Organisations and people in the United States who advocate for lifting the blockade on Cuba will hold an important event next March, aimed at joining forces to battle against this almost six decade-long policy.
Martha Andrés Román
The International Conference to Normalise Relations with Cuba and the United States, taking place on 21-22 March at the Fordham University School of Law in New York City, has a primary goal of achieving normal links between the two nations.
The organisers’ first demand is the end of all economic, commercial and financial sanctions which the aforementioned siege comprises, as well as revoking the legislation that underpins them, especially the Helms-Burton Law of 1996. The organisation of this event also demands the elimination of all travel restrictions to the Greater Antilles; the normalisation of diplomatic relations; the return of territory illegally occupied by the US Naval Base in Guantanamo, on the east side of the island; and the end of ‘regime change’ programmes.
“In this moment of new threats and attacks, we ask you to join the wide national and international forces defending the rights of Cuba to self-determination and unconditionally opposing economic, commercial and financial sanctions, and limitations on travel from the United States established by the blockade”, stated the appeal.
Cheryl LaBash, co-director of the National Network on Cuba (NNOC), told Prensa Latina that they expected more than 300 people to take part from all over the United States, as well as members of the support movement for the island from Canada.
She said that one of the aims of the conference is to achieve great unity in the fight against the blockade, and for participants to be able to return home with the necessary tools to achieve, for example, the approval of resolutions condemning the siege by local authorities, as has already happened in more than a dozen cities in the US.
The activist, one of the organisers of the initiative, added that, “We know that there is sufficient support around the country to tell Congress that we want ending the blockade to be a priority”, emphasised LaBash.
In agreement with her is Cuban Felix Sharpe Caballero, a member of NNOC and resident of the US state of Michigan, who stressed the importance of organising people who want better bilateral links.
“There is a lot of opposition to the blockade in the United States, but it hasn’t been organised in the way that it should be to become more effective”, he explained, highlighting the need for this conference.
Sharpe said that they anticipated having participants from California, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Washington, among other areas, at a time that he described as critical for the continuing imposition of sanctions against the West Indian nation.
“Since the start of the blockade (in the 1960s) I don’t think we have been through such a difficult period as we are seeing today in the United States for Cuba and the Cubans, as expressed by the actions of Donald Trump’s administration towards the island”.
“The conference, which will be in a law school, is creating this context that we need to begin the processes and paths, all of this is based on US laws, and it is important that the legal community, the people who understand and shape the rules in this country, are present”, Sharpe added.
According to the activist, they propose to leave on the last day of the meeting with a plan for projects that will guide the future work.
To reach this goal, six panels will be held during the conference, the first of which will announce the presence at the event of members of the movement supporting Cuba in Canada, which will be titled: Canada, Quebec and the United States; building cross-border solidarity.
The topics of the other panels will be: Cuba and medical solidarity; Cuba, the Caribbean and Latin America; Defend your right to travel to Cuba!; The impact of the blockade on the United States population; and national, municipal and state legislative initiatives.
Among the people organising and supporting the upcoming event, are members of the New York-New Jersey Cuba Sí Coalition; the NNOC; Friends of Cuba against the United States blockade in Vancouver, Canada; the United States Peace Council; Venceremos Brigade; Codepink; DC Metro Coalition in Solidarity with the Cuban Revolution; and actor and activist, Danny Glover, among many others. (PL)
(Translated by Donna Davison – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) – Photos: Pixabay