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      Vancouver Demands: Hey Trump! Lift the US Blockade on Cuba!

      By Janine Solanki

      Over the last two months, the tone of protest against the cruel US blockade against Cuba has taken a turn. Former US President Obama’s December 17, 2014 historic announcement that the US would normalize relations with Cuba brought a period of protest against the US blockade to keep Obama accountable to his word and to seize the opportunity that Obama’s announcement opened. However, on June 16th 2017 in Miami, Florida, US President Trump announced that he would “cancel” Obama’s deal with Cuba, between his outright lies and rhetoric against Cuba. As of yet, the most major change that has been made is to further restrict travel by US citizens visiting Cuba, and to tighten restrictions on trade and investments in Cuba. One thing is for sure, the US government is now moving backwards, not forwards on their cruel policies against Cuba, and it more critical than ever to organize against the US blockade!

      Shortly after Obama’s 2014 announcement, Friends of Cuba Against the US Blockade – Vancouver (FCAB) formed to increase organizing and actions against the US blockade of Cuba. Every month activisand supporters in Vancouver have picketed in front of the US consulate to demand an end to the blockade, and have been joined by protests on the same day monthly in Ottawa, as well as recently Montreal making it three Canadian cities holding monthly protests against the US blockade on Cuba!

      The July 17th, 2017 FCAB picket action took place in front of the US consulate in Vancouver, and was opened with drumming and song from Eagle Eyes, an Indigenous elder and Sechelt hereditary chief. Protesters took part in energetic rounds of picketing in front of the US consulate, raising picket signs and voices to demand “Lift the Blockade on Cuba Now!” and “Return Guantanamo to Cuba!” Along with local speakers, the protesters heard from activists at the Ottawa picket action also taking place that day via a phone message. Eagle Eyes led the group in a song to close off the protest action, and Cuba solidarity activists took a final photo with picket signs, Cuban flags and banners held in defiance under the sign for the US Consulate.

      Activities against the US blockade has also taken place at popular Vancouver events such as the Commercial Drive Car Free Festival, on July 9th. The festival sees hundreds of thousands attend, and many people were attracted to the FCAB table for petition signing against the blockade by a big sign reading “Hey Trump! Lift the Blockade on Cuba!”

      Join in the next picket action, August 17th at 4pm, in front of the US Consulate (1075 W. Pender street) Downtown Vancouver. Or, find out about Cuba events and actions at www.vancubavsblockade.org, find FCAB on Facebook or on Twitter @NoBloqueoVan

      Lift the Blockade on Cuba Now!
      Return Guantanamo to Cuba

      Follow Janine Solanki on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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