“We’ll be with you until the blockade is lifted” - Friends of Cuba celebrate at ambassador's reception

Campaign News | Friday, 23 June 2023

On June 12, Her Excellency Bárbara Montalvo Álvarez, the Cuban Ambassador, hosted the annual ’Friends of Cuba’ reception at her residence in London. The reception is a thank you to regular donors for their support for Cuba and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign. As well as invited ‘Friends of Cuba’, special guests included MPs Jeremy Corbyn, Beth Winter, Apsana Begum, Richard Burgon, Claudia Webbe, Ian Byrne, Micky Brady, Francie Molloy and members of the House of Lords Baroness Christine Blower and Baroness Pauline Bryan.

Guests were treated to Cuban mojitos and food in the garden, where the ambassador welcomed all guests to “this little piece of Cuba” in London. She celebrated the recent success of the Viva la Educación appeal, which raised over £100,000 to fill two shipping containers full of educational supplies that recently arrived in Cuba. She thanked all ‘Friends of Cuba’, and the many more from the National Education Union and across the trade union movement, for their contributions to this appeal and their years of support and solidarity during the time of her posting in London.

“Cuba has in you the friends we deserve, and at the same time you have in the Cuban people the people that you deserve, because we will never, never surrender,” she said. “Without the blockade not only Cuba but the world would be a better place.”

Bárbara then gave special thanks to Diana Holland “for all the wonderful work she has done” for more than a decade as Chair of CSC, following the news she was stepping down as Chair and retiring as Assistant General Secretary of Unite. She congratulated her on her retirement and said she was looking forward to working closely with her successor, Kevin Courtney.
The reception also heard from Jeremy Corbyn MP who had recently celebrated 40 years as the MP for Islington North. Jeremy praised the “amazing work that the staff at the embassy and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign” do on a daily basis and paid tribute to the achievements of the Cuban people in health, education, social justice and internationalism. “We’ll be with you until the blockade is lifted”, he said.

Rob Miller, CSC Director, thanked the ‘Friends of Cuba’ for their crucial contribution to CSC’s campaigning work which helps sustain the organisation, as it receives no large grants or subsidies and relies on members and fundraising to continue.

‘Friends of Cuba’ members contribute £200 per annum to support the long-term work of the Campaign, directly helping our efforts to defend Cuba’s sovereignty and campaign against the illegal US blockade. If you are interested in becoming a ‘Friend of Cuba’, and receiving the benefits of ‘Friends of Cuba’ membership including special discounts and invitations, please email Rob Miller at director@cuba-solidarity.org.uk or call 020 7490 5715. You can also join the scheme online at cuba-solidarity.org.uk/get-involved/friends/

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