Cuba Solidarity statement on Rise Festival

Campaign News | Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Mayor bans CSC from London Festival

Press Release

For immediate release

16 June 2008

Mayor of London in political censorship row over Cuba

Cuba Solidarity Campaign banned from London festival

Trade Unions condemn decision

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) has been told that its annual Big Cuba Stage at the Rise Festival will no longer be permitted at this year's event scheduled for 13th July in Finsbury park, North London.

In a letter from the GLA's Director of Policy for Arts, Munira Mirza, (12th June 2008) CSC were informed that

'it is no longer appropriate to have overtly political organisations involved in the programme or in the community area....for this reason, we will not require your organisation to provide programming for the Rise Festival 2008'

CSC has organised a major stage at the GLA supported event every year since 2002. The Big Cuba Stage has always been amongst the most popular stages presenting a wide variety of Cuban and Latin American performers. As well as music and dance performances guest speakers such as Ken Livingstone, Bob Crow (RMT) and Steve Hart (Unite) have addressed the crowds from the Cuba stage over many years.

Rob Miller, CSC Director said

'It is outrageous that the new Mayor of London has taken such a discriminatory position against Cuba Solidarity at such short notice. There is only 4 weeks to go until the festival and we have already contracted bands for this year. We hope that this silly act of political censorship will even yet be overturned so that festival goers can continue to enjoy this annual Cuba party'

The Cuba stage is supported by Unite the union who are currently considering their financial support for Rise this year.

Steve Hart, Unite Regional Secretary, said

'It would appear that the GLA wish to censor our stage and vet our partners. Such a political pre-condition on Unite is unacceptable to my union'

For further information contact:

Rob Miller

0208 800 0155

Notes to editors:

1 The Cuba Solidarity Campaign is a UK NGO that campaigns against the illegal US blockade of Cuba and for respect for Cuba's sovereignty

2 24 national Trade Unions are affiliated to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign

3 184 countries including the UK voted against the US Blockade of Cuba at the United Nations in October 2007

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