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      From Canada & U.S. to Venezuela, Peru & Puerto Rico, to Italy & Ukraine, to Korea & Australia, activists say:

      By Janine Solanki

      Cuba solidarity activists have learned from Cuba to make the best of every situation and find opportunities in the face of difficulty – with this in mind, and the real need to combat the blockade, the picket actions against the U.S. blockade of Cuba have now moved online and are bigger and broader than ever! They have now been unified under the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC), a network of Cuba solidarity organizations across Canada, including VCSC and FCAB-Van, and have brought together people across Canada, the U.S., Cuba as well as Ukraine and other countries!

      May 13

      On May 13, Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba organizer and Fire This Time editorial board member Alison Bodine spoke at a Cuba solidarity webinar held by the Gateway Green Alliance and St. Louis Green Party in Missouri.

      May 17

      The CNC held its first virtual picket action against the U.S. blockade of Cuba on May 17. The picket was chaired by two executive committee members of the CNC, Tamara Hansen, coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, and Julio Fonseca, President of the Juan Gualberto Gomez Association of Cuban Residents in Toronto. The program included many international speakers, including Vinnie Molina, president of the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society, Western Australian Branch; Gail Walker, director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace; Rob Miller, director of Cuba Solidarity Campaign – Britain; and Manuel Lopez from the Ukrainian Committee “Stop the Blockade of Cuba.” The program also featured greetings from CNC member groups and la Table de concertation et de solidarité Québec – Cuba. The last part of the program was the “virtual picket,” where all were invited to share their video, many holding their homemade signs demanding an end to the blockade!

      June 17

      The next virtual picket action on June 17 was chaired by Maricarmen Guevara from Ottawa, Cuba Connections, and Azza Rojbi, coordinator of Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade. The program featured speakers from Venezuela, Jamaica, Ukraine, the U.S., and across Canada! This included: Yhonny Garcia, leader of Venezuela's National Movement of Friendship and Mutual Solidarity Venezuela-Cuba; Trevor Brown, president of the Jamaica Cuba Friendship Association and the Jamaica Peace Council; Cikiah Thomas, co-chair of the Global Afrikan Congress; Colette Lavergne from la Table de concertation et de solidarité Québec – Cuba; Cheryl Labash, co-chair of the National Network on Cuba in the U.S.; and Viasheslav Karpenko from The Ukrainian Committee "Stop the blockade of Cuba".

      June 30

      On June 30, Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba and Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade – Vancouver held an online webinar titled, “Despite U.S. Blockade Cuba's Internationalism Leading the Way.” The event started with Azza Rojbi, coordinator of Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade – Vancouver, who welcomed everyone to the event. The first speaker, Tania López Larroque, the Consul General of the Cuban Consulate in Toronto, spoke on Cuba's fight against Covid-19 and Cuba's concept of internationalism in action today. The next speaker was Arnold August, who is the author of many articles and books, mostly focused on democracy in Cuba and U.S.-Cuba relations. The final speaker was Tamara Hansen, coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, executive member of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC), and author of the book "5 Decades of the Cuban Revolution: The Challenges of an Unwavering Leadership" (Battle of Ideas Press, 2010). Tamara's talk can read in this issue of Fire This Time on page 23.

      July 17

      On July 17th, the monthly virtual picket again brought people across Canada, the U.S., and the world together against the U.S. blockade on Cuba. This event was chaired by CNC executive members Tamara Hansen and Bronwyn Cragg. Speakers at the webinar represented the global participation, including Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK; Luis Fidel Escalante from the Committee in Solidarity with Cuba - Puerto Rico; Marco Papacci, Vice President of the Italy-Cuba Association, Jaehn Choi from Imagination for International Solidarity in Seoul, South Korea and other speakers joining from the U.S., Canada and as far as Australia! After greetings were shared from Cuba solidarity groups, the “virtual picket” took place with participants sharing their video and homemade signs against the criminal U.S. blockade on Cuba.

      Join Us!

      This pandemic has shown us that the world needs Cuba's example more than ever. Cuba also needs the solidarity of activists and supporters around the world against the criminal U.S. blockade. Stay tuned for upcoming events and actions online at www.vancubasolidarity.com or http://vancubavsblockade.org, and find VCSC on Facebook @VanCubaSolidarity or Twitter and Instagram @VanCuba_VCSC, and FCAB-Van on Facebook and Twitter at @NoBloqueoVan

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