London RATB protest against HSBC blocking Cuba transactions

First published at www.frfi.org.uk

Rock around the Blockade (RATB), the Revolutionary Communist Group’s campaign in solidarity with socialist Cuba, has joined other groups to launch a new international campaign to challenge the British  and European banks illegally implementing the US blockade against socialist Cuba. Such a campaign is long overdue. 2022 is the 60th anniversary of the blockade, and its extraterritorial application (outside the US) is a violation of international law as well as UK and EU laws. The damage dealt to Cuba’s development and living conditions is clear, with an estimated cost of at least $144bn. The campaign gives people outside the US a practical way to challenge the banks to unblock Cuba. NATHAN WILLIAMS and WILL JONES report.

#FuerzaMatanzas text over image of the Matanzas oil tanker fire

Strength and solidarity to Cuba as it battles a devastating oil tanker fire.

Rock around the Rlockade and the Revolutionary Communist Group send solidarity and our deepest sympathies to the Cuban people and their socialist state currently battling to control a devastating fire in a field of oil tankers containing millions of litres of fuel destined for the thermoelectric plant in Matanzas. The disaster started during a thunderstorm on Friday 5 August, after a lightning strike hit a tanker and the fire spread to another tanker causing a series of explosions and a massive fire which continues to rage.

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This month activists from Rock Around the Blockade and the Revolutionary Communist Group/Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! took to the streets to tell the banks: unblock Cuba! In tandem with the monthly caravana protests being held around the world, supporters picketed British banks which comply with the US blockade of Cuba by blocking transactions relating to Cuba.

This month activists from Rock Around the Blockade and the Revolutionary Communist Group/Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! demonstrated outside of branches of HSBC. The British bank is complying with unilateral US sanctions against Cuba. Imposing US sanctions on UK interests for dealings with Cuba is illegal under UK laws – most notably the 1996 Protection of Trading Interests Act.

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Here are some photos and videos from around the country!

On 5 May Rock Around the Blockade co-hosted a screening of 'Cuba's Life task - combatting climate change' with Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! North East and the fantastic independent Star and Shadow Cinema

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Star and Shadow: Cuba's Life Task - Combatting Climate Change

Saratoga Hotel (photo: @ConsulCubaUK Twitter)

Rock around the Blockade extends its deepest sympathy to the families of victims in Cuba after an explosion at the Saratoga Hotel in Havana on 6 May, and wishes a speedy recovery to those hospitalised. The Department of Hospital Services of the Ministry of Public Health says that at least 26 people have died and 74 were injured. The emergency response is still underway at the time of writing and more bodies may be recovered.

On 30 April across the country activists from Rock Around the Blockade and the Revolutionary Communist Group/Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! demonstrated outside of branches of HSBC supported by organisations including Cubanos En UK and Mafapo. The British bank is complying with unilateral US sanctions against Cuba. Imposing US sanctions on UK interests for dealings with Cuba is illegal under UK laws – most notably the 1996 Protection of Trading Interests Act.

Rock around the Blockade, a campaign in solidarity with socialist Cuba founded by the Revolutionary Communist Group, sends its deepest condolences to the Cuban people following the death of Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada at the age of 85, who headed Cuba’s US policy from 1962, serving as Cuba’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York on and off over 30 years, then Minister of Foreign Relations (1992 to 1993) and President of the National Assembly for two decades (1993 to 2013).

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HSBC picket 30 April 2022 3

On 30 April in London, protesters targeted the branch of HSBC on Oxford Street demanding that the British bank remove socialist Cuba from its sanctions policy. The protest was called by Rock around the Blockade (RATB), the Revolutionary Communist Group/Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and supported by organisations including Cubanos En UK. This action was part of a campaign of protests by RATB coordinated across Britain on 30 April - more reports will follow.