On 1 August, Rock Around the Blockade held a successful online meeting on 'How Cuba has Covid 19 under control'. Nearly 150 people tuned in to listen and watch presentations and films from the three panellists:
- Dr Helen Yaffe, author of 'We Are Cuba - How a Revolutionary People Have Survived in a Post-Soviet World' who spoke about the features of Cuba's socialist development which have contributed to the capacity for an effective domestic and international response to Covid-19.
- Dr Valia Rodriguez, a Cuban clinical neurophysiologist and cognitive neuroscientist, teaching and researching at Aston University in Birmingham, gave detailed information about public healthcare services, facilities and structure developed since the Cuban Revolution. Testament to this, Cuba's domestic death toll from Covid-19 stood at just 87 by the end of July.
- Ed Augustin, from Belly of the Beast, an independent group of journalists and filmographers based in Cuba who have been chronicling life on the island, especially in the fight against Covid 19 and who focus on people-centred stories, providing a platform for Cuban voices so often excluded by the mainstream media. Several of their fantastic short videos were presented as part of the session.
We were grateful to have Aristides Hechavarria from the Cuban embassy in London also joining the meeting, who spoke eloquently about the 60 year illegal US blockade and it's devastating impact on Cuba. The discussion that followed received contributions and questions from a wide range of participants including Netfa Freeman from the Black Alliance for Peace and International Committee for Peace and Justice, Nina Gonzalez from the Cuba support group Ireland and Eirene Houston from the Havana-Glasgow film festival.
The meeting highlighted our determination to build solidarity with Cuba against the blockade and escalating imperialist hostility, taking action here in Britain. Rock Around the Blockade, a campaign of the Revolutionary Communist Group has been organising active solidarity with Cuba since 1995, when we held our first brigade to Cuba, in the height of the special period after the collapse of the soviet union. Working in collaboration with Cuba's Union of Young Communists, we brought over sound systems to promote youth activities. Since then we have organised 13 further solidarity brigades, each time taking over material aid to break the illegal blockade of Cuba. Alongside this we have organised speaking tours, made documentaries, organised the Boycott Bacardi campaign, protested in solidarity with the Cuban 5, demanded the closure of US occupied Guantanamo Bay, blockaded Esso petrol stations in protest at Exxon Mobil's lawsuit against Cuba, and much much more. For us Cuba is living proof that socialism is a viable alternative to the crisis ridden capitalist system, and proof that a more humane, socially just world is possible. An example that demands our defence and solidarity!
Nothing illustrates more clearly that capitalism is incapable of providing for the majority of humanity than the fight against Covid-19. Cuba's astoundingly low death toll, and huge contribution to fighting Covid-19 worldwide illustrates what a socialist response makes possible.
Watch the full meeting here:
Sign the petition demanding Britain collaborates with Cuba in the fight against Covid-19 here:
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Support Belly of the Beast here: