Update on Cuba
Vibrant Meetings of Support for Cuba in Ottawa and Montreal
Two vibrant meetings were held in support of Cuba, in Ottawa and Montreal, as the Cuban government is taking all-sided measures to reopen the country on November 15.
Close to 40 people participated in the meeting in Ottawa on November 8. The special guest speaker was Giuvel Orozco Ortega, Counsellor-Deputy Head of Mission of the Cuban Embassy in Canada. The meeting was sponsored by Ottawa Cuba Connections, Association d’Amitié Outaouais-Cuba and ALBA Social Movements Ottawa. The well-attended meeting in itself was an expression of the love and support the Canadian and Quebec people have for Cuba and of their concerns whenever the Cuban people are subjected to renewed and relentless threats and attacks by U.S. imperialism and its agents.
Guivel explained that as of November 15, life in Cuba will enter a new normality. The economy will be reopened, an important part of it being tourism, elementary school children will be going back to their classes, and the safety of the Cuban people and foreigners in Cuba will be ensured. Close to 75 per cent of the Cuban population has already been vaccinated. Children as young as two years of age are being vaccinated with the totally Cuban-developed Soberana vaccines, and plans are underway to begin using the Abdala vaccine as well for young children. The government, President Miguel Diaz-Canel and the scientific community have been hard at work to protect the Cuban population and to bring the Cuban economy and social life back to normal, he said.
He pointed out that agents of counterrevolution, in coordination with the U.S., have announced that they will undertake actions to destabilize Cuba on November 15. He said that an impression is created that some people in Cuba simply want to express their opinions in opposition to the Cuban government and that the Cuban government is denying them their right to speak and to demonstrate, thus “oppressing the Cuban people.” An article in the Constitution is invoked to defend their freedom of assembly and to demonstrate, but, as Giuvel pointed out, the Constitution also has conditions to this, one of them being that these actions cannot put the safety of the people at risk, which is exactly what happened in the violent street actions of July 11 of this year. In this, the overall aim of those forces committed to regime change in Cuba is to try to isolate Cuba, incite violence and condone social disorder and create a situation whereby the U.S. will call for military intervention in Cuba.
He said that he expects the fiercest campaign against Cuba in this respect will be launched abroad, because on November 15 the Cuban people will be going about their daily lives. He said that one of the best ways to support Cuba at this time is to travel to Cuba in the upcoming tourist season starting in November, and to let everyone know that it is safe to go to Cuba. The necessity to oppose the use of “human rights” by the Canadian government to slander Cuba, which dishonours and threatens the friendly relations Canada and Quebec have always had with Cuba, was also raised in the discussion.
The Montreal meeting was held on November 11, organized by the Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba. The meeting featured Giuvel Orozco Ortega, Counsellor-Deputy Head of Mission of the Cuban Embassy in Canada, as well as Mara Bilbao Díaz, Consul General of Cuba in Montreal. A lively exchange was held with them on the important changes underway in Cuba to reopen the economy. Nearly 70 people attended, both in-person and virtually, and French and English translation were provided.
Giuvel presented a picture of the aggressive and provocative activities of the United States against Cuba since the beginning of the Cuban revolution, with the imposition of the blockade from the very beginning. It was stepped up with the adoption in 1992 of the Torricelli Act under the George Bush administration, and the Helms-Burton Act in 1996 under Bill Clinton, which brought restrictions on tourism, travel and trade, including extraterritorial measures imposed on trade and the banking system. The aim was to tighten the blockade and the constraints on the Cuban people in all directions in the hope it would force them to give in and abandon their sovereign nation-building project. He explained how these measures were intensified, despite the pandemic, under the Trump administration and now under the Biden administration. Giuvel highlighted Cuba’s constant and courageous efforts through the maximum mobilization of the Cuban people, and the immense effort of organizations, personalities, governments and peoples throughout the world to denounce the criminal blockade of the United States against Cuba and demand that it be lifted.
He spoke of how the anti-Cuban activities of Miami and the U.S. government have taken since June – when once again an overwhelming majority of members of the UN General Assembly voted in favour of a resolution demanding the U.S. end its economic blockade on Cuba – the form of a war via social networks. With the collaboration of other international powers including Spain, they have attempted to create a false opposition movement called SOS Cuba. This has nothing to do with the demands of the Cuban people, but everything to do with the ultimate and desperate concentrated efforts of the United States to break Cuba and its people, he said.
Cuba, in this post-pandemic period, is reopening its doors to tourism, returning its children to school, and completing the full vaccination of its people so as to be able to focus on the affirmation of its right to be, on the well-being of the people and its future, and there is no room, said Giuvel, to allow the counterrevolution to organize on Cuban soil.
Mara Bilbao Díaz, speaking of the current situation, said that it has required a lot of effort from Cubans. Today, Cuba shows important indicators of improvement in COVID patients, thanks to its scientists, doctors, nurses and its people.
However, the constant attempts, stepped up in recent months, to destabilize the country and harm the social peace of the Caribbean nation, seek to spoil the reopening of Cuba, scheduled for November 15.
Mara stressed that the central axis of this operation, which is organized from the United States, with the intervention of high-ranking officials, members of Congress and anti-Cuban senators, is an attempt to destabilize the country in order to provoke conflicts. As of November 10, she said, there are already 29 declarations of U.S. government officials and influential personalities of this country that have been issued to exert pressure on different governments to join these actions against Cuba.
Cuba’s foreign minister said on November 10, in a meeting with foreign diplomats accredited in Cuba, that “we will not under any circumstances allow the persistent aggression of the United States government and its intense and constant attempts, intensified over the last six to eight months, to generate conditions of internal destabilization, to alter the tranquility and security of citizens, to harm the social peace that characterizes the Cuban people, our nation.”
Mara added that Cuba’s foreign minister called for the solidarity of the international community, the community of nations that make up the General Assembly of the United Nations, the most universal, democratic and representative body of that organization. He also expressed thanks for the solidarity of Cuba’s friends around the world — the solidarity groups, the many political forces, civil society organizations in all regions and areas of the planet and Cubans residing in different countries, especially in the United States.
Following the presentation, several participants praised the Cuban government’s post-pandemic plan and other initiatives of the government and people to move forward. They also emphasized the importance of the activities organized in Quebec and Canada in solidarity with Cuba. Examples included, the monthly pickets and caravans, the sending of medical and other supplies, the petition to the Canadian government against the U.S. war on Cuba, and the letters sent to the members of the Quebec National Assembly by La Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba urging them to consult with La Table in the event of a motion being put forward or discussion held concerning Cuba.
Aileen Carmenaty Sanchez, 3rd Secretary-Press Attaché at the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa, with responsibility for solidarity, beautifully performed two songs accompanying herself on the guitar to close the meeting.