Ken Gill ‘son of Cuba’
CSC pays tribute to Ken Gill, honorary president and former chair of the campaign who died on Friday 23 May 2009
Ken Gill was an inspiration to all of us in the Cuba Solidarity Campaign in the struggle against the US blockade and to defend the sovereignty of Cuba.
Ken always said: “it is an honour to be involved in CSC because solidarity is the noblest of causes, and to give solidarity to the Cuban people is the greatest honour.”
The best testament we can give to Ken’s life is to continue that struggle.
‘Hasta la victoria siempre’
From all in the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and Executive Committee
The Campaign suffered its greatest loss in May 2009 with the death of Ken Gill who had been chair of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and a member of its National Executive between 1993- 2008.
In recognition of the central role Ken had played in building the movement he was made on his retirement from the office in 2008 the first Honorary President for his services to Cuba and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign. In his reply to the special presentation, Ken said that the early days of solidarity work had been hard but he was proud to be a member of CSC, which he described as a ‘star in the firmament of progressive movements’ and perhaps a model for other solidarity bodies.
In one of the many tributes that were paid to him by various representatives from Cuban organisations he was described as a “son of Cuba”, reflecting the esteem in which he had been held there. He had also been awarded the prestigious Medal of Friendship by the Cuban Council of State.
Ken Gill will be missed greatly by CSC and the wider trade union movement. A special memorial event will take place in September to remember Ken and his huge contribution to numerous trade union and international struggles he had made over the years in his role of General Secretary of MSF, President of the TUC and following his retirement, chair of CSC.
Below are just a few excerpts from the many messages received from Cuba.
Ricardo Alarcon, President of the National Assembly
With much sorrow we have learned about the loss of a great friend of Cuba, Ken Gill. Through these brief lines I want to send you and your family my condolences in this moment of pain for someone who was an enormous friend of our people, loyal and consequent with that feeling in every moment. We will always have present in our minds his tireless labour as a Chair of Cuba Solidarity Campaign, and his actions in defence of our small island and our five Cuban brothers imprisoned in the United States. Always our gratitude and love for him and for you, your family, and a strong supportive embrace.
Raymundo Navarro Fernández, CTC (Cuban Trade Union Movement)
Our friend Ken Gill was a sort of person who lived to give the best of himself for the peoples’ welfare. His life was completely dedicated to support the fair causes. That is why his best legacy is precisely his example for the future generations. On behalf of the Cuban trade union movement, I would like to extend our sympathy to his family and friends in this moment of sorrow.
Adriana Pérez and Olga Salanueva, wives of Gerardo and Rene (two of the Miami 5)
We lament the loss of an unconditional friend of Cuba, who always defended the cause of the Cuban Five. His support and love for Cuba has been rewarded today with the joining of lots of friends to the cause of our country.
H.E. Rene Mujicar Cantilar, Cuban Ambassador to UK
He was a true friend and revolutionary; his charisma, political wisdom and commitment to just causes won him many friends all over the world. Ken had the capacity of transmitting confidence and hope. He will always be remembered in Cuba for his active, permanent and unconditional solidarity with our people and our Revolution and for the effective role he played as Chairperson of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary
Ken Gill was a big figure in the trade union movement, during turbulent times. Always a champion of the left he fought his corner with a steely integrity. He was a great internationalist and anti-racism campaigner.
Zelmys Dominguez Cortina, former Political Counsellor, Cuban Embassy, London
Ken was a fighter for the rights of the workers, for the justice in the world, communist, trade union leader, son of Cuba.
He believed in mankind, he believed in friendship, he believed in solidarity, he believed in love. And with love we will always remember him, strong and smiling, walking to the light, showing us the way to be better human beings. Cuba was another homeland for him. And all the Cubans, that have the privilege of meeting him during his life, will always have him in our hearts, as a father, as part of the big family of the heroic Cuban people.
Kenia Serrano Puig, President ICAP (Cuban Friendship Institute)
Ken always embraced just causes among which Cuba was given a special place...For his outstanding merits he was given the ‘Friendship Medal’ granted by the Council of State of Cuba.
Rob Miller, Director, Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Ken was a wonderful comrade, a true friend, and an inspiration to all who worked with him. Ken was central in building the Campaign, particularly in respect of the integration of the Trade Unions into the work of the Campaign.
He will be sorely missed by us all but his legacy must be our stronger commitment to campaign against the blockade and for the freedom of the Miami Five.
The Cuba Solidarity Campaign would like to thank all those who gave donations to CSC in memory of Ken.
To read full obituaries of Ken Gill go to
A great new book ‘Hung, Drawn and Quartered: The Caricatures of Ken Gill’ is now available from the CSC office priced £12 plus £1p&p on 020 8800 0155 or www.cubaconnect.co.uk