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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.

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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!

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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.’

Pro Palestine march in Cuba, with Miguel Diaz Canel at the front

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.

Cuba brigade at the paediatric hospital in Havana

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.

Protest against the US blockade in London

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:

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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!

Brigadistas at the CIJAM camp

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!

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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).