Cuban President Diaz-Canel addresses anti-blockade event in Manhattan
New York City, NY – On Saturday, September 23, more than 500 anti-war organizers and activists from across the United States converged for “Voices of Dignity: The People vs. Blockades,” an evening program in support of Cuba and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The event was hosted by the Let Cuba Live Coalition and took place at the Society for Ethical Culture of New York .
The General Assembly of the United Nations meets in Manhattan every year, and the opening days of each year’s session bring political leaders from around the world. This year, progressive organizers on the ground have mobilized to welcome and support the leadership from Cuba and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela – both countries which continue to suffer from unmitigated hostility and economic attacks from the United States.
Saturday evening’s event focused specifically on the brutal sanctions that America has placed upon Venezuela in recent years, along with the human suffering caused by the ongoing blockade of Cuba. The speakers brought attention to the cruel, inhumane sanctions on the Venezuelan and Cuban medical sectors, in particular, and the ways that both countries were able to protect their citizens from COVID-19 despite the cruel American attempts to undermine them.
The speakers included the president of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, along with the foreign minister of Venezuela, Yvan Gil Pinto, executive director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research Vijay Prashad, and Dr. Samira Addrey, a Ghanaian physician-activist who received her degree from the legendary socialist medical school the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba. Radical musical accompaniment was provided by DJ Cardamami, Linqua Franqa, and the Arturo O’Farrill Quartet. Manolo de los Santos, founder of The People’s Forum, was the evening’s host.
President Diaz-Canel and Foreign Minister Gil Pinto both took time to express their countries’ sincere gratitude for the organizing and activism of U.S. based solidarity movements, and emphasized the importance of continuing to put pressure on the U.S. government to abolish the horrific sanctions and blockade, in the name of humanity. As President Diaz-Canel noted, despite the difficult times in which we are living, “pessimism is not in the nature of a revolutionary.”
All speakers urged the attendees to sign the Let Cuba Live petition, demanding that the U.S. remove Cuba from the government’s list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism.” Under the Trump administration, not only did the U.S. announce 243 new sanctions against Cuba – designed to weaken its infrastructure and punish its population – but the U.S. also added Cuba to the list of countries that sponsor terrorist organizations. This is an absurd accusation, especially coming from the State Department, but it has made it nearly impossible for the Cuban state to complete important international trade and banking operations for necessary goods, including fuel, food, medicine and construction supplies.
To sign on to the petition, visit www.letcubalive.info.