On the 17 January 2009, almost 250 people gathered at Bolivar Hall, the Venezuelan embassy, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. The meeting, organised by Rock around the Blockade, can only be described as a resounding success.
The panel of speakers was vibrant and the audience more so, both providing discussion points that could have continued for hours. We were honoured to have representatives from the Cuban, Venezuelan and Bolivian embassies. Rafael Sardinas from the Cuban Embassy spoke of the triumph of the revolution and its gains in the face of US terrorism. Williams Suarez from the Venezuelan Embassy and Ruben Vidaurre from the Bolivian Embassy both spoke of developments of Latin America and the inspiration that Cuba provides. It was very significant to be in Bolivar Hall, with Venezuelan and Bolivian comrades, both of whose countries have taken the principled lead and cut all ties with the Zionist State of Israel. In fact, the topic of Palestine was brought up by almost all speakers, Neeva Shanti speaking on behalf of the Revolutionary Communist Group. Diego Almeida, from the Movement of Ecuadorians in the UK, and Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists and speaking on behalf of Justice for Colombia. It was clear that many people arrived after having gone to the rally for Palestine in Trafalgar Square that afternoon, and when the floor was opened to the audience for discussion, the brutal, racist, occupation of Palestine was raised with speakers expressing their condemnation of Britain and US’ political and military support of the Israeli State.