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      Despite Covid-19 Cuba Solidarity Continues in Canada

      By Nuria Barbosa León

      “An example for the world,” is how the Canadian activist Tamara Hansen describes Cuba’s socialist process. Tamara is the coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, author of the book: “Five Decades of the Cuban Revolution: the Challenges of an Unwavering Leadership” (Battle of Ideas Press, 2010), and executive member of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC).

      Since 2004, she has been involved in solidarity work with Cuba which centers on campaigns to denounce the cruel blockade imposed by the United States; and organizing groups that travel to the largest island in the Greater Antilles, to learn first-hand the true Cuban reality. This includes the Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigades, the Calixto García Brigade and the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba.

      Another solidarity activity has been to collect monetary donations after natural disasters that have occurred in the Caribbean Island, or to finance social projects. Today, there is a CNC solidarity campaign to collect funds to contribute to the work carried out by the Henry Reeve Cuban medical brigades around the world fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

      “So far, we have raised over $31,000 CAD towards this project. This is very important as the economic situation for many working people in Canada today is challenging because of the pandemic. So, their generosity towards Cuba and the important work of Cuban medical professionals around the world is significant,” says Tamara who is also a teacher of English, social studies and French, at a secondary school in Vancouver.

      In addition, the organization’s Tamara works with maintain several virtual and printed publications, principally the Fire This Time newspaper, with the objective of refuting media campaigns that seek to slander the Cuban Revolution and to share about the advances of Cuba in the fields of human rights, the environment, science, agriculture, medicine, sports, culture, and other fields.

      As a consistent action, they carry out mobilizations on the 17th of each month in front of the U.S. Consulate to demand the lifting of interventionist U.S. policies against Cuba: “Groups in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, as well as Kiev, Ukraine also protest in front of their embassies and consulates. During this pandemic, street protests have not been possible, so we have begun to organize ourselves online. On May 17th the Canadian Network on Cuba organized a “virtual picket” with guests from Australia, the U.S., Ukraine, Britain, Cuba, and across Canada to demand an end to the genocidal U.S. blockade on Cuba. We had over 120 people participate and hundreds that have watched the video on Facebook since the event. It was very powerful to come together online and raise our voices against the blockade on Cuba. We are planning to organize another action for June 17th.”

      In March 2020, an International Conference on Normalization of US-Cuba Relations at Fordham University School of Law in New York City was planned. Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the conference was rescheduled for November 2020. Organizations and individuals involved in planning the conference include Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, the National Network on Cuba in the U.S., the Canadian Network on Cuba, and La Table de Concertation de Solidarité Quebec-Cuba and many others, through online exchanges as part of a new campaign called the SavingLives Campaign.

      In this campaign, they share the stories of altruism carried out by the doctors of the largest island in the Caribbean: “The U.S. imperialist government truly sees this work as a threat to their global hegemony, all the U.S. has to offer is military-might and endless war. While Cuba is demonstrating the powerful example of free healthcare, solidarity, and revolutionary internationalism.”

      Tamara Hansen concluded her remarks by stating: “My dedication to Cuba solidarity began over 15 years ago. While this work is always voluntary and never paid, I continue along with my amazing compañeras and compañeros in Vancouver, across Canada, and worldwide – because I believe that once humanity understands what the Cuban people and their revolutionary government stand for, they will see an important example we can all learn from and follow.”

      Reprinted from: www.granma.cu May 30, 2020

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