For 60 years, the U.S. blockade against Cuba has been a difficult fact of Cuban's daily lives. However, this year has been especially brutal. While globally 2020 has been synonymous with the pandemic, in Cuba 2020 has been characterized by both the pandemic and the tightening of the U.S. blockade to heightened new levels. Showing the utmost cruelty during the pandemic, the Trump administration introduced measures to prevent Cuba from accessing medical supplies, ventilators and fuel.
While Cuba is showing their medical solidarity to people around the world, people around the world are showing their solidarity with Cuba against the U.S. blockade. Before the pandemic, protests against the U.S. blockade on Cuba took place monthly in Vancouver, Canada, organized by Friends of Cuba Against the U.S. Blockade, alongside coordinated protests in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada and Kiev, Ukraine. While activism has shifted online during the Covid-19 pandemic, these actions have been organized in the virtual realm by the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) who has been hosting the virtual picket actions on the 17th of each month. On the 17th of August, September, October and November, these actions have represented Cuba solidarity activists around the world! Activists and organizers have joined in speaking against the blockade from Canada and the U.S., Cuba, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, St. Vincent, Jamaica, Colombia, Ukraine, Italy, Tunisia, Russia, Australia, Zambia, and the Philippines. These actions also include greetings from individual CNC member groups across Canada and Quebec and end with a customary “virtual picket” photo when all participants share their videos.
Alongside the monthly virtual pickets, the CNC has also been hosting webinars. On October 29, the CNC hosted a webinar titled “Canada-Cuba Relations in the Time of Trump and COVID-19”. This event was facilitated by two members of the CNC executive committee: Tamara Hansen, coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC), and Elizabeth Hill, President of the Canadian Cuban Friendship Association – Toronto. Among a panel of insightful speakers was: Her Excellency Josefina Vidal, the Cuban Ambassador to Canada; MP Niki Ashton, Member of Parliament for Churchill - Keewatinook Aski, Manitoba; and MP Matthew Green - Member of Parliament for Hamilton Centre, Ontario.
For more information about CNC events and actions, check www.CanadianNetworkonCuba.ca, www.vancubasolidarity.org, or follow on Facebook @CanadianNetworkOnCuba and Twitter and Instagram at @cdnntwrkoncuba
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