Strengthening Canada-Cuba Relations

Canadian Network on Cuba Holds Virtual Conference

On Saturday, September 26, member organizations of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) from Victoria to Halifax, and invited guests met virtually to discuss solidarity and friendship with Cuba in the current situation and to plan for the coming year.

It was acknowledged that in these unprecedented times of pandemic, deepening economic crisis and ever-growing danger of war, the Cuba solidarity movement faces unique challenges. The main factor shaping this context is the Trump regime's assault on Cuba and the unsettling developments in Canada-Cuba relations.

CNC executive co-chairs, Elizabeth Hill and Isaac Saney, gave an extensive review of CNC work since its convention held on June 8 and 9, 2019. The report, with a lively visual display, highlighted, among other things:

- the campaign to reinstate visa services at the Canadian Embassy in Havana;

- the successful Support Cuba to Fight Against COVID-19 campaign that has raised over $50,000 for Cuba's international medical solidarity;

- the various CNC webinars on Cuba's medical accomplishments;

- the ongoing virtual pickets against the U.S. blockade, which has had participation by over 20 countries;

- the Saving Lives Campaign (a joint initiative of the CNC, the U.S. National Network On Cuba and the Table de Concertation et de Solidarité Québec-Cuba) aimed at establishing medical cooperation between the U.S., Canada and Cuba, especially in the fight against COVID-19;

- the Cubacan6060 fundraising for baseball bats for Cuba;

- the statements of CNC Spokesperson Isaac Saney, ranging from the 60th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution to a condemnation of the violent attack on the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC and open letters to Prime Minister Trudeau and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Isaac Saney followed the CNC report with an outline of the Trump regime's ongoing and intensifying attacks against Cuba, as well as the growing uncertainty and worrying directions in Canada-Cuba relations. He reiterated that one of the CNC's principal objectives is advocating that Canadian foreign policy regarding Cuba remains based on equality and respect for sovereignty and the right of self-determination. Thus, a central aim is strengthening the Canada-Cuba solidarity movement and defeating the U.S. all-sided economic blockade of and aggressions against Cuba.

Janine Solanki, National Coordinator of the Ernesto Che Guevara Volunteer work brigade, then presented the challenges of organizing the 27th brigade within the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, the cross-Canada brigade committee has made great strides towards ensuring a successful brigade scheduled for April 28-May 10, 2021.

Tamara Hansen, a CNC executive member, laid out a series of ideas and proposals for building Cuba solidarity during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. She outlined how the webinars and the virtual anti-blockade pickets illustrate the many ways that the Cuba friendship and solidarity movement can expand its reach and impact, nationally and internationally. A key future initiative is the plan to organize a 24-hour world virtual picket on December 17 opposing ongoing U.S. aggressions against Cuba. She also highlighted that the CNC is ready and able to assist members in their local work, particularly via the CNC Zoom account that is available for all groups to use.

Each of the 14 CNC member groups participating in the gathering then gave a report of their solidarity activities and initiatives. The summation of the work of the CNC and its member organizations over the previous year highlights the breadth and diversity of activities across the country, encompassing the political, social and cultural spheres. The conference participants reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the Canada-Cuba solidarity movement and the ties of solidarity and friendship between the Canadian and Cuban people. They further resolved to redouble their efforts to defeat the U.S. all-sided economic blockade of and criminal aggressions against Cuba and working to ensure that Canadian foreign policy regarding Cuba remains based on equality and respect for Cuba's sovereignty and right of self-determination.

(Canadian Network on Cuba, October 17, 2020. Photos: CNC)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 40 - October 24, 2020

Article Link:
Strengthening Canada-Cuba Relations: Canadian Network on Cuba Holds Virtual Conference


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