I am running a marathon – in one mile laps – this Sunday 10 May from 10am. I will be streaming live updates:
Please donate via the Go Cardless link here: (** see note below)
Why not get involved and get sponsored to run your own mile laps, posting your videos too!
Cuba is making a huge contribution worldwide to fighting the pandemic - Cuban medical teams are currently working in 60 countries. Cuba has sent 14 additional brigades of medical specialists abroad specifically to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Italy, South Africa, Nicaragua, St Kitts and Grenadines, Granada, Jamaica, Venezuela, with delegations preparing to go to Congo. Cuba's life-saving drug Interferon Alpha 2B is already being distributed and administrated to Covid-19 patients. Cuba received the stricken British cruise ship MS Braemar when the US, the Bahamas and no other country in the region would. It treated its passengers and ensured passage home for those who could travel. This is a shining example of socialist internationalism.
Yet due to illegal unilateral sanctions,, Cuba cannot buy new ventilators or repair old ones because the companies that previously supplied ventilators were acquired by a US company (Vyaire Medical Inc). The US blockade imposed on Cuba forbids any type of trading, even of medical items in the middle of this Covid-19 pandemic.
Cuban institutions in health, research and academia have come together to repair old ventilators and to build new devices to support infected patients. Half of all the funds I raise will be given to the Cubanos en UK appeal to support Cuba in building ventilators, adding to the donations already made by Rock Around the Blockade. The rest of the funds will be used to support our urgent solidarity work here in Britain, helping us to organise action against the blockade and produce a new pamphlet to raise awareness about Cuba here in Britain.
Donate, share and watch my sweaty face getting redder with each lap!
Thank you so much to everyone who liked, shared and donated to Sunday's 'Marathon for Cuba'. 46.7 kilometres completed (29 miles)! You can see the videos uploaded as part of the run on our facebook. Any final donations can be sent via Go Cardless here:
Whilst we are still collecting in the final donations, we have already made a £350 payment to Cubanos en UK's emergency ventilator appeal, and will send on any final cash collected. Their appeal has nearly reached it's goal so please keep sharing and helping them smash their £25,000 target.
Rock Around the Blockade will use the remaining half of donations to campaign against the US blockade and build solidarity with Cuba Socialista here in Britain. We are producing a new edition of our pamphlet 'The streets are ours!' which will cover the fundamentals of Cuba's 60 year revolution and why we need to defend it from the escalating threat of economic warfare and intervention.
Watch this space for meetings, protests, campaigns and events
Viva Cuba! Smash the blockade!
Rock around the Blockade is supporting this fundraising campaign to buy equipment for ventilators for Cuban patients with Covid-19. They are blocked from purchasing new machines by the illegal, punitive US blockade. Please donate what you can and share widely.
When times are hard, that is when we most need generosity, kindness and compassion. We appeal to that generosity, that makes us better people, as we turn to you in asking for help. We need to buy components to build ventilators to support COVID-19 patients with medical complications in Cuba.
As you may know, Cuba cannot buy new ventilators or repair old ones because the companies that previously supplied ventilators to Cuba were acquired by a US company (Vyaire Medical Inc). The US blockade imposed on Cuba forbids any type of trading, even of medical items in the middle of this pandemic. However, people still need to be treated and saved.
Cuban institutions in health, research and academia have come together to repair old ventilators and to build new devices to support infected patients. Funds from this appeal will support Cuba in building ventilators using designs that the international community has kindly made available for free on the web. Specifically, funds from this campaign will be used to support building ventilators using the design of the MIT Emergency Ventilator (E-Vent) Project. For this project, Cuban scientists are in close contact with, and studying, the experiences of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels), UCLA, and McGill University. In this way, -through collaboration, open-source and solidarity- we can work around the US blockade of Cuba and help sick people.
We – you and me – can save patients in Cuba by contributing to this campaign.
This is an urgent request. We need to raise £25 000. Time is short, people are dying.
Until the £25K target is not reached, we cannot use the funds. Please, make your contribution today.
Dr Miriam Palacios-Callender & Dr Valia Rodriguez-Rodriguez
Dr Miriam Palacios-Callender is a Cuban scientist resident in the United Kingdom
Dr Valia Rodriguez Rodriguez is a Cuban medical doctor and academic currently residing in the United Kingdom.
Rock Around The Blockade, campaign of the Revolutionary Communist Group, condemns the escalation of US aggression against Venezuela and Cuba in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Trump administration's deployment of navy destroyers to patrol the Caribbean near Venezuela on 1 April is a declaration of war and the latest move in protracted efforts to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution. The US military deployment is part of a wider manoeuvre planned for the whole region involving aircraft and ground units, adding to deployments to Guyana and a major new military pact with Brazil, Venezuela's hostile neighbours. These actions will amount to the largest US military deployment in the region in the last 30 years.
We reject the heinous accusations that Venezuela is a narco-state and the vile bounty Trump has placed on President Nicolas Maduro's head. Evidence from the United States' own Department of Defence concludes that Venezuela is not a prime transit country for drugs, with the majority of US supply originating from Colombia, channelled via the pacific to other US allies in central America before being smuggled north across the US border. Furthermore, Trump's reference to 'malign actors' seeking to exploit the coronavirus situation as a further justification is ludicrous. It is the US that is now the epicentre of the pandemic thanks to a lax response in which the Trump administration prioritised private interests over social health. It is the US that is the 'malign actor' exploiting the pandemic for its own gain by ramping up sanctions and hostilities on countries across the globe.
A map produced by the US Southern Command shows the main drug-smuggling routes in Latin America connecting Colombia and Ecuador with Guatemala and Mexico via the Pacific Ocean.
Crushing US sanctions are estimated to have cost Venezuela $120 billion since 2014. Human rights expert Alfred de Zayas, who as UN rapporteur visited Venezuela in 2017, estimates these measures have killed over 100,000 as imports of key medicines and healthcare equipment have been blocked. Defying the UN call to suspend all sanctions in the battle against the virus, the US has blocked an emergency IMF loan being granted to Venezuela and has vowed to ramp up sanctions until President Nicolas Maduro resigns and Venezuela terminates all agreements with Russia and Cuba. This would require the total surrender of the Bolivarian Revolution and the social and political gains that have been won by the working and impoverished classes in the fight for socialism for over the last 20 years. Trump is weaponising sanctions in the covid-19 pandemic in the hope of crushing movements for socialism.
The PSUV government headed by Maduro has made clear that they will meet aggression full on. In a letter to the US people, Maduro wrote 'I wholeheartedly ask you not to allow your country to be dragged once again into another unending conflict, another Vietnam, another Iraq, but this time, closer to home.'
The Trump administration has also been busy smearing outstanding contribution of socialist Cuba in fighting the pandemic, peddling lies about 'slave doctors' and pressuring other countries to reject practical assistance from Cuban medical teams working in 60 countries. Cuba has sent 14 brigades of medical specialists abroad specifically to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. While the US offers vast amounts of money for exclusive access in the scramble to produce a vaccine, Cuba's life-saving drug Interferon Alpha 2B is already being distributed and administrated to Covid-19 patients. Cuba received the stricken British cruise ship MS Braemar and treated its passengers. Meanwhile, US sanctions have blocked the delivery of Chinese donations of testing kits, masks and ventilators to the island. In the face of the US blockade which costs Cuba some $12 million a day, socialist internationalism is prevailing against US imperialist bullying. We must join the international demand to end the illegal US blockade of Cuba. Rock Around The Blockade and the Revolutionary Communist Group demand:
Hands off Cuba! Hands off Venezuela! An attack on the fight for socialism in Latin America is an attack on the fight for socialism everywhere!
Take action! Demand an end to the extra-territorial application of the US blockade of Cuba in Britain. Demand an end to British support for US sanctions on Venezuela. Release Venezuela's gold with-held in the Bank of England. Complain to:
Dominic Raab – Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Dominic Raab MP House of Commons London SW1A 0AA.
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.
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.
Growing US aggression against progressive governments in Latin America is being accompanied by Cold War rhetoric from Washington. Speaking to right-wing Venezuelans in Florida, President Donald Trump proclaimed on 18 February that ‘the twilight hour of socialism has arrived’. Visiting the country at a decisive moment, we brigadistas learned first-hand that Cuba is getting ready to prove Trump wrong. Will Harney reports.
As previously reported (see FRFI 269), for months the Trump administration has been threatening to activate a long-dormant piece of anti-Cuban legislation, Title III of the Helms-Burton Act which has been suspended by every president since the Act itself was passed in 1996. The sword fell on 17 April, anniversary of the failed 1961 US invasion of Cuba at Playa Giron (the Bay of Pigs). National Security Advisor John Bolton, speaking to right-wing Cuban exiles and former mercenaries at the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association in Miami, announced that the suspension on Title III would be fully lifted from 2 May.
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.
On 24 April 2019 the BBC published an article which was clearly intended to attack the Cuban revolution, while it lacked any seriousness or credibility: "Cuba's government mocked by stampede of ostrich memes". The article tries to mock the Cuban revolution with very questionable foundations. A member of the recent Rock Around The Blockade 2019 Brigade has written the following reply:
To Pascal Fletcher and the BBC:
I feel like the BBC needs to do a little bit of research before publishing articles. You have been very quick to amplify the voices of social media users - whether Cuban or not - who are critical of the government. However, you haven't offered facts or the views of "the other side". Any credible news source should show some balance and use evidence in their reporting. In fact, how about you start reporting on Brexit using memes and comments on online forums as your only source?
I have just been on a solidarity brigade to Cuba with Rock Around The Blockade, which has given me the chance to see the situation in Cuba for myself and talk to many experts. I therefore feel compelled to present you with some important facts.