A growing network of individuals and organisations, including participants from the British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia, Barbados, Curacao and Trinidad and Tobago, have been strengthening formal and informal links between Cuba and her neighbours. Co-ordinating on-line the network is stepping up solidarity assistance for Cuba which, as throughout the region, is tackling the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic.
The island requires supplies of painkillers, vitamins, anti-biotic medicine, hypertension medication, intravenous [IV] fluids, syringes, N95 masks, Personal Protection Equipment [PPE] for health workers [including gloves, gowns].
As well as the effects of the country’s enforced Covid19 measures, Cuba is also confronting the United States’ six decade long blockade and destabilization schemes, intended to strangle the island’s independence and sovereignty, intensified recently with further hostile measures announced by the Joe Biden Administration.
Responding to this difficult situation and reciprocating the longstanding support that Cuba has offered to her closest neighbours in several social programmes – most recently medical assistance following the devastating Haitian earthquake – the Network aims to unite the region’s people in action to oppose and refute the USA’s blockade of Cuba.
This unity in action has been exemplified by several timely humanitarian support initiatives which demonstrate the sincerity of Caribbean wide gratitude and support for Cuba whilst also highlighting the demand for an end to the USAs belligerence towards the island. The organisers stress that offering such assistance in Cuba’s time of need mirrors a sentiment in the region that the long held goal of successive United States governments to isolate Cuba – rejected annually for several consecutive years at the United Nations – admittedly harmful, is both misplaced and malicious.
Augmenting diplomatic level support for Cuba from CARICOM and further afield recent Caribbean wide discussions and practical activity have begun to coalesce into an, at this stage, embryonic Caribbean-wide Network for Solidarity Cuba [CSNC] to co-ordinate efforts and galvanise further the already strong cultural and other ties between Cuba and her neighbours.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines July statement defending Cuba’s right to be in the face of the USA instigated disturbances on the island mirrors regional backing. In the same period Barbados’ Friends of Cuba Association led a rally and event to denounce the blockade and destabilization of the sister island. Soon after friends and supporters of Cuba based in Jamaica organized for the collection and delivery of medical supplies to Santiago de Cuba, a practical gesture replicated by counterparts in Trinidad and Tobago, and from where TTs Movement for Social Justice [MSJ] political leader David Abdulah presented a letter to the USA’s Port of Spain Embassy, endorsed by workers organisations and prominent citizens, including academics, artists, entertainers and cultural workers, calling for an end to the US perpetrated hostility. Grenada recently announced the formation of a cabinet level committee to oversee the Spice Island’s humanitarian aid drive for the sister nation, reportedly in the wake of grassroots actions already taken to donate much needed medical equipment to Cuba. Similarly friends of Cuba in the British Virgin Island launched a petition calling on the UKs Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to use that country’s influence with its American ally to urge the lifting of the various sanctions and blockade policy against Cuba.
Canada, Mexico, Russia, Thailand and China’s recent donations of medical equipment to support the island in her time of need are among global efforts supporting the country known for assisting neighbors near and far with her renowned medical expertise. These and other regional and global initiatives guarantee that the intention to isolate Cuba cannot succeed, that the island welcomes solidarity from neighbours and friends in the response to both the Covid 19 pandemic and to defend herself against the USA’s intensified blockade and destabilization policy.
Some immediate plans of the Network for Cuba are:
to assist Cuba to respond to current challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic and the intensified USA sanctions by publicising, supporting and consolidating initiatives to deliver medical supplies and practical support as quickly as possible.
to augment CARICOM’s diplomatic support with grassroots initiatives and campaigns led by regional solidarity organisations and supportive individuals to nurture longstanding opposition to the US instigated blockade of and sanctions against Cuba.