By Tee White
On Saturday 24 July, a rally was held in Barbados to condemn the US aggression and blockade against the governments and people of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The event which was organised by the Cuba Barbados Friendship Association, the Friends of Venezuela Solidarity Committee, the Clement Payne Movement, the Israel Lovell Foundation, 13 July 1980 Movement and the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration was held at the monument in Payne’s Bay which pays tribute to the 74 victims of the US organised terrorist attack on a Cubana airline in 1976.
Joining the many friends of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, there was also a contingent of the Cuban nurses who are currently working in Barbados in support of the country’s efforts to combat Covid 19.
The rally began with the ambassador of Cuba, Sergio Jorge Pastrana, and the chargé d’affaire of Venezuela, Alvaro Sanchez Cordero, laying a wreath at the monument in memory of the victims of the 1976 terrorist attack.
Delivering his address to the rally, Onkphra Wells, the Chairman of the Pan African Coalition of Organisations, made the point that Cuba represents a different future for humanity and that is why those who uphold the current unjust world order are hell bent on suffocating it. Lalu Hanaman, of the 13 July 1980 Movement, pointed out that Cuba has a long history of supporting those around the world who are fighting for their rights and, in particular, supporting countries in providing health care for their citizens. Federico Dean, of Bajan and Cuban ancestry, in an emotionally charged address denounced the US lies and destabilisation efforts against Cuba and declared that the defence of the Cuban homeland is the duty of all patriotic Cubans.
Since the date of the rally coincided with the date of birth of Simon Bolivar, who is revered throughout Latin America as the Liberator because of his central role in the struggle against Spanish colonialism and for Latin American unity, Indira Gonzalez Juarez, First Secretary in the embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, gave a presentation on this important historical figure. She outlined key events in his life and described the central role he played in these historic struggles. She closed by describing the part his ideas play in the current Venezuelan revolutionary process which bears his name.
David Denny, of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, highlighted Cuba’s longstanding support to the countries of the Caribbean, including the current fight against Covid 19. Denny hailed the longstanding CARICOM position that the US blockade of Cuba should be ended and, in this regard, praised the recent statement by the government of Barbados reiterating this call.
Chargé d’affaire of Venezuela, Alvaro Sanchez Cordero, noted that the US blockades against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are part of a wider strategy aimed at carrying out regime change. The other element of this destabilisation effort is the funding of various agents and organisations which are tasked with creating social unrest. He stated that so far the US has spent some $70 million in its efforts to destabilise Cuba and is funding some 54 groups in that country through organisations such as USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Next, the Cuban ambassador, Sergio Jorge Pastrana, addressed the rally. He drew parallels between the struggles of the working people of Barbados and Cuba and in particular the importance of 26 July which marked the start of the 1937 workers rebellion in Barbados and the 1953 assault on the Moncada barracks in Cuba. He noted that both actions were aimed at the emancipation of the exploited and the oppressed. HRecalling that with the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959, the first actions of the revolutionary government was to focus on education and health so as to lift up the masses of the Cuban people and not just focus on the well-being of the wealthy elite as was previously the case. He called on those with a vision of the liberation of the people to strengthen our unity and continue on this road together. He closed his speech with a quote from Jose Marti about Simon Bolivar pointing out that there is still much to be done in the Americas to complete this liberation project.
Ivana Cardinale then spoke to the rally. She focused attention on the destructive role that the CIA plays in the US government’s regime change activities, particularly their use of disinformation and propaganda to create confusion and sow discord.
The rally ended with those present assembling in front of the Payne’s Bay memorial and militantly declaring their unity and opposition to the US policy of aggression and blockades.