The campaign to end the blockade continues: Unite Sector Fringe Meetings 2015

Campaign News | Friday, 27 November 2015

Two well-attended Latin America solidarity fringe meetings featuring Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and Justice for Colombia took place in Brighton at the Unite National Industrial Sector Conference in November.

Back to back fringe meetings featured at the conference to cater for different delegates attending for different sector days. Monday’s fringe meeting featured Diana Holland, Assistant General Secretary of Unite and CSC Chair, Sian Errington, Author of Venezuela: Sustained Progress for Workers’ Rights’ and Dennis Wilson, Unite EC member.

Tuesday’s meeting featured Adrian Weir, Deputy Chief of Staff of Unite and CSC Exec, Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary of Unite and Vice-Chair of VSC and Jim Kelly, Chair. Unite London and Eastern Region. Tony Woodhouse, Chair Unite EC, chaired both meetings.

Diana Holland gave delegates an update about the Miami Five, with Rene Gonzalez recently successfully winning his appeal against the Home Secretary for a visa to visit Britain. “We look forward to celebrating with them in Britain soon”. On the successful campaign to free the Five, Diana said:

“It just goes to show how campaigning and international solidarity works. All those emails and letters sent, meetings attended and spreading the information about the campaign, ultimately led to the early release of the Five after 16 years in prison.”

She stressed how the blockade is still in place and is still fining banks for dealing with Cuba, including the recent Crédit Agricole fine of $1.1 billion.

Adrian Weir said how normal relations cannot be said to exist between Cuba until the blockade is lifted and Guantanamo returned to Cuba.

He said “Guantanamo is a sovereignty issue – it is land that should belong to Cuba; a human rights issue – because of the abuses and the infamous US detention centre; and a labour rights issue – because workers are shipped in from Jamaica and the Philippines to work at half the rate that they would on other US Naval Bases.”

Tony Woodhouse spoke about his experiences visiting Cuba for May Day celebrations “where people are put before profit, showing that another world is truly possible” - and urged Unite branches to affiliate to CSC to help end the over half-century-old blockade.

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