Hundreds join RMT Party for Cuba

Campaign News | Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Hundreds join annual Trade Union event of solidarity with Cuba

The annual RMT/Cuba Solidarity Campaign was a huge success yet again this year. Now in its 6th year several hundred people heard speeches from Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT and Tony Benn amongst others.

Opening up the evening Bob Crow addressed those present by declaring that what happens in Cuba is a matter for the Cuban people to decide. Former Cabinet Minister, Tony Benn said that the whole Cuban experience was about building a society around need rather than profit and that was why it had succeeded. Benn went on to say that the sharing of resources to meet need was what Cuba had taught us before concluding his remarks by reminding the crowd that this was a time to be cheerful and a time to give our continued support to Cuba.

Backbench Labour MP and Chair of the RMT Parliamentary Group, John McDonnell MP described Cuba as a shining beacon before his fellow MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cuba, Ian Gibson MP described Cuba's health service and excellence in biotechnology as world-class

Brian Caton, General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association also addressed the gathering and began his remarks by bringing a message of solidarity to Cuba, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and the Cuban people. Brian went on to slam the actions of Lloyds Bank who have threatened to cut off the accounts of customers who deal with Cuban firms as a shameful act which will put people out of work. He went on to say that the POA will be calling for the TUC to have nothing to do with Lloyds TSB and that the ongoing attacks against the people of Cuba were completely unacceptable.

The Secretary of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Bernard Regan told the meeting that the evening was a wonderful expression of solidarity with Cuba and cited the Operation Milagro where over 1 million people had been treated for eye operations as an example of the internationalism of the Cuban health care system and society. Bernard reminded the gathering that 2008 was the 20th anniversary of the battle at Cuito Cuanavale where Cuban troops had defeated the apartheid army of South Africa hastening the end of the racist system in that country.

Luis Marron, Political Counsellor at the Cuban Embassy received warm applause when he announced that the Cuban revolution was safe, healthy and was moving forward. Luis went on to say that everyday the blockade of Cuba continued was an abomination. As the 10th anniversary of the imprisonment of the Miami 5 approaches Luis declared that there would be an international campaign to secure their unconditional release. Luis paid thanks to the RMT and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign for organising the Garden Party before paying his deepest respects to Ken Gill, Chair of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign from 1993 to 2008. Luis told the Garden Party guests that we will always be able to count on Ken Gill's wisdom and his guidance.

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