cuban5report1On Saturday 6th June activists from Rock around the Blockade and the Revolutionary Communist Group hosted a demonstration at Grey’s Monument, Newcastle in solidarity with the Cuban 5 and to demand their release. This action was called in response to the Cuban call for an international day of action to free the 5, because the Court of Appeals is making a decision this month as to whether or not if they will hear their case.  

We were there for 5 hours telling people about the case of the Cuban 5, handing out leaflets, with placards and banners reading ‘Free the Cuban 5! End the Illegal US Blockade!’

One question which is asked often is ‘Who are the Cuban 5, and what’s it got to do with us in Britain?’

cuba5_1On Saturday 12 September 2009, to mark the 11th anniversary of the incarceration of the Cuban 5, over 60 people protested in a busy shopping street in the Angel, near central London , to demand the release of the Cuban 5, as part of an international day of action.

The event was called by Rock around the Blockade (RATB), a campaign in solidarity with socialist Cuba and against the US blockade, to demand the immediate release of the five Cuban heroes. Under the title Break the Chains: Free the Cuban 5, Free all Political Prisoners of Imperialism, the rally highlighted the use as a torture camp of Guantanamo Bay , in illegally occupied Cuba , to hold prisoners of the imperialist ‘war on terror’. Speakers also exposed the situation of refugees and asylum seekers in Britain , thousands of whom are daily detained and deported under Britain ’s racist immigrations laws. Detainees include nearly 500 children currently incarcerated.

cuba_solidarity_campaign_csc_minutes_17_jan_09On 6 December 2008, two activists from London Rock around the Blockade (RATB) were thrown out of a conference on Latin America organised by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC). Their crime? Handing out fliers advertising an RATB rally in London 17 January 2009 organised to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. RATB had requested a stall at the Latin America conference but CSC Director Rob Miller had personally refused. When he and fellow CSC Executive Committee member Natasha Hickman saw the RATB comrades publicising our event, they insisted that they leave immediately, threatened to call the police and summoned security officers to enforce their decision. Subsequently we published a statement on the RATB website which condemned this as an act of sectarianism.

This was not the first incident of its kind. Indeed, for a long time RATB has suspected the CSC of waging a campaign to undermine our activities, including, for instance, telling local CSC branches not to participate in or support RATB’s 2008 Cubans Are Coming speaking tour with Che Guevara’s deputy Orlando Borrego, Jesus Garcia and Yoselin Rufin ( Now we have proof that this campaign exists.

Following the opening session at the Latin America 2008 conference held on Saturday the 6th of December in the TUC Congress House, Rob Miller, Director of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, expelled two ticket holders for handing out leaflets for a Rock around the Blockade event in six weeks time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. In an act of hostility and further evidence that Miller regards the RATB as 'competition', he personally summonsed five security guards and threatened to call the police on our activists for the palpable crime of campaigning in solidarity for the Cuban Revolution. With CSC staff member Natasha Hickman at his side, Miller pulled £20 out of his own wallet as a refund for the tickets bought.

13Sept_2On 13 September 2008, to mark 10 years in prison for the Cuban 5, supporters of Rock Around The Blockade and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! held an open air rally with speakers, leaflets and petitions in the centre of Manchester. Hundreds of informational leaflets were given out with queues of people forming to sign our giant wall petition for the 5

us_embassyOn Saturday 6 June 2009, members of Rock Around the Blockade gathered outside the US embassy in London to protest at the unjust imprisonment of the Cuban 5, and to show solidarity with the prisoners and with the Cuban state.

The Cuban 5 were imprisoned by the American government over a decade ago on false charges of espionage, when in fact they were attempting to infiltrate right-wing anti-Cuba terrorist groups based in Miami.

cuban5_sep8Marking ten years of unjust imprisonment

Saturday 13th September marked ten years since the unjust arrest and incarceration of the Cuban 5. Rock Around The Blockade (RATB) joined protesters around the world on this day, and showed it's solidarity for these five brave men by holding a rally in Trafalgar Square in the heart of London.

july3On Saturday 25th July Rock around the Blockade in Newcastle held a street celebration at Grey’s Monument, to mark the anniversary of the 26th July Movement.

Possibly the biggest Che flag I have ever seen adorned the Monument, along with 26 Julio, Cuba and Palestine flags. We also had an information stall with a canes attached flying the flag of the Tamil people. This, along with the weather being on our side, brought in a crowd of around 100 people who had a lot of interest in what we had to say.

We started by saying that we were there to celebrate the 26th July Movement and 50 years of the Cuban revolution and that we celebrate it because Cuba is a socialist country which is able to meet the needs of its people without the need for exploitation, oppression, imperialist war, racism or poverty. It is not just by chance that they are able to do this; Cuba can do this because the mass of the Cuban people are in power and are leading and pushing forward their revolution which puts people before profit.

For half a century US imperialism has gone to staggering lengths to destroy the Cuban Revolution and damage the example it sets for the oppressed people of the world. This aim is embedded in the US Constitution itself. The US blockade (1961), invasion (1961), the threat of nuclear war (1962) and attempts to isolate Cuba on the international stage, have failed to destroy the Revolution. The Obama administration is stepping up efforts to create an internal opposition among the Cuban people, ‘investing’ $55 million in 2009 alone in this endeavour. These attempts are failing miserably. Imperialist powers and their allies continue to underestimate the revolutionary strength of the Cuban people, demonstrated in December 2009 when just one neighbourhood in Havana took to the streets in response to a group of imperialist-paid mercenaries known as the Women in White.