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MN Cuba car caravan demands an end to the blockade on Cuba, a stop to FBI intimidation

By Kim DeFranco

Minnesota protest against U.S. blockade of Cuba.

Minneapolis, MN – The Solidarity Committee on the Americas (SCOTA) and the Minnesota Cuba Committee held their monthly rally and car caravan, August 28, demanding the end to the blockade against Cuba. The caravans have been continuing for over a year as a part of an international effort with the participation of many cities across the world, most notably inspired by Cuban Americans who oppose the blockade in Miami, Florida.

As the rally started, Sarah Martin, a member of SCOTA, rallied the crowd with the chant, “Cuba sí, bloqueo no!

Martin addressed the crowd, “This month's caravan is particularly important to show our support to the Miami caravan. Senator Marco Rubio has sent a letter to the FBI urging an investigation of Puentes de Amor, the originator of the Miami caravan, and its leader Carlos Lazo accusing them of being ‘unregistered agents’ of Cuba. This is part of the FBI's long record of covert and illegal operations against progressive political organizations.”

Andrew Pulley, from the MN Cuba Committee, spoke of the FBI intimidation tactics on a few Cuban solidarity activist groups, “In particular, Senators Rubio, Cruz and Menendez have stepped up the investigation on Bridges of Love led by Lazo. But they won’t turn us around and we will double efforts to demand end the U.S. embargo, halt the travel restrictions, and let business between Cuba and US flow.”

The people chanted, “U.S. hands off Cuba!” Autumn Lake, member of the MN Anti War Committee, explained how Cuba shows us a better way, “Older generations said the U.S. economy used to be so much better for them, but for as long as I’ve been alive it has consistently been in decline. I’ve seen working people take the brunt of it, losing jobs and homes in the process. In real time these past few months I’ve seen pantry staples jump in price to the point that trips to the grocery store are starting to become inaccessible for some working people.”

Lake continued, “As anti-imperialists, we recognize that the U.S. imposes this political and economic cruelty on Cuba as well. And while worsening conditions in the U.S. are business as usual for the ownership class, the reason why the U.S. has been trying to undermine the Cuban people for 60 years is that Cuba clearly shows that another way is possible. While people in the U.S. deal with a system defined by cruelty that only intensifies over time, people in Cuba do not starve. They do not go homeless. They do not go without healthcare. 60 years of being denied access to the resources necessary to keep a country going and Cuba still has the most robust healthcare system in all of the Americas.”

As the crowd cheered, she continued, “The U.S. will continue to try to undermine this country that actually serves its own people until either it succeeds or collapses itself. We must push back against the propaganda that makes people believe that Cuba’s system isn’t an alternative to that cruelty.”

After the rally, the cars, covered in signs, lined up. The lead car had a bright red sign saying, “Cuba and the world against the blockade.” The other cars were decorated with signs of, “Cuba si, bloqueo no,” “Stand with socialist Cuba,” “U.S. out of Cuba,” and “End the blockade on Cuba,” with Cuban flags flying from the windows, drove a four-mile route on Lake Street.

Lake is a busy commercial street in a Latino and immigrant community. The caravan was enthusiastically supported by drivers passing by and many of the pedestrians as they stood in front of cafes waving, one even shouted “Cuba si, bloqueo no!” while raising his fist in the air.

The Twin Cities’ Cuba caravan is held every last Sunday of the month and encourages anyone who wants to participate to contact either the Solidarity Committee on the Americas (SCOTA) or the Minnesota Cuba Committee on Facebook.

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