Press Release: Mayor of London makes financial settlement with CSC over political banning dispute

Campaign News | Friday, 15 August 2008

Press Release

For immediate release

15 August 2008

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) today welcomed the financial settlement made by the Greater London Authority to end the dispute over its participation in the Rise festival.

In June 2008 the CSC was told that its annual Big Cuba Stage at the Rise Festival would no longer be welcomed by the new mayoral administration.

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'

The decision was widely condemned by Trade unions including Unison, Unite, CWU and the FBU. Unions also withdrew financial support from Rise because of this decision and the festivals down playing of its anti-racist message.

Rob Miller, CSC Director said

‘We are grateful to the GLA for making this financial settlement which will help us tremendously in our ongoing campaign against the US blockade of Cuba. The banning of our stage by the GLA only 4 weeks before the festival gave us a real financial problem but this settlement will enable us to get back on track with our campaigning work’

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.

For further information contact:

Natasha Hickman/Stuart Watkin

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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