For nearly 60 years, Cuba has been inventing ways to survive under a cruel and inhumane U.S. blockade. This blockade is intended to break the Cuban people and bring Cuba under U.S. domination, and for close to 60 years it has failed. When Cubans were unable to get replacement parts for their old American cars and machinery, they invented ways to mix, match and create parts to keep them running. Unable to import many medicines and medical supplies due to the blockade, Cuba has developed a world class health care system based on prevention and a holistic approach to patients, pioneered “green” medicine using their natural resources, and produced their own medicines including breakthroughs that the world can benefit from, such as a vaccine for lung cancer. When the U.S. blockade stopped Cuba’s access to fertilizers and pesticides, Cubans started a movement of urban and organic agriculture, with techniques that the world is learning from today.
If Trump thinks he will be the U.S. President to break the Cuban people by tightening the blockade, he has another thing coming. Yes, the blockade is severely detrimental to the Cuban people. The blockade has caused economic losses of $134.5 billion over six decades, and now Trump has sanctioned more than 100 Cuban companies and imposed stricter travel restrictions on U.S. citizens. But until the U.S. blockade is lifted, Cuba will keep inventing its way to survive the blockade and progress despite the challenges, with the support of those in solidarity with Cuba around the world.
The government of Canada has also shamefully taken hostile actions against Cuba. On May 8, 2019, Canada shut down the visa services section of their Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) offices in Havana. While Cuba opens its doors to more than a million Canadians every year, Canada is effectively shutting out visiting Cuban family members, artists, academics, students, athletes and others. Across Canada this action has been protested, including with an online petition at https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-canada-must-reopen-ircc-office-all-visa-services-to-cubans
In Vancouver, along with Ottawa and Montreal, Canada and Kiev, Ukraine, every month coordinated actions protest the U.S. blockade against Cuba. On August 17 in Vancouver, Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade came together in front of the U.S. Consulate in downtown Vancouver. Activists picketed and let their chants carry up to the offices of the U.S. Consulate, demanding “Lift the Blockade on Cuba Now!” and “Return Guantanamo to Cuba Now!” Bright yellow picket signs and a big banner caught the attention of cars and people going by, some of whom stopped to get more information. Between rounds of picketing, the protesters gathered to hear from speakers condemning the U.S. blockade, as well as a solidarity message via phone from fellow activists in Ottawa Cuba Connections who also had their monthly picket action at the U.S. Embassy. The action wrapped up with a customary photo of the activists holding picket signs, banners and the Cuban flag defiantly under the U.S. Consulate sign, to be shared on social media around the world!
As long at the U.S. imposes this criminal blockade, the Cuban people and supporters around the world will hold events and protest actions demanding the blockade be lifted. To join the next action in Vancouver visit www.vancubavsblockade.org or follow on Facebook and Twitter @NoBloqueoVan
Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki
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