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      Solidarity with Cuba on the streets, online and across borders!

      By Janine Solanki

      For 61 years, the Cuban people have endured a vicious blockade by the United States, intended to bring down the Cuban Revolution and to bring Cuba back under the domination of U.S. imperialism. The U.S. government didn’t anticipate that the Cuban people are prepared to defend their revolution and advance it, despite the enormous challenges imposed by the blockade. One of Cuba’s many achievements is developing one of the best healthcare systems in the world that has resulted in the Cuban people having one of the highest life expectancies in the world!

      Former U.S. President Trump took a “maximum pressure” stance on Cuba and imposed 243 new sanctions on Cuba, making the blockade the most restrictive it has ever been. In a move that Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez characterized as “lethal”, just nine days before leaving office and in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump placed Cuba on the U.S. State Department’s List of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Two years into his presidency, U.S. President Biden has failed to reverse this illegitimate and immoral designation. Being on this list means that many banks and financial institutions won’t process Cuban transactions, which makes international trade even more difficult and expensive, and denies Cuba access to vital food, medicine and other countless other essentials.

      Car Caravans demand Lift the U.S. Blockade of Cuba!

      Around the world, Cuba solidarity activists are campaigning in defense of Cuba for an end to the U.S. blockade. While Trump took advantage of the already difficult situation of the pandemic to tighten the blockade on Cuba, solidarity activists found new ways to continue protesting the blockade. During the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cuban American Carlos Lazo and his group Puentes de Amor (Bridges of Love) began Car Caravans against the U.S. blockade on Cuba in Miami, U.S. The idea quickly spread throughout the U.S., Canada, Cuba and the world, and now on the last Sunday of every month, caravans worldwide join in unity to call for an immediate end to the U.S. blockade on Cuba.

      In Vancouver, Canada, Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade – Vancouver and other sponsoring organizations come together for the monthly Car Caravan. On January 29th, Vancouver Cuba solidarity activists joined the first Car Caravan of 2023, with 12 vehicles and 25 participants that drove through the streets of Vancouver. The caravan of cars was decorated with Cuban flags and banners denouncing the U.S. blockade on the people of Cuba and received many honks of support from other drivers and thumbs-ups from pedestrians!

      Twitter Storms take Cuba solidarity online!

      February 23 marked the International Day of Action Against Foreign Military Bases, and to mark this day, the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) called for a Twitter Storm and social media campaign, promoting the hashtags #ReturnGuantanamotoCubaNow and #DevuelvanGuantanamoYa! While today the U.S. has over 800 foreign military bases worldwide, their first and oldest foreign military base is in Guantánamo, Cuba, which has been occupied by the U.S. against the will of the Cuban people for 120 years. Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) and Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade – Vancouver took on the campaign with a virtual storm of posts demanding the U.S. return Guantánamo to Cuba now!

      On February 26, a snowstorm prevented Cuba solidarity activists from safely holding a planned Car Caravan in Vancouver, so Cuba supporters turned to social media platforms for another world-wide Twitter Storm in protest of the U.S. blockade on Cuba! This Twitter Storm was called by the Latin American and Caribbean Continental Network of Solidarity with Cuba, which was joined by Vancouver through posts, tweets and stories in support of Cuba.

      Another online platform to support Cuba is webinars, such as the January 28 webinar titled “To Dream with Open Eyes,” commemorating the 170th anniversary of the birth of José Martí, Cuban independence leader, poet, writer and visionary. The event was organized by the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) and member groups Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba and Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade – Vancouver joined to participate and share greetings from Vancouver to the network.

      Cuba solidarity in the belly of the beast

      For Vancouver activists in the Cuba solidarity movement, supporting U.S. initiatives against the U.S. blockade is vital, taking the fight to what José Martí called the “belly of the beast”. Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba and Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade – Vancouver have been active organizers in the International U.S.-Cuba Normalization Committee Coalition. The committee has held many online webinars and three conferences, and the next conference is coming up in New York City on March 11-12, 2023. See how you can join the conference online or in person at http://us-cubanormalizationconference.org

      Vancouver Cuba solidarity activists will be launching a new postcard campaign at the U.S.-Cuba Normalization Conference, addressed to U.S. President Biden and demanding that he remove Cuba from the U.S. State Department’s “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list.

      There is always an upcoming event in solidarity with Cuba to join in Vancouver! Find out about the next event at www.vancubasolidarity.com or follow Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba on Twitter @VanCubaSolidarity, on Instagram @vancuba_vcsc and on Facebook @vancubasolidarity

      Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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