize what the people in the streets are shouting: neoliberalism is an economic failure and a social disaster. (Applause)
This technique is used perversely in the desperate attempt to overthrow the Bolivarian government of Venezuela and at the same time hurt Cuba. Although these attacks began in the years of brilliant, successful integration in which Chávez and Fidel created ALBA, in recent months the United States has launched a strong campaign against any type of relationship between our two countries.
We are accused of sustaining the Bolivarian Revolution, in an irrational version of the satellite theory that was wielded against the former Soviet Union, in its time. They resort to this pretext to justify the blockade.
Cuban medical cooperation is a target of continuous attack, intent upon discrediting a noble, solidary effort that the whole world recognizes and that, along with the Latin American School of Medicine and the Henry Reeve Brigade, to respond to natural disasters, constitute the most genuine and successful expressions of cooperation between developing countries. (Applause)
These three projects, works of unquestionable human value, emerged from Fidel's ideas to honor international solidarity.
There are already more than 400,000 health professionals in Cuba who have provided services in 164 countries. At this moment, more than 29,000 are serving vulnerable populations in 65 nations.
Nothing says so much about the humanist essence of the Cuban Revolution as this cooperation. That is why the effort to disparage and destroy it is not surprising. Solidarity is alien to capitalism.
It was against them and in spite of them, that colonialism and apartheid were defeated in Africa, where the best children of the Cuban Revolution shared sacrifices and their own blood with fighters in Angola, Namibia, and other nations. We brought home from those lands, where empires always traveled to plunder, only our dead (Applause) and the conviction that we had fulfilled “the most sacred of our duties: fighting imperialism wherever it may be,” as Che Guevara taught us.
Defense, education, health, science ... Cuban cooperation, the product of solidarity as a principle, was, is, and will be present in any area of noble human activity, where we can contribute. Offering solidarity is re-paying our own debt to humanity. (Applause)
For showing solidarity, and being consistent with our history of struggle and sacrifice, for being a sister and companion of peoples who resist, Cuba is condemned and sanctioned beyond limit.
Our country today suffers a criminal tightening of the blockade, the reinforcement of an immoral, illegal policy that for more than 30 years the United Nations General Assembly has condemned virtually unanimously, without the United States reacting to the worldwide demand.
This is more evidence of disrespect for the norms of international law, which has worsened, especially with an illegal law such as the Helms Burton, which persecutes and sanctions third countries, internationalizing the blockade.
Given that these plots are not enough to defeat a people who have been fighting for independence for 151 years and will never give up, the empire now resorts to harassment, persecution, and sanctions on countries, companies, and ships that participate in transporting fuel to Cuba.
How can someone decree such an action, and then declare that the intention is to isolate the Cuban government and help its people?
Since the time of the famous Mallory Memorandum, Cuba has understood very well, through the words of its very creators, the first and ultimate goal of the blockade.
The U.S. functionary (Lester Mallory) stated: "Most Cubans support Castro…There is no effective political opposition … The only possible way to make the government lose domestic support is by provoking disappointment and discouragement through economic dissatisfaction and hardships …Every possible means should be immediately used to weaken the economic life … denying Cuba funds and supplies to reduce nominal and real salaries with the objective of provoking hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government." What maliciousness!
We will never tire of reiterating this, so no one is deceived. The United States policy toward Cuba was made very explicit in that document, dated April 6, 1960.
But before the Mallory Memorandum there are other documents and policies that reveal the historical character of imperial designs regarding Cuba and the rest of Our America. From the theory of "ripe fruit" to the Monroe Doctrine, now reactivated.
Martí saw it more clearly than others and left a warning in his political testament, his unfinished letter of May 18, 1895, in which he reveals the ultimate goal of his struggle to change the island’s fate.
“... I am in danger every day of giving my life for my country and my duty – as I understand it and I have the courage to do so - to prevent in time - with the independence of Cuba - that the United States spreads across the West Indies and falls, with greater force, upon the lands of our America. All I have done thus far, and will do, is for this…"
Through sacrifice, resistance, and thanks to solidarity, our people have maintained their Revolution over all these years. The strength of the process cannot be explained without this popular will. Nor would this will exist without the high level of participation of the people in their destiny.
Thus, it must be stated clearly, the only thing in the aforementioned Mallory document that has not been accomplished is the overthrow of the Cuban government. The punishment imagined by the empire, in the epitome of cruelty, is being applied right now, as if it were a law.
As for solidarity, we have a great deal for which to thank you all, in articulating material support for us and offering the tenderness of your peoples.
And we said today, when Cuba needs the redoubling and multiplication of support for its cause, which is the cause of sovereignty and freedom for the peoples of Our America and the world:
"Truth and tenderness are not useless," as Martí said. And although sometimes it may appear that things cannot be changed, that policies cannot be defeated, or empires shaken, the history of humanity and the history of the Cuban Revolution are here to prove that it can be done. (Applause)
Cuba is the best demonstration of how much the solidarity of peoples can do. When imperialism pushed us away from Our America, expelling us - for our honor and good fortune - from the discredited OAS, when we were alone in the middle of the hemisphere, upholding the revolutionary banner of a continent in tenacious rebellion, the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples was founded here. (Applause)
It was Fidel’s idea. We were not interested in relationship with governments submissive to the empire, in their ministry of colonies. We were interested and are interested, first of all, in the friendship of the peoples. (Applause)
The friendship of the peoples of America and the world pushed governments. Today Cuba has diplomatic relations with more than 160 countries, and our solidarity has also reached more than half of them.
Many of the political and social leaders gathered here will remember the hemispheric meetings of struggle against the FTAA, promoted by the Comandante en jefe, because they participated in them.
Thus was born the Continental Campaign against the FTAA, which mobilized millions and raised awareness about the need to overcome secondary differences to achieve the unity of all forces and confront that imperialist re-colonization project. And what happened? We defeated it. (Applause)
The defeat of the FTAA, like the historical defense of the Cuban Revolution, are examples of successful struggles that leave us with a great lesson: we cannot succeed split or divided. Working on the basis of all that unites us, we can build common projects to confront imperialist aggression and its oligarchic allies.
Against the blockade we will continue fighting in all arenas. Here, first of all, working, creating, and resisting without giving up on development.
Cuba's most valuable resource is its people: imaginative, cheerful, enterprising, brave, and creative.
A people who are, first and foremost, the architects of the revolutionary project, under the most adverse conditions.
If we have together chosen the path of socialism, even after the empire imposed the ridiculous theory of the end of history, it is because only with socialism can we achieve social justice and equal rights for all.
Unity around this anti-imperialist and emanicipatory, socialist and solidarity project is the consequence of centuries of struggle for a uniting ideal and confirmation that we owe everything to unity. That's why they insist on breaking it. That is why millions are allocated for political subversion and the financing of cultural re-colonization projects.
They want to sell us, wrapped in sophisticated silk and tinsel paper, a world that is exploding in a thousand pieces a few steps from our borders, in Our America, where resources have been immorally transferred to transnationals in the era of neoliberalism, the consequences of which we now face.
The formula for its implementation includes convincing the masses that it is the fastest and most effective way to reach prosperity. The blind but omnipotent market, they say, will ensure that those below enjoy the benefits that will spontaneously fall from the horns of plenty in the hands of the elites. What a cruel mockery!
This is how grating inequality was produced, making possible that 1% of society owns more than the remaining 99%.
The extremely powerful advertising and entertainment industry, which moves almost as much money as the weapons or drug businesses, has constructed the myth of access for all to a world of dreams, that one day become nightmares and explode in popular anger.
Then the political vacuum appears. Many parties, competing with marketing techniques for the limited power that the market grants them to manage the leftovers of plunder, reveal the fallacy of democracy that they attempt to impose as a model of freedom. The majority takes government office without real programs of economic and social transformation.
And when movements arise to change the status quo, campaigns to discredit, soft coups, politically motivated court harassment are launched.
All Latin American leaders of the last two decades, who, to some degree, overcame the worst effects of neoliberalism through social and inclusive policies, have been or are being subjected to persecution, accusations, and even unjust imprisonment, such as the undisputed leader of Brazil Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva suffered 19 months ago. Freedom for Lula! We demand from this platform (Applause and exclamations of: "Free Lula!") Freedom for Lula, now! (Applause)
We live in the communications era. Let us build together, emancipatory platforms to oppose the colonizers with our greatest efforts and energy in pursuit of a better, possible world.
The era of confusion has passed. Our people have paid dearly for the price of economic and political experiments that have only brought wellbeing to elites, in the style of the thug in command of the empire, who believes that the world can be bought and sold on the stock market.
Recent victories of the left in Bolivia and Argentina, the heroic resistance of Venezuela and Cuba to total economic siege, the anti-colonial protests that have put a brake on market formulas show that we cannot be demobilized again.
The left must learn and finally assume the hard lessons of these years of struggle in which splits and lack of unity weakened our forces, and the right unleashed a re-conquest to destroy what had been accomplished.
I note the significant representation of young people in this auditorium and in the streets of Our America, where protest against the abuses of neoliberalism have occurred.
Seeing youth rebelling and fighting for their rights, and for a better fate for their countries, is encouraging and challenging at the same time. (Applause) Because, as Fidel taught us, the struggle of this era is expressed above all in the field of ideas.
We will always defend Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, proclaimed in Havana in 2014 during the hopeful days of a complete Celac, (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) in decline today.
The mobilizations and peaceful protests with which our peoples are demanding their rights are exemplary. And these rights are being won.
Friends, brothers, compañeros, compañeras:
In your beautiful Declaration of Solidarity with the Cuban Revolution, you have written: "The peoples of the world need the example of Cuba", and recalled Marti’s statement that maintains its relevance: "Whoever rises today with Cuba rises for all time." Thanks for saying it and doing it! (Applause and exclamations of: “Cuba yes, blockade no!”)
I express profound gratitude to all those who have come, from near or far, assuming their expenses, to respond to a convocation you yourselves made, to condemn the blockade and articulate efforts that contribute to its definitive defeat.
I especially thank Latin American leaders who have suffered and suffer persecution and punishment for attempting to exchange a history of abuse for the history of our peoples’ liberation.
Today we want to reiterate our strongest support and solidarity with the legitimate president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, (Applause), and the civic-military union of his people, and with Commandante Daniel Ortega Saavedra and the Sandinista National Liberation Front of Nicaragua, also under attack (Applause and exclamations of: Long live Sandino!)
The persistent destabilization attempts that their governments face, are beginning to spread, and we see this today in right-wing efforts to steal the victory of Evo Morales in Bolivia, promoting violence and ignoring the results, in what clearly appears to be the preparation of a coup, which must be denounced (Applause and exclamations of: "They will not pass!)
Thus, we reiterate here our congratulations to Evo for his convincing electoral victory, and to Alberto and Cristina Fernández, who have raised new hope in Argentina. (Applause)
Our solidarity, effective and invariable, with all just causes that are being waged in the region and in the world: with the independence of Puerto Rico (Applause and exclamations of: “Independence for Puerto Rico!”), whose people have managed to keep alive their identity, flag, and hopes for independence, for more than a hundred years of colonialism, an extraordinary symbol of the powerful cultural resistance of Latin America and the Caribbean. Long live free Puerto Rico! (Applause and exclamations of: "Viva!")
We also support Argentina's historical demand to recover sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands. (Applause)
We condemn the imperialist intervention against Syria, and with you demand respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity. (Applause)
We also reaffirm solidarity with the struggles of the Palestinian and Saharawi peoples for the right to self-determination (Applause); with the process of rapprochement and inter-Korean dialogue and for the end of sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; and with the peace process in Colombia. (Applause)
No just cause is alien to us, and as a nation that owes part of its existence to solidarity, we will never renounce its practice, as a principle. (Applause)
You have called today for unity among political forces and the social and popular movements of the left, to continue to raise consciousness, generate ideas, and organize for the struggle.
We see this struggle in the battle for the truth. We must defeat the lies on which wars of all kinds against our peoples are launched: informing, persuading, mobilizing, marching with the poor of the earth, who have grown tired of lies and abuse. Proposing and creating programs that respond to the most pressing demands of workers, students, farmers, intellectuals, and artists.
The approved Action Plan confirms that progressive sectors are aware of the urgent need for unity, if we really want to build together an anti-imperialist, emancipatory project, committed to genuine and long delayed integration.
On behalf of Cuba, we would like to reaffirm that the new generation of Cuban leaders, trained and educated by the historical generation of Fidel and Raúl, are revolutionaries, socialists, faithful to Fidel and Martí (Applause), and that we will not yield a millimeter in our positions in favor of independence, sovereignty, and social justice. And joined with the peoples who struggle and resist, we will always uphold solidarity as a fundamental principle, to which we owe so much.
This is why we make our own the words of Fidel, when, more than 50 years ago, referring to the early solidarity that the Revolution found with its cause, he said: “The world has shown solidarity with Cuba and that is why Cuba feels more and more solidarity every day with all the peoples of the world."
In memory of Fidel and Chávez, two of the greats of Our America, whom we were fortunate to meet, listen to, and follow in the most altruistic practice of solidarity, we look to their work as a guide for the new, challenging times that await us.
I believe we all feel that great avenues are opening up, where free men now walk to build a better society. (Applause and exclamations)
A better world is possible, and urgently necessary! Let us fight for it!
Representatives from the RCG and RATB spoke at Havana's anti-imperialist conference this weekend. They talked about coordinating solidarity action internationally and presented our London-based campaing against ExxonMobil, which is attempting to sue Cuba under Title III of the Helms Burton Act.
RCG & RATB representative speaking at the session 'Youth: strategies and continuity in struggles' alongside speakers from Syria, Venezuela, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cuba. Calls for coordinating action internationally were made and a resolution for more effective modes of communication between international anti-imperialists was passed to fight back against the media war.
RCG & RATB representative talking about the Esso garage pickets, (Esso is ExxonMobil's trading name) making concrete proposals to picket any company suing Cuba under Title 3 and encouraging the youth to go onto the streets, being noisy.
Havana's Anti-imperialist Conference of Solidarity for Democracy and against Neoliberalism ended with closing speeches of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel and commander-in-chief Raúl Castro. Photo from Granma.
Below are pictures taken by our representatives at the conference. The event had over 1,300 delegates representing 789 organisations from 89 countries, and was organised by the Cuban Chapter of Social Movements and the Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples (ICAP).
Opening plenary of the Anti Imperialist conference in Havana, Cuba, 2019
Meeting Fernando Gonzalez, one of the Cuban five who was unjustly imprisoned in the US for reporting on terrorist plans against Cuba. Fernando is now president of ICAP the Cuban institute of friendship between the peoples. He thanked us for sending our newspaper to him during his time in prison
Margarita Ramirez Jaen, coordinator for Amistur, receives us at CIJAM camp and welcomes us to the Anti Imperialist conference of solidarity ahead of the official opening events tomorrow. Long live international solidarity!
Hamid Shahrabi from Iran's House of Latin America (HOLA) explains the importance of defending Cuban socialism in today's global context.
From 11 - 14 of October 2019, Rock Around the Blockade proudly hosted Cuban environmental historian Professor Reinaldo Funes Monzote, alongside the Cuban ambassador to Britain Teresita Vicente Sotolongo, and associated embassy representatives for a speaking tour. In cities across Britain Professor Monzote spoke about the amazing progress made in Cuba on the environment and how the revolutionary socialist process has enabled Cubans to repair the environmental damage done to their country by centuries of colonial rule and imperialist domination. Reinaldo told us about how Cuba’s land was historically used for sugar farming by colonialists. Slaves were used to produce huge amounts of sugar cheaply for consumption in the countries that dominated Cuba: Spain and the US. This continued until the Cuban revolution triumphed in 1959. Since then it has been the task of the revolutionary government to reforest areas of land that were deforested to make room for sugar production and to undo the economic underdevelopment that occurred as a result of Cuba’s history as a subjugated country.
The RCG/RATB delegation to the Anti-Imperialist Conference of Solidarity for Democracy against Neoliberalism has arrived at ICAP's camp CIJAM (Campamento Internacional Julio Antonio Mella, who was a revolutionary student leader) in Havana province. Conference activities start tomorrow - watch this space!
The Revolutionary Communist Group, our newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and our campaign in solidarity with socialist Cuba, Rock Around the Blockade are honoured to attend the Anti-Imperialist Solidarity Conference for Democracy and against Neoliberalism, convened by Socialist Cuba in Havana between 1-3 November.
From imperialist Britain –which invades, occupies and plunders oppressed countries around the globe, whilst imposing austerity on the working class at home- we raise the banner of Cuban socialism and its achievements. We stand in solidarity with the struggle to build socialism in Latin America and completely oppose the escalation of imperialist attacks on this struggle: We reject the intensification of the genocidal blockade on Cuba, we protest against the imposition of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, in particular picketing Esso petrol stations (which are owned by ExxonMobil, the first multi-national corporation to file a case under Title III). We oppose the continuous coup attempts against the democratically elected government of Nicolas Maduro and the murderous economic sanctions placed on Venezuela. We demand the Bank of England releases the $1.3bn worth of gold it is withholding from Venezuela and that Britain refuses to accept the extension of the US blockade to Europe. We oppose the US backed 'tranque' violence in Nicaragua in 2018 and stand in solidarity with the socialist movement in Bolivia, emphatically rejecting the attempts to launch a coup against the democratically elected government of Evo Morales.
II Call Anti-imperialist Meeting of Solidarity, for Democracy and against Neoliberalism. Havana, November 1-3/2019.
The Anti-imperialist Meeting of Solidarity, for Democracy and against Neoliberalism will take place in Havana from November 1 to 3 of this year, organized by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Central Organization of Cuban Trade Unions (CTC), along with the Cuban Chapter of Social Movements and the Continental Conference for Democracy and against Neoliberalism.
The meeting in Havana expresses the Cuban Revolution´s decision to respond to the demand of the political, social left-wing and the Solidarity Movement with Cuba that our country continues to be a meeting point of the peoples struggles in our continent.
We have proposed the event to be a real contribution to confronting the current counterrevolutionary offensive of US imperialism, to the search for the widest possible unity of the leftist forces in the region and to strengthening militant solidarity with the just causes defended by the peoples. In the current political situation, marked by the aggressiveness of the Trump administration, new ways will be sought to reinforce solidarity with these causes in the world, mainly in our region.
Cuba has a world-leading record in sustainable development; improving lives within the carrying capacity of its ecosystem. The socialist state switched to organic agriculture and urban farming in the 1990s and now has a 100-year plan to protect the natural environment and population from climate change, while working to increase the use of renewable energies. Professor Reinaldo Funes Monzote, a Cuban environmental historian, will be in Britain to explain how the Revolution has addressed the environmental damage to the island from centuries of colonial rule and imperialist domination and the challenges under the socialist system.
The talks are hosted by Rock around the Blockade, a campaign set up by the Revolutionary Communist Group, to defend socialist Cuba. Monzote, a Cuban environmental historian, will be in Britain to explain how the Revolution has addressed the environmental damage to the island from centuries of colonial rule, imperialist domination and the challenges under the socialist system. The talks are hosted by Rock around the Blockade, a campaign set up by the Revolutionary Communist Group, to defend socialist Cuba.
At the University of Havana, we had an exchange with the University Student Federation (Federacion Estudiantil Universitaria, FEU). The FEU represents the interests of university students in various platforms. Cuba’s parliament has representatives elected from amongst the FEU, and during our exchange the students discussed the new constitution’s draft in local FEU meetings.
In Cuba, education is a right rather than a privilege. Everyone can access universities and efforts are made to eradicate inequality between regions and institutions.
Cuban higher education is free, while students’ right to housing and other basic needs are guaranteed. Students also receive a small allowance so that they don’t have to work while studying. Foreign students with scholarships such as those at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) are entitled to those same rights.
VA's latest production with Tatuy TV focuses on unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela, commonly known as sanctions. With threats of military intervention constantly issued, there is already an "intervention" in place in the form of sanctions, which were recently escalated to an embargo. Measures have especially targeted Venezuela's oil industry, and independent studies have found them responsible for at least 40,000 deaths since 2017. In the video we look at historical precedents of sanctions as regime-change methods and the timeline of Washington's attacks against Venezuela.
Britain today has some of the highest quality social care available anywhere in the world: homes run by Berkeley Care Group include a chauffeur-driven Mercedes for days out, well-equipped gyms and all-day bistro bars. Berkeley, however, caters fort less than 200 people and charges between £1,300 and £1,800 per week. The opulence of Berkeley and luxury providers like it is sharply limited to those who can afford to pay. Meanwhile, Age UK’s most recent figures estimate that in Britain, 1.4 million older people have an unmet care need. This is up 20% in the last two years, and more than 54,000 people have died in those two years waiting for a care package. And what crime have these people committed to be condemned to such a fate? Simply not being able to afford to pay in a care system where, ultimately, despite the guiding role of the state in the sector, profit reigns. Such pronounced inequality in social care could not stand in more stark contrast to the system of social care provision in socialist Cuba, to which RATB sent its fourteenth solidarity brigade in April.
The triumph of the 1959 Cuban revolution overthrew the existing property relations in Cuba. In May of that year the new revolutionary government introduced its first Agrarian Reforms, expropriating idle and foreign owned, largely US, land to redistribute among those working it. Historically land had been reserved for the upper-class and imperialists, who had turned Cuba into a sugar-producing colony. The result was the loss of 90% of Cuba’s forests; destruction of ecology from monoculture and a reliance on imports. Further reforms subsequent to those in 1959 have solidified the process of worker ownership of land. Now in socialist Cuba any individual can apply for access to idle land, on the condition that they use it to produce, with a proportion of that produce going to the state to redistribute among society.
Such was the way the Leonor Perez agricultural cooperative, named after the Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti’s mother, was founded in La Lisa municipality, Havana province. We visited the co-operative on our brigade to learn more about Cuba’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The cooperative is one of four in the municipality and 88 in the province, providing to over 2,000 institutions and organisations across Cuba. It spans 179 hectares and is made up of 255 associates, grouping together local farms and farm workers. The main focus is on producing diverse crops, milk and livestock, though they also produce medicinal plants. Though the co-operative can sell its surpluses through private farmers markets, the primary function is to satisfy the needs of the state.
Jose Marti, the 19th Century Cuban national independence hero and revolutionary thinker said that ‘To be educated is to be free’. The importance of education has always been at the heart of the Cuban revolution – the 26 July Movement revolutionary programme declared: ‘We believe that true democracy can be attained only with citizens who are free, equal, educated and have dignified and productive jobs.’ From January 1959, the revolutionary government took steps to create a free and more productive education system. The 1960 literacy campaign recruited 300,000 young Cuban volunteers to live in the poorest rural areas teaching peasants and rural workers to read and write. Within a year every Cuban had achieved basic literacy. 37 schools were built in the first year of the revolution, compared to one school built in the previous 57 years. Free universal education up to and including university is a central pillar of Cuban socialism today, from specialist schools to support children with disabilities to far-flung solar-powered mountain schools teaching one or two children, education is for all.
Our brigade volunteered at a construction site in Guanabacoa, Havana that was working to rebuild over 8,000 homes destroyed by a tornado in January. Astoundingly, by the time of our visit in April, over 80% of the homes had already been rebuilt and the aim is to complete the rebuilding process by November! Where is the equivalent process for Grenfell? Plans for the new homes were made by the Ministry of construction in consultation with the community. Volunteer labour brigades are guided and trained by professional workers whilst municipalities are supported to produce whatever building materials they can. We saw first-hand, how recovered materials were being reused in building, whilst other workers produced cement.
There are increasing outbreaks of measles globally: 112,163 confirmed cases in 2019 so far (900 in England and Wales in 2018). Almost 110,000 people died from measles in 2017 – mostly children under the age of five. Complications can result in disabilities such as blindness and hearing loss. Europe had over 83,500 cases in 2018 in Ukraine (16 deaths), Greece, Italy, France, Serbia, Russia and Georgia, as well as Israel. Astonishingly (or not), Germany, Italy, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine remain endemic for measles, the world’s most infectious illness, but one which is entirely preventable with a simple, effective, safe vaccine. Driving the outbreaks are disadvantaged and marginalised communities of unvaccinated and under-vaccinated people, such as Irish Travellers or Orthodox Jews. There are inequalities in vaccine uptake by ethnicity, deprivation and geography. Between 2010 and 2017: the US had 2,593,000 unvaccinated children, France had 600,000, and the UK 527,000; in sub-Saharan Africa over 17m infants are unvaccinated annually.