On April 17, 2018, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. will enforce Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, the act which codifies into law much of the inhumane U.S. blockade against Cuba. Title III, which has been suspended since its creation in 1996, threatens Cuba’s economy by punishing foreign entities who do business with Cuba. Specifically, it allows U.S. citizens to file lawsuits against companies that operate in Cuba on formerly U.S. properties which were nationalized after the Cuban Revolution. This is despite the fact that the nationalization process was recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States and in done compliance with national and international law, and in fact, invoking Title III violates international law!
This latest action of the Trump administration is along with other measures to tighten the U.S. blockade, in their attempts to strangle Cuba into submission to the U.S. However Cubans, have survived, progressed and advanced almost six decades of the U.S. blockade with their heads held high and will continue to assert their right to self-determination and sovereignty. Despite the U.S. blockade, Cuba has advanced in many fields of human endeavour, from its exceptional healthcare and education system to its world-class artists, nurtured by the Cuban revolution.
In Vancouver, Canada, Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade has been holding monthly protest actions demanding an end to the U.S. blockade and demanding that the U.S. return the illegally occupied territory of Guantanamo back to Cuba. On April 17 this monthly action was even more energetic and determined than usual, coming on the heels of Pompeo’s announcement regarding Title III. Activists and supporters picketed in front of the U.S. Consulate, raising protest signs high and chanting loudly for U.S. officials to hear the demands of “lift the blockade on Cuba now!” In between rounds of picketing, protesters gathered to hear from speakers including a voice message of solidarity from Ottawa Cuba Connections and their protest in front of the U.S. embassy in Ottawa. Alongside Vancouver, coordinated monthly actions are held in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, and Kiev, Ukraine, making these actions stronger with united voices against this unjust blockade!
The action wrapped up with a customary group photo in front of the doors of the U.S. Consulate, picket signs held up in defiance under the U.S. Consulate building sign. This photo was shared on social media around the world, promoting the solidarity that Vancouverites and people around the world have with Cuba and against the blockade!
For information on upcoming actions visit www.vancubavsblockade.org or follow on Facebook or on Twitter @NoBloqueoVan
Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki
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