Local Campaign Update 2021

A follow-up to Local Campaigns 2016-19 and Update 2020 — Update 2022 here

Seattle, Chicago and Cambridge Lead the Campaign into the New Year!

With 18 municipalities having passed resolutions in support of ending the blockade or calling for medical and scientific collaboration, six having done both, the new year began with a flurry of activity and new resolutions.

On January 19, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution on collaboration with Cuba to save lives in the fight against Covid 19 following up and reaffirming its August 2019 resolution calling for an immediate end to the blockade.

On February 24, 2021, the Chicago City Council passed a resolution calling on the federal government to end the decades-long U.S. embargo of Cuba. The vote was unanimous with all fifty Alderman voting to pass. (More here.) On May 30 the Illinois General Assembly passed a resolution denouncing the embargo and travel restrictions and urging President Biden to renew engagement with Cuba, making them the fourth state to take such action (along with the Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments).

On March 15, in Cambridge, MA, as a follow-up to its October unanimously-approved Policy Order on Medical and Scientific Collaboration with Cuba, a Policy Order was passed unanimously by the full City Council urging Congress “to promulgate and pass legislation that will finally end the unsuccessful and harmful 59-year old economic, financial and commercial embargo, as well as the travel restrictions” in both directions. Press release here.  Less than two weeks later, the Minneapolis City Council passed a similar medical collaboration resolution, following up its 2018 call for an end to the Embargo.

On June 8, following a rally in May and other organizing efforts, the Baltimore, MD City Council adopted a Request for Federal Action resolution to “End the Embargo Against Cuba,” to “immediately end all aspects of the United States’ economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba, including restrictions on travel,… remov[ing] Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism; and urging the return of the Guantanamo Bay property to the Republic of Cuba.”

Other governmental bodies and labor groups have continued to follow suit.  As reported in CubaNews, on March 16 the Milwaukee School Board unanimously adopted a resolution calling for “the Biden administration and all other relevant political, health and educational authorities to invite without delay to negotiations with their Cuban counterparts to explore mutually beneficial cooperation, as a step towards normalization of relations between our countries.”  On April 22, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors overwhelmingly adopted a resolution calling for the normalization of relations between the US and Cuba (story here). The previous week, on April 13, the Wayne County Michigan Commissioners, whose seat is Detroit, passed a resolution calling on the Biden Administration to reestablish relations with Cuba, building on the “breakthrough agreement in 2014 that would have benefited people in both nations.”

New year Cuba normalization resolution efforts actually began on January 4, with the San Francisco Labor Council resolution to support medical and scientific collaboration between the U.S. and Cuba. In one of the largest show of labor support, the 42,000-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) voted to support the U.N. resolution condemning the U.S. Embargo of Cuba at its International Convention held June 14-18. The union’s resolution also approved a $10,000 contribution to the #Syringes4Cuba Campaign to aid Cuba’s vaccination program. ILWU background here and more on the story here.

The year ended with Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto declaring Friday, December 31st, 2021 Matanzas, Cuba Support Day. A press release by the Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership and the City’s official proclamation are here.

Local updates since the campaign began linked at the top of this page provide resources and information about previous resolutions. A summary overview of local and other governmental as well as labor council resolutions is maintained by the Solidarity Committee on the Americas, a committee of Women Against Military Madness. Here are their July and end-of-the-year updates.