AGM Report - CSC celebrates year’s successes
One hundred and fifty delegates, including individual members and representatives of affiliated organisations from across the country gathered at the National Union of Teacher (NUT) headquarters, Hamilton House on 7 June for the CSC Annual General Meeting. (AGM)
NUT Executive Member, Alex Kenny welcomed delegates and explained that Cuba was one of the Union’s priorities. In doing so he recalled the sad death of Steve Sinnott, NUT General Secretary just 9 weeks previously and Steve’s commitment to Cuba.
Guest Cuban speaker Holmedo Perez Rubio, European Director of the Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP), addressed the AGM bringing greetings from ICAP and the people of Cuba. He said that CSC was amongst the finest examples of a solidarity campaign from over 2000 such organisations across the globe. He thanked CSC for all its work - for its moral, material and political support to Cuba.
Rob Miller, CSC Director, moved the Annual Report of work and spoke about the campaigning work over the last year as well as noting the increase in membership of over 200, and a 20% increase in affiliations.
Bernard Regan, Secretary, moved the Annual Plan and focussed on the forthcoming plans to celebrate Cuba50 - 50 years of the Cuban revolution - which the campaign would celebrate alongside the Cuban people - involving a wide range of cultural as well as political events.
Tony Benn spoke “as a rank and file member of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign” about the phenomenal work of the organisation in counteracting the anti-Cuban media reports. He paid tribute to Cuba for its steadfastness in demonstrating that an alternative and better world is possible.
New motions passed
As well as discussing the Annual Plan itself, motions were passed on Cuba 50, the European Common Position as well as an emergency motion on the Miami Five.
Thirty seven Executive Committee members were elected including representatives of 10 national Trade Unions, Unison, Unite, CWU, FBU, GMB, NUJ, UCATT, PCS, RMT and NUT.
Following the AGM, CSC hosted a special tribute to Sergio Corrieri Hernandez, screen actor and President of the Cuban Institute for the Friendship with the Peoples, who died in March 2008. There was also a film showing of ’Memories of underdevelopment’ in which Sergio played the starring role.
Ken Gill awarded honorary membership
The first ever Honorary Membership of CSC was presented this years AGM to Ken Gill for his “exemplary work in solidarity with the people of Cuba and his outstanding work on behalf of the Campaign.” Ken has retired from the Executive Committee after chairing the Campaign for 15 years (1993 - 2008).
H.E. Rene Mujicar Cantilar, Cuban Ambassador thanked Ken for his untiring work in solidarity with the Cuban people. He recalled that he had been awarded the Medal of Friendship by the Council of State at the behest of ICAP and said that it had been an honour and a personal privilege to know him and to work with him for the last 3 years. Commenting on Ken’s modesty, dedication and integrity he said that he teaches everyone he comes in contact with. He thanked him for all the work he had done in solidarity with the Cuban people.
Rob Miller, Director of the Campaign, described how Ken had been central in building the Campaign, particularly in respect of the integration of the Trade Unions into the work of the Campaign. He spoke of the respect in which Ken is held in the wider movement.
Rob read tributes from two former political counsellors of the Cuban Embassy in London. Zelmys Dominguez Cortina and Oscar de los Reyes. Zelmys said it was an honour to send a message and said that he was a “son of Cuba”. Oscar expressed his gratitude to Ken for his work and his admiration for him as well as his warm affection.
In reply to the special presentation, Ken Gill said the early days of solidarity work had been hard but he was proud to be a member of the Campaign, which he described as a star in the firmament of progressive movements and perhaps a model for other solidarity bodies.
He complimented the wonderful work of the staff, the Executive Committee and the members and affiliates. He said he was grateful to the Campaign and thanked people for the job that they had given him. Ken Gill received a standing ovation for his speech.