The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 80/No. 36      September 26, 2016

(feature article)

Month of action begins in Cuba against US embargo

Includes solidarity with Puerto Rico, Oscar López

“We Remember: Solidarity against the Blockade and Terrorism,” is the theme of a series of days of action involving workers and farmers across Cuba over the next two months. Initiated by the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), the events will highlight U.S. imperialism’s more than 50 years of aggression against the Cuban Revolution.

The events will lead up to the Oct. 27 U.N. General Assembly vote on a Cuban resolution to denounce the embargo.

Coinciding with “We Remember,” the Committees for Defense of the Revolution, the neighborhood organizations across Cuba, will conduct public hearings to denounce the negative impact of Washington’s embargo.

During his March visit to Cuba, President Barack Obama told the Cuban people, “It’s time, now, for us to leave the past behind.” But Cuban working people are not willing to forget the reasons they made the revolution in 1959 — overthrowing the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista — or the blood shed defending the gains of the revolution from Washington’s attempts to overturn it.

The days of action will emphasize “the campaign of lifting the genocidal U.S. economic blockade against Cuba; the return of the territory illegally occupied by the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo; and denouncing the offensive of imperialism and the oligarchies against revolutionary and progressive governments of Latin America and the Caribbean that threatens the peace and stability of all nations,” ICAP said in a Sept. 5 press release.

The events also overlap with an annual week of solidarity with the independence movement in Puerto Rico and commemorations of the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the government of Salvador Allende in Chile and installed the Pinochet dictatorship in 1973.

Workers at the Hotel Copacabana, along with members of the Italian community in Havana, kicked off “We Remember” with a tribute to Fabio Di Celmo Sept. 4. Di Celmo, a 32-year-old Italian tourist, was killed in 1997 by a bomb placed by Raúl Ernesto Cruz León, a mercenary from El Salvador, who was financed by counterrevolutionary Cuban-American groups in Florida.

Those groups were hoping to deepen the economic crisis in Cuba caused by the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which had accounted for 85 percent of Cuba’s trade, by scaring off tourists.

On Sept. 12, ICAP commemorated the anniversary of the arrest of five Cuban revolutionaries in Florida in 1998. They became known as the Cuban 5 over the 16-year-long international campaign to win their freedom. The Five had been gathering information on rightist groups there to prevent more attacks on Cuba, like the one that killed Di Celmo. They were framed and imprisoned on conspiracy charges by the U.S. government. The last three of the Five were freed and returned to Cuba when Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced plans to re-establish diplomatic relations in December 2014.

“What will ensure justice is solidarity,” said ICAP President Kenia Serrano at the opening of a photo exhibit on the Five and in solidarity with Cuba. Among the groups present was U.S. Pastors for Peace, which is currently facing attacks on their tax-exempt status by the IRS because of its solidarity with Cuba.

Solidarity with Puerto Rico

In Manzanillo, Cuba, students at the Blas Roca Calderío Teaching College held an assembly that took up the example of the Five, the fight against the U.S. embargo and the fight to free Oscar López Rivera, a Puerto Rican independence fighter imprisoned in the U.S. for more than 35 years. The meeting was covered by La Demajagua newspaper.

Along with deepening their knowledge on the effects of Washington’s “economic, commercial and financial blockade of our country,” Nohemí Rabaza Fernández, ICAP representative for Granma province, told students, “we want you to join the just cause for the independence of our sister Caribbean island and for freedom for López Rivera.”

During the discussion, Beatriz Castellano Gorgoso proposed that students form a committee in solidarity with López Rivera.

A Sept. 21 event will honor Chile’s former foreign minister, Orlando Letelier, who was assassinated in 1976 in Washington, D.C., by Pinochet’s agents. An Oct. 6 ceremony will recall the 73 people killed when CIA-backed terrorists blew up a Cubana Airlines flight from Barbados that year.

October 8 activities will mark the assassination of Che Guevara by U.S. forces in Bolivia in 1967. Guevara, an Argentine revolutionary, fought in the Cuban Revolution and became a central leader of the victorious revolutionary government.

“The blockade imposed by the United States persists,” Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez told a Sept. 9 Havana press conference, saying the damages last year amounted to $4.6 billion. Last year, for the 24th year in a row, the U.N. General Assembly called for an end to the embargo. Only the U.S. and Israeli governments voted against the resolution.
Related articles:
Momentum grows for Oct. 9 ‘Free Oscar López’ protest
Che: ‘Society must be converted into a gigantic school’
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home