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      End the blockade on Cuba!
      Cuban Doctors Save Lives Around the World

      By Janine Solanki

      For people looking towards and fighting for a better world, Cuba has long been a beacon of hope. In today’s uncertain times, while a global pandemic is being mishandled by the governments of the U.S., Canada, and other capitalist countries, Cuba again stands as an example and a leader. For many years Cuba has built a world-renowned healthcare system that puts people’s health and well-being over profits. As Covid-19 spread, Cuba quickly began sending medical brigades to countries in need. Months later, Cuba has over 3000 medical professionals in 27 countries around the world.

      As Cuba solidarity activists know well, when Cuba extends assistance beyond their borders it is not because they have an excess of resources – it is because Cuba operates on a principle of revolutionary internationalism and considers it their duty to help others in need. It is times like these where we can imagine how much more Cuba would be capable of without the U.S. blockade, which has intensified and targeted much needed shipments of medical supplies in recent months. With this in mind, in late March, the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) launched the Campaign to Support Cuba’s Contribution to the World’s Fight Against COVID-19. This has been both a fundraising campaign and a campaign to spread solidarity with Cuba and awareness of Cuba’s incredible contribution to the fight against Covid-19.

      On May 9, the CNC organized an online webinar titled “Shining the Light on Cuba’s Medical Solidarity.” The event was chaired by two executive members of the CNC, Tamara Hansen, coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, and Liz Hill, president of the Canadian Cuban Friendship Association – Toronto. The speakers included: her Excellency Josefina Vidal, the Cuban Ambassador to Canada; Niki Ashton, NDP member of Parliament for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, Manitoba; Dr. John Kirk, Cuban researcher, and Professor, Dalhousie University; Dr. Isaac Saney, co-chair of the CNC and Professor, Dalhousie University; and Dr. Keith Ellis, chair of the CNC fundraising campaign and Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto. This great event boosted the CNC fundraising campaign’s efforts, which has raised $55,000 as of September 1, 2020 to support Cuba’s global efforts to fight Covid-19.

      July 26 is celebrated as Cuba’s National Rebellion Day, and here in Canada, this day was also marked by a webinar organized by the CNC. An event was co-hosted by two CNC executive members, Tamara Hansen and Julio Fonseca, who was also representing the Association of Cuban Residents of Canada. Speakers included her Excellency Ambassador Josefina Vidal; Luis Morlote, Cuban Parliamentarian and President of the Cuban Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC); Mimut Ra Re Nuhu, co-chair for the National Network on Cuba (NNOC) in the U.S.; and Colette Lavergne, spokesperson of la Table de concertation et de solidarité Québec – Cuba. The event also featured cultural performances by Augusto Enriquez, worldrenowned Cuban singer and composer; El Jones, who shared her powerful poetry; Kelly White, a Coast Salish Elder, activist, and organizer; and Sangre Morena, a dynamic musical duo.

      For upcoming events and actions by the CNC and other Cuba solidarity groups in Canada please visit www.canadiannetworkoncuba.ca or www.vancubasolidarity.com or follow on Facebook @CanadianNetworkOnCuba or Twitter & Instagram @cdnntwrkoncuba

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