Cuba Crisis Rally, Saturday, July 24

Also, Thursday, July 22, 7:00 ET, live, interactive conversation about urgent solidarity work with Cuba and Haiti cosponsored by July26.org

What’s Really Going on in Cuba
1:00, Boston Common, Park St. MBTA Station

MAPAprotestFoto
From MAPA Emergency Response page, activists hold
signs in Northampton at protest, on June 23, 2021

A rally in support of Cuba’s sovereignty amidst recent demonstrations there and U.S. responses will take place Saturday, July 24 at the Park St. MBTA station at 1:00, in solidarity with the anti-embargo/blockade caravans taking place across the country on Sunday, and Monday July 26’s anniversary of the origin of the Cuban Revolution. July 24th is also a National and International Call from Brazil to be on the streets again demanding Out Bolsonaro. The open mic program is also in solidarity with Haitian self-determination in the face of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. The International Action Center, Massachusetts Peace Action and the Boston May Day Coalition are among the co-sponsors (full list here); other co-sponsors are welcome.

The Boston-Cuba July26.org Solidarity Coalition has signed on to the Massachusetts Peace Action Coalition Emergency Response to the Crisis in Cuba. This, the statement and basic analysis by Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba, and other recent statements amplify the analyses and commentaries in our May 31 post preceding the overwhelming condemnation of the Embargo/Blockade by the UN General Assembly last month. These recent essays include the following, Marilyn Frankenstein, Eli “Marty” Schotz, Judy Robbins, Arnold August, Walter Lippmann contributors:

Together they promote “A Vaccine Against the Virus of War Propaganda.”

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Criticism of Biden’s Trump Policy on Cuba Grows

See “An Embargo on the Minds on the American People” by Eli Schotz

July26.org action set for Juneteenth / Saturday, June 19, 1:00pm at the Park St. MBTA station
— Photos here.

0619Demo+graphic

As June 23 UN Vote Nears, Voices/Actions Intensify

Increased disapprovals of Biden’s failure to follow-up his campaign condemnation of Trump’s oppressive Cuba sanctions and promise of a reversal are being voiced across the political spectrum. Left solidarity groups are mobilizing against the blockade with a focus on the annual overwhelming denunciation of the U.S. Embargo by the United Nations General Assembly. July 26.org is a part of these efforts.

EngageCuba.org, a broad-based, mainstream group, announced “56 groups urge the Biden-Harris administration to take immediate action to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations” back in February, as did the diversely-supported Latin America Working Group in its own press release. The libertarian Future of Freedom Foundation issued a call to “Lift the Embargo on Cuba” in March. At the end of this month, the Miami Herald published a story about how “Republican Sen. Jerry Moran hopes to lift embargo on Cuba to boost Kansas farmers”; William LeoGrande, Dean of the American University of Public Affairs, wrote asking “Will Joe Biden Continue America’s Delusional Cuba Policy?” for The National Interest, whose Center’s honorary chairman is Henry Kissinger, and another about “Hunger as a Weapon: How Biden’s Inaction Is Aggravating Cuba’s Food Crisis” for the progressive-oriented Common Dreams. Just days ago a recorded webinar on “Right to Live Without a Blockade: Impact of US sanctions on the Cuban population & women’s lives” discussed the findings of a recently released Oxfam report of the same name.

Radical, Soldarity journalistic outlets and activist groups are growing more emphatic. Witness the May 29th Resumen editorial on “Cuba: The Murderous Blockade” — the round-up of text and photos of May 30 Caravans against the Embargo from more than 70 countries, including 19 cities in the U.S.*  A good summary of it all is the basis for Medea Benjamin’s call to “Make Normalizing Relations with Cuba a Priority.” Branko Marcetic on “The US Blockade on Cuba Must End” is also a good historical analysis that explains why “blockade” rather than “embargo” is an appropriate characterization of US policy.

With leadership from US-CubaNormalization.org including the Saving Lives Campaign and the National Network on Cuba, some of the key activities taking place during the Week of Action leading up to the June 23 UN General Assembly vote include:

  • Thursday, June 17, 9am EST – Solidarity vs. Blockade, hosted by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), streaming at this link. More info here.
  • Sunday, June 20 – More Car Caravans across the country
  • Tu-Wed, June 22-23 – 24 hour virtual picket against the Blockade, featuring speakers, cultural performances and more. Register here.
  • Wed, June 23 – street protests – New York and elsewhere; 8:00 pm ET, Celebrate the Overwhelming Vote Against The Blockade!

July26.org has signed onto the initiative shared with us by the NNOC co-chairs from the Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect (ACERE) for an organizational sign on letter addressed to the Biden administration and the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

ACERE told its members, allies and supporters, “This vote is a nearly unanimous expression of solidarity with the Cuban people against the outdated and punishing policies of the United States, which have proven to lead to international condemnation of the U.S., not Cuba. We are sending President Biden a letter asking him to abstain in the vote, as his predecessor President Obama did, and to use the occasion to announce his administration’s plans in moving towards normalization with Cuba.”

The deadline for signing was Friday, May 28. The letter can be found here and includes 114 national and local sign-ons. A practically identical letter for individuals to sign onto, hosted at CODEPINK, is still open and can be found here.  Please join us.

Our major event during the week of action will be Saturday, June 19th/Juneteenth, 1:00-2:00, at the Park Street MBTA station at the corner of the Boston Commons (a Facebook event to share here). As this is Juneteenth, we’re hoping to build on the lessons from the two webinars on “Why There Are No George Floyds in Cuba” — the US-CubaNormalization Program in July 2020 and the more recent IFCO/Pastors for Peace Program this past April, both with August Nimtz, co-chair Minnesota Cuba Committee, professor of Political Science, African American and African Studies, University of Minnesota, and author of the essay by the same name. More information to follow.

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* Albany, NY; Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Bloomington, IN; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; New Haven, CT; New York City, NY; San Antonio, TX; San Diego,CA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Tampa, FL; Washington, DC.

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Cuba film “Agosto” Culminates Belmont Film Festival

“Belmont World Film’s 19th Annual International Film Series: Family Ties” concludes with a six-day showing of “Agosto” that includes an online discussion on Monday, May 10, at 7:30 pm. Continue reading

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A Series of Weekly Conversations

Perspectives from Havana
in a Year of Covid and Embargo

Like the rest of the world, Havana and Cuba have just completed the first full year of Covid 19. It has done so with the full force of the U.S. embargo on its neck, including additional measures enacted by the Trump administration and so far not modified or removed by the Biden administration. What has Havana been like the past year? What is it like now? What have been the major challenges and achievements?

Please join us to explore these and other questions with leading voices from Cuba.
Register: https://bit.ly/perspectives-havana
All events on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm
• April 13: From the Perspective of an Economist – Estéban Morales
• April 20 From the Perspective of Science & Healthcare – Luis Montero Cabrera
• April 27: From the Perspective of a Sociologist and Feminist – Marta Nuñez
• May 04: From the Perspective of a Poet and Writer – Nancy Morejón
• May 11: From the Perspective from a Young Person – TBA (Tentative date)

Each week will start with a short presentation, followed by plenty of time for questions and dialogue. The discussion will be moderated by Cole Harrison (Massachusetts Peace Action), Sandra Levinson (Center for Cuban Studies), and Gloria Caballero (Latin American Solidarity Coalition of W. Mass)

Register to attend (only one registration is needed for the series). At the close of each session you will be given information and options for action to lift the Sanctions and end the Embargo, as well as ways in which you can get involved with the organizations sponsoring and co-sponsoring the series, or hold events and forums in your own community, institution or organization.
Introductions: Merri Ansara and Estéban Morales in Havana

Main Sponsors:
* Massachusetts Peace Action
* Center for Cuban Studies
* Latin American Solidarity Coalition of Western Massachusetts
* July26.org co-sponsor
Other organizations are invited to co-sponsor the event and provide information on follow up actions and activities for attendees.

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2/2021: Reaffirmations and Complexities

Guantánamo and the Literacy Campaign of 1961
WOLA and In These Times Matters

In the face of the rush of webinars, petitions, news stories and commentaries greeting the Biden Administration’s reclamation of the Obama-Castro US-Cuba normalization efforts, we are struck by two clear reaffirmations and two complexities.

Reaffirmations

Guantanamo Prisoners / Literacy Brigadistas:  (left) Scene to promote the Rally to Close Guantánamo and Return It to Cuba, February 2018. July26.org also sponsored programs on Guantánamo in July 2016, March 2017, and May 2017. Above right, a crowd of Literacy Brigadistas as seen in the documentary “Maestra,” shown in February 2018 as part of a program with Griselda Aguilera Cabrera, who was a seven-year-old teacher in the campaign and featured in the film, one of several July26.org Literacy Campaign offerings.

GUANTÁNAMO — Returning Guantánamo to its rightful home, ending the closest and most obvious example of U.S. imperialism, and closing the U.S. prison/torture center are two clear-cut steps that we have sponsored programs on previously, that have broad-based popular support, and that can exemplify the new president’s desire for unity and to be president of us all. Last month ended with a letter published in the New York Review of Books by seven former detainees who have written books about their experience. February 12 saw the release of The Mauritanian, a film based on the 2015 memoir, Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Salahi, one of the NYRB letter’s authors, about his experience being held for fourteen years without charge. (The film stars Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, and Benedict Cumberbatch and has received two nominations at the 78th Golden Globe Awards.) During the week in between, more than 100 NGOs Called on Biden to Close Guantánamo. The recent stories of plans to close the prison have given rise to other supportive and reinforcing efforts; Veterans for Peace has set a national program “Close Guantanamo Now! A Call to Action” for 3:00 EST on Sunday, February 21.

THE CUBAN LITERACY CAMPAIGN OF 1961 — A recent posting on the US-CubaNormalization.org’s Organizers Forum provided a link to an interview, just published, with a participant in the Literacy campaign, Rosa Hernández Acosta, who was 10 years old at the time.  Another resource for this year, the 60th anniversary of the campaign, previously remembered and celebrated by the Boston-Cuba Solidarity Coalition in the film showing last September of Cuba’s iconic singer/songwriter and international recording artist, Silvio Rodriguez, who was a brigadista in the campaign at the age of 14; the February 2018 program with Griselda Aguilera Cabrera, who was a seven-year-old teacher in the campaign, one of nine women featured in “Maestra,” the award-winning documentary; and a May 2016 program featuring the Luisa Campos, Director of the Literacy Campaign Museum in Havana and of the “Si, yo puedo” Global Literacy Campaign.

Complexities Continue reading

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Saving Lives, February 7, 2021

U.S., Canada, and Cuban Medical Collaboration
to Treat and Prevent Covid-19
Sunday, February 7th, 3:00 EST

  • Excerpts from Helen Yaffe’s documentary “Cuba & Covid-19: Public Health, Science and Solidarity” (full video here); speakers; regional breakout groups.
  • Sponsors include the U.S.-Canada-Cuba Saving Lives Campaign, cosponsored by July26.org. For additional information and registration for the Zoom program, see the full announcement.
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Cuba Poster Exhibit, January 2021

An international Cuban political poster exhibit
from the collection of Stephen Lewis
at the Walpole Public Library
143 School St, Walpole MA

January 2 through January 30, 2021
Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Friday 10: a.m.-5:00 p.m. & Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Fully accessible. For library information call 508/660-7341
A sample of the approximately 40 posters here.

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Nalda Vigezzi Honored at National Network Winter Meeting

Nalda Vigezzi, July26.org member, organizer and spokesperson and the longest-serving co-chair of the National Network on Cuba (nnoc.info) in its history, from 2001 until two weeks ago, was given special recognition for her service and leadership at the end of this month’s two-day online gathering. As one of five co-chairs overseeing the on-going tasks and agenda of the national organization, Nalda’s leadership can be seen at nnoc.org, an early site covering 2004 to 2010, where you will find her listed as one of the then-four co-chairs introducing NNOC’s definition, principles and goals, and more.

This year’s closing session included a tribute to Nalda with a collection of photos of key occasions by colleague and comrade Bill Hackwell and the note “…it is hard to think of the NNOC without you in the organizing of it. All those great statements you wrote and so much more.” Nalda intends to continue working in solidarity with the demands for Cuban sovereignty while welcoming new organizations and leadership to the NNOC.

Photos from the tribute collection and the 2019 NNOC reception.
Click to enlarge.
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2020 Normalization Action Climax

November 13-15 Weekend of Action Against the US Blockade

The videos of the concert and all three sessions are available here.

The international concert and three session weekend is the culminating follow-up to the March 21-22 postponement of the International Conference on Normalizing US-Cuba Relations and the organizers’ series of webinars offered throughout the Pandemic:

For more program information and registration,
here or at US-CubaNormalization.org !

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Cambridge Seeks Cuba Medical Collaboration

Cambridge Passes Resolution Supporting US-Cuba Medical Collaboration and Ending the Blockade

On Monday October 5, 2020 the Cambridge City Council unanimously approved a Policy Order on Medical and Scientific Collaboration with Cuba that includes the call for “suspending relevant US economic and travel sanctions against Cuba.” Highlighted by leadership from long-time Cuba activist and educator Merri Ansara and Council member Dennis Carlone, the policy order focuses on the Saving Lives aspects of the collaboration.

The resolution emphasizes Cuba’s medical achievements and the need for co-operation and solidarity in combatting the world-wide pandemic; Cuban-produced drugs (Biomodulina T, Heberon Interferon Alfa 2B human recombinant, Itolizumab, and Jusvinza/CIGB 258) unavailability in the U.S. due to ongoing and increased restrictions against collaboration with and imports from Cuba; and the City’s history of medical collaboration with the island. As noted in Lee Schlenker’s article in Telesur, “Cambridge, Massachusetts Seeks Medical Cooperation with Cuba,” the City and its institutions, including Harvard, MIT and Cambridge Hospital, have a long history of direct medical and scientific exchanges of professors and students, as well as direct collaboration with Cuba, as the policy order points out. Letters from scientists such as MIT biomedical researcher Professor Jonathan King were a key part of the campaign.

With a sister city relationship in Cuba with Cienfuegos, following a January 2000 delegation led by Cambridge State Representative and Cuban-American Jarrett Barrios, the City joins the growing list of municipalities in the national campaign to pass local resolutions expressing grassroots support for US-Cuba normalization and calling for an end to the travel and trade embargo and other blockade sanctions, an effort that this year has emphasized medical collaboration in light of Cuba’s achievements in combatting the Pandemic.

According to Cambridge resident, campaign and July26.org member Marilyn Frankenstein, future plans for Cambridge include: getting more press and social media coverage; starting to put in place plans for medical collaborations between Cambridge and Cuban medical researchers; exploring other opportunities to educate about Cuba with a long range goal of organizing support for ending the blockade.

This is part of the “Honoring Cuba’s Achievements: Ending the Blockade and Saving Lives Together Campaign” that was kicked of at this year’s July 26th Celebration.  We are hoping to reach out to other cities and towns around the state.   If you’d like to help out, contact us at admin@july26.org.

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