Preface to the book “Cuba Solidarity in Canada”

Front coverNino Pagliccia

It is somewhat of a wonder to pinpoint exactly from where and how the idea of a book comes. I believe that ultimately it comes from a place of interest or passion that matures over time, and eventually compels us to want to tell a story or pass on a message we believe is worth sharing. I have always been fascinated by the concept of solidarity so beautifully made universal by the phrase “La solidaridad es la ternura de los pueblos” (Solidarity is the expression of care of the peoples). Beyond a mere feeling, solidarity for me is the real binding fabric between peoples as well as an essential tool for democracy. It is common among activists and particularly within the labour movement to speak of solidarity or to act in solidarity with someone or a cause. When I say, I am in solidarity with you, I mean to say, I am at your side. Not that I blindly accept everything you claim or represent, but that I place myself close to you so that I can better hear your plea, and support you with my respect, my dialogue, my voice and my actions.

Continue reading Preface to the book “Cuba Solidarity in Canada”

Preface to Book on Cuba Solidarity

The following is the beginning of the Preface to the book “Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations“, Nino Pagliccia (Ed.)

“It is somewhat of a wonder to pinpoint exactly from where and how the idea of a book comes. I believe that ultimately it comes from a place of interest or passion that matures over time, and eventually compels us to want to tell a story or pass on a message we believe is worth sharing. I have always been fascinated by the concept of solidarity so beautifully made universal by the phrase “La solidaridad es la ternura de los pueblos” (Solidarity is the expression of care of the peoples). Beyond a mere feeling, solidarity for me is the real binding fabric between peoples as well as an essential tool for democracy. It is common among activists and particularly within the labour movement to speak of solidarity or to act in solidarity with someone or a cause. When I say, I am in solidarity with you, I mean to say, I am at your side. Not that I blindly accept everything you claim or represent, but that I place myself close to you so that I can better hear your plea, and support you with my respect, my dialogue, my voice and my actions. Continue reading Preface to Book on Cuba Solidarity

The Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade: a caring people-to-people solidarity project

Brigade 1994By Nino Pagliccia

[Excerpt from Chapter 4 of “Cuba Solidarity in Canada: Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations” (N. Pagliccia, Ed.)]

The Beginning

A worldwide initiative of Volunteer Work Brigades to Cuba started in the 1960s as a result of the U.S. imposed isolation of Cuba following the success of the revolution. Most outstanding may well be the Venceremos brigade from the U.S. that started in 1969 (Venceremos Brigade n.d.). Numerous countries now organize work brigades of volunteers going to different parts of Cuba and in the hundreds at a time. But the largest surge of this type of solidarity with Cuba occurred in the 1990s. Continue reading The Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade: a caring people-to-people solidarity project

Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade: From Chapter 4 of “Cuba Solidarity in Canada”

Che Brigade logoThe following is from the chapter I wrote on the Che Guevara Brigade for the book I edited “Cuba Solidarity in Canada: Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations”.

Nino Pagliccia: From Chapter 4

Many Canadians travel to Cuba every year to enjoy the beautiful sites and beaches. Their drive is to vacation in one of the most pristine and untouched tropical places on earth. They take in the historical sights, the preserved colonial buildings, the exotic fruits, the cheerful music, and they are amused at the vintage cars still running through the streets of Cuba often sharing the streets with horse drawn carriages. Most visitors limit their interactions with Cubans to casual conversations, and their experience is often reduced to a passive observation of sites and people, which they might record on digital cameras. However, Cuba is a country whose real distinctiveness created by the Cuban Revolution can hardly be seen through the camera lens of the most experienced photographer. Its unique and complex social system may require prolonged observation and careful analysis that are not usually part of a typical vacation package to Cuba. Continue reading Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade: From Chapter 4 of “Cuba Solidarity in Canada”

Claude Morin: Informer et Faire Découvrir Cuba

Du chapitre par Claude Morin: Informer et Faire Découvrir Cuba

Cuba Solidarity in Canada

Claude Morin
Claude Morin

La sympathie que nous pouvons éprouver pour la Révolution cubaine ne doit pas se confondre avec la foi. Elle doit se fonder sur la connaissance la plus intime, la plus directe, la plus personnelle de ce que fut et de ce que demeure ce processus en cours qu’est la Révolution cubaine. La quête d’une information honnête doit nourrir notre solidarité. C’est une entreprise difficile dans la mesure où nous sommes submergés dans un flot d’informations ouvertement ou subrepticement partiales, sinon hostiles. Il nous faut constamment demeurer alertes, flairer le mensonge, les demi-vérités, l’exagération. Et nous n’avons pas tous les moyens d’accéder à une information vraie, honnête. La barrière linguistique représente pour beaucoup un obstacle additionnel. Internet a certes ouvert l’accès, mais sur ce plan Cuba est défavorisée en raison du blocus qui élève considérablement les coûts de raccordement aux réseaux externes.

Continue reading Claude Morin: Informer et Faire Découvrir Cuba

Cuba and the tradition of inspiring humanitarianism

KeithEllis Photo
Professor Keith Ellis

In his chapter “Cuba and the tradition of inspiring humanitarianism”, for the book “Cuba Solidarity in Canada”, scholar and author Keith Ellis refers to the many humanitarian missions that Cuba sends to many countries in the world.

He writes: “The help of the [Henry Reeve] Brigade was also offered by Cuba to the United States along with other kinds of help during the time of the crisis provoked by the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001. The assistance by the Brigade was again offered, with notable persistence, when U.S. citizens were suffering and dying, some of them on the streets of New Orleans, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in 2005. But the Bush administration rejected it.Continue reading Cuba and the tradition of inspiring humanitarianism

Tamara Hansen and Ali Yerevani write about solidarity with the Cuban Five

Tamara
Tamara Hansen

The Cuban National Assembly and the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples have generously recognized the support of the international solidarity movement for the Cuban Five.

Just before the Cuban Five were freed and back in Cuba, Tamara Hansen and Ali Yerevani wrote about some the work done in British Columbia and internationally in their chapter for the book “Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations”, (Nino Pagliccia, Ed). Continue reading Tamara Hansen and Ali Yerevani write about solidarity with the Cuban Five

John M. Kirk: Foreword to the book Cuba Solidarity in Canada

In his Foreword to the book Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations (N. Pagliccia, Ed.), John M. Kirk writes:

“The term “solidarity” has a multitude of meanings, but in essence it boils down to the concept of cooperation arising from common interests, and often it implies responsibilities to act. Shared objectives and aspirations, accompanied by mutual support and respect, form the basis for any meaningful solidarity. Talking about Cuba’s role in Africa, Nelson Mandela summed up well the extraordinary solidarity shown there: “Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom, and justice unparalleled for its principled and selfless character.” The Cuban approach was based upon this amalgam of solidarity and the qualities noted above. In many ways our own respect for Cuba stems from this “principled and selfless character” that many of us have observed on the island and in its foreign policy. Like Mandela, we are pleased to support Cuba’s initiatives in this regard. Continue reading John M. Kirk: Foreword to the book Cuba Solidarity in Canada

La quête d’une information honnête doit nourrir notre solidarité.

Du livre “Cuba Solidarity in Canada”, dans son chapitre en français, Claude Morin nous dit le fondement de notre solidarité avec Cuba:

“La sympathie que nous pouvons éprouver pour la Révolution cubaine ne doit pas se confondre avec la foi. Elle doit se fonder sur la connaissance la plus intime, la plus directe, la plus personnelle de ce que fut et de ce que demeure ce processus en cours qu’est la Révolution cubaine. La quête d’une information honnête doit nourrir notre solidarité. C’est une entreprise difficile dans la mesure où nous sommes submergés dans un flot d’informations ouvertement ou subrepticement partiales, sinon hostiles. Il nous faut constamment demeurer alertes, flairer le mensonge, les demi-vérités, l’exagération.”