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      Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Kiev
      Demand Lift the Blockade on Cuba!

      By Janine Solanki

      For over 55 years, Cuba has been under a US-imposed trade and travel blockade. Despite the harsh economic strain this has put on Cuba, this small island has still thrived with its world renowned free healthcare and education, as well as excelled in other aspects of society such as the arts, sports and scientific research. One must ask, if the Cuban Revolution has been able to accomplish so much with its limited resources under the blockade, imagine what they could achieve without the blockade! Many of Cuba's achievements are not only for Cubans to benefit from. Cuba's medical research has produced a lung cancer vaccine, and Cuba's model of literacy education has been used world wide! However despite these gains, Cuba still suffers under the blockade. This is not only from being unable to trade with the US but due to the fact that even if many items from medicines to car parts to building supplies and a vast number of goods aren't made in the US, if they are US patented or linked with a US subsidiary, Cuba does not have access to these goods!

      Former US President Obama created a unique opportunity on December 17th, 2014, when he announced that the US would be normalizing relations with Cuba. Some positive first steps were made, such as the opening of embassies in Washington and Havana and the US easing restrictions on the travel of US citizens to Cuba. However, the US blockade on Cuba has remained in place, and now US President Trump is attempting to put a halt on and roll back the progress already made under the Obama administration.

      After Obama's 2014 announcement, Cuba solidarity activists in Vancouver came together to form Friends of Cuba Against the US Blockade – Vancouver (FCAB-Van). FCAB-Van has organized monthly picket actions in front of the US Consulate in Downtown Vancouver, demanding “Lift the Blockade on Cuba Now!” and “US Return Guantanamo to Cuba Now!”

      On August 17, 2017, Cuba solidarity activists picketed in front of the US consulate in Vancouver, holding picket signs high and chanting demands against the US blockade for the US Consulate office and all walking by to hear! Alongside local speakers, greetings were heard from activists at the coordinated picket in front of the US embassy in Ottawa, organized by Ottawa Cuba Connections. FCAB-Van coordinator Azza Rojbi also gave greetings via phone from Montreal, where she was visiting and participating in the picket action held by La Table de Concertation de Solidarité Quebec-Cuba. This month activists were encouraged to know they were also protesting in coordination with Cuba solidarity activists in Kiev, Ukraine!

      Come out to the next picket action against the US blockade on Cuba, September 17 at 4pm, in front of the US Consulate in Downtown Vancouver. For more info visit www.vancubavsblockade.org, find Friends of Cuba Against the US Blockade on Facebook or follow on Twitter @NoBloqueoVan

      Lift the Blockade on Cuba Now!

      U.S. Return Guantanamo to Cuba Now!

      Follow Janine Solanki on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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