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      A Hurricane Called Blockade: Cuba Solidarity Activists Demand End to US Blockade on Cuba!

      By Janine Solanki

      On September 8th, the extremely powerful and catastrophic Hurricane Irma made landfall in Cuba. The hurricane caused immense destruction throughout Cuba, as well as throughout other countries in the Caribbean and United States. Cuba, despite its own recovery efforts, immediately sent over 750 health care workers to assist in other Caribbean countries hit by the hurricane. Furthermore, even in mainstream media Cuba was recognized for their exemplary disaster and evacuation preparedness. However Cuba is still suffering the effects of this hurricane, which severely damaged tourist industry infrastructure, homes and agriculture. Rather than practice humanity towards their neighbor in a time of disaster, instead the US government is continuing the over 55 year old US blockade on Cuba, and US President Trump is looking to roll back even the limited gains towards normalized relations that were made under the Obama administration. As Cuba deals with the reconstruction of homes and infrastructure, the US blockade on Cuba makes this enormous task much more difficult, as it limits Cuba's ability to purchase reconstruction supplies.

      Every month, Friends of Cuba Against the US Blockade – Vancouver (FCAB-Van) organizes a picket action in front of the US consulate in downtown Vancouver. With picket signs raised high, activists demand an end to the US blockade on Cuba, and demand that the US return Guantanamo back to Cuba. These monthly pickets have expanded and now Ottawa, Montreal and even Kiev, Ukraine are organizing monthly actions.

      The September 17th action in Vancouver started out with a drumming and song from Eagle Eyes, an Indigenous elder and Sechelt hereditary chief. In between rounds of picketing, supporters heard from local speakers as well as heard a greeting via phone message from the picket action in Ottawa, from the organization Ottawa Cuba Connections. The picket action was also wrapped up with a closing song from Eagle Eyes.

      Friends of Cuba Against the US Blockade – Vancouver will continue monthly picketing at the US consulate until the blockade is lifted, and until the US returns Guantanamo Bay back to Cuba. Join the next picket on October 17th, 4pm at the US consulate (1075 West Pender at Thurlow) in Downtown Vancouver. You can also visit online at www.vancubavsblockade.org, follow on Facebook and on Twitter @NoBloqueoVan

      Lift the Blockade on Cuba Now!
      Return Guantanamo to Cuba Now!

      Follow Janine Solanki on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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