Women Trade Unionists premiere Cuban film

Campaign News | Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Unison delegates pack meeting

MORE than 50 people packed into a fringe meeting to learn about Cuba’s response to the Pakistan earthquake of 2005.

Delegates at the Unison Women’s Conference, at the Bournemouth International Centre, enjoyed a rum reception hosted by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and heard about the brutal impact the illegal US trade embargo has upon the country.

The meeting included a short film, called ‘On the Slopes of the Himalayas’, followed by speeches from Gloria Mills, National Secretary (Equalities), and Zelmys Dominguez Cortina, political counsellor at the Cuban embassy.

The documentary focused on the work of aid relief teams dispatched from Cuba to Pakistan to treat people affected by the massive earthquake that ripped through Kashmir, Asia, two-years-ago.

In many cases medics from the Caribbean island were the only ones to brave the treacherous winter conditions to set up camps in the most remote and inhospitable areas.

The emotional documentary gave a fascinating insight into why Cubans volunteered to go, and showed how thankful the Pakistani communities were to receive them.

Ms Mills said: “It’s vitally important to recognise that the work of Cuba’s health professionals doesn’t stop in Cuba.

Cubans are providing care across the Caribbean, Latin America and even further-a-field.

“People’s lives are being transformed by Cuban doctors, whether through free cataract operations in Grenada or through the free health care being provided in Venezuela - and their achievements are humbling.”

She added that Unison was proud to support the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and to oppose the “unjustified” US trade embargo.

Ms Dominguez Cortina said: “The images of Cuban doctors working abroad helping others are more powerful than a thousand words.

“When Cuban medics go abroad to help during a humanitarian crisis then there are less doctors in Cuba and the ones who remain all have to work harder.

“The collective effort and the idea of sharing what we have with others is a perfect example of the true spirit of the Cuban revolution.

“And it is a threat to the US because it shows that we are not a demonic communist country, but a country that cares.”

Carole Maleham, Unison Vice President , chaired the meeting and said: “Cuba puts richer countries to shame, if they can send 38 health teams to Pakistan after an earthquake then why can’t we?”

A total of 20 new members joined the Cuba Solidarity Campaign during the two-day conference.

On the Slopes of the Himalayas forms part of a package called Made in Cuba, which was put together by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and Unison.

Contact CSC for more information


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