More than 100 people attend AGM

Campaign News | Friday, 15 June 2007

Ambassador praises work of CSC

MORE than 120 delegates attended the Cuba Solidarity Campaign’s AGM to hear reports on the past 12 months and debate plans for the future.

The period has been dominated by the illness of Fidel Castro and the questions raised by his incapacity. Much to George Bush’s chagrin, Cuba has not only managed to ride the storm created by its charismatic leader’s absence from office, but its economy has achieved the best growth rates in Latin America as its people continue to build on the revolution’s achievements.

Guests at the AGM included Rene Mujica Cantelar, the Cuban Ambassador, and Dr. Juan Carlos Dupuy Nunez, head of Cuba’s Henry Reeve Medical Brigade (which responds to humanitarian crises across the globe), and the meeting was held in Hamilton House, the NUT’s headquarters.

Ken Gill, CSC’s chairman, reflected on Cuba’s capacity to thrive in the face of sustained pressure from the world’s superpower, whose brazen attempts to destroy the revolution have been thwarted for 48 years.

He added: “The tremendous revolutionary changes taking place in Latin American would have been unlikely had it not been for the example set by Cuba.

“In this respect the work of CSC and all those associated with it is of the utmost importance.

“The influence wielded by the organisation and its close relationship with the British trade union movement helps pressure and persuade those in government to not ally themselves with America’s scandalous attempts at regime change in the Caribbean island.”

Rob Miller, CSC’s director, applauded members for the work they have done throughout the year, in countering disinformation in the media, pressuring MPs, running stalls and helping to raise awareness about Cuba. CSC had also achieved notable successes - especially in organising the backlash against the Hilton Hotel Group and Barclays Bank after the companies decided to bow to US pressure and cease business with Cubans.

Mr Miller said: “For the Scottish Affairs Committee to immediately announce that it was to boycott Hilton is unprecedented, and we have been able to build on that. That 104 MPs have already signed Early Day Motion 1408, which calls on the Government to vigorously oppose companies which honour the extra-territorial aspects of the US blockade, is a testament to our strength.

“Proof of this is that when the US proposed an amendment at the United Nations during the annual debate tabled by Cuba on the illegal trade embargo, the motion was seconded by Australia. That’s a tangible demonstration of what this campaign has achieved, because the protocol is that Britain assumes the role of seconding American motions.

“I’m proud to work for CSC and we should all be proud of its achievements.”

The four motions passed at the AGM were: firstly, to continue to fight on behalf of the Miami 5; secondly, in recognition of Cuba’s international assistance, especially in relation to the remarkable work carried out by the Henry Reeve Medical Brigades, Operacion Milagro (which provides free cataract operations for Latin Americans), and generally in the fields of health and education; thirdly, to develop the Music Fund for Cuba and fourthly, to note the actions taken by the Hilton Hotel Group and Barclays and press the Government to take swift action against firms which act illegally by supporting the US trade embargo.

Members agreed that CSC should prioritise a broad range of initiatives for the following year, including: fighting against the US blockade, campaigning for the liberation of the Miami 5, organising activities to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Che Guevara’s death and building on the organisation’s parliamentary links.

Reports stated CSC had enjoyed a slight increase in members, that 23 national trade unions are affiliated to it, and it had made a loss of £15,000 during the financial year - but it was also noted that the organisation still has healthy finances. The Music Fund for Cuba, which aims to raise £200,000 in order to renovate Teatro Miramar in Havana, was also making substantial progress, and building work is due to start in the near future.

After the official business was heard, the Ambassador addressed the meeting and praised the “admirable” work of CSC, which he said was of real benefit to the people of Cuba.

He added: “CSC in the last year has carried out strenuous work to continue to struggle for the rights of the Cuban people to decide our own affairs, for the end of the blockade, to fight for justice for the Miami 5 and against the hypocrisy of America’s so-called ‘war on terror’.”

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