I feel an overwhelming joy for the families of the three remaining prisoners of the Cuban Five, Gerardo, Ramon and Tony. They are finally reunited after 16 long years of painful separation. I think of Adriana who has not seen her husband since he was imprisoned. I try to imagine a Cuba free of the inhuman 53 year long blockade. I try to imagine what this new Cuba-US relationship will look like. What I read from the agreement just disclosed is encouraging but then there is the reality of foreign policy. It is too soon to do an analysis of the events of today. Today I rejoice and celebrate. Allan Gross’ family also needs time to celebrate. Continue reading Time to start new foreign relations based on solidarity between nations.
Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations, is a collection of essays about the Canadian solidarity movement in support of Cuba during more than 50 years. Throughout the different experiential stories, the notion of solidarity emerges as the common theme of people-to-people (non-governmental) links between Canada and Cuba. The book suggests a framework that informs the reader on the meaning, positive influence and potentially valuable role that solidarity can play in the relationship between peoples, indeed between nations. It also advances the possibility of a new paradigm of state-to-state foreign relations that is based on solidarity instead of ideological posture.
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
How did the international community get the response to the Ebola outbreak so wrong? We closed borders. We created panic. We left the moribund without access to health care. When governments in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Guinea, Mali, and Nigeria called out to the world for help, the global response went to mostly protect the citizens of wealthy nations before strengthening health systems on the ground. In general, resources have gone to guarding borders rather than protecting patients in the hot zone from the virus. Yet, Cuba broke this trend by sending in hundreds of its own health workers into the source of the epidemic. Considering the broader global response to Ebola, why did Cuba get it so right?
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.”
The following is taken from the upcoming book I edited, “Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations”:
American exceptionalism came into the public discourse as an identifiable
doctrine in the 1980s, at a time when U.S. foreign policy in its hegemonic
form touched virtually every country in the world, often using
intimidation as it continues to do to this day. Continue reading Excerpt from upcoming book
“We’ve been engaged in a failed policy with Cuba for the last fifty years, and we need to change it,” Barack Obama declared as a presidential candidate in 2007. Just last November, Obama reiterated to his Cuban-American supporters in Miami: “The notion that the same policies that we put in place in 1961 would somehow still be as effective…in the age of the Internet and Google and world travel doesn’t make sense.” For six years, President Obama has been saying that US policy toward Cuba needs to change, but for six years he’s been unwilling to take the political risk of sitting down at the negotiating table with the Cuban government to make it happen. Continue reading Six Lessons for Obama on How to Improve Relations With Cuba
We demand the inclusion of solidarity in our foreign policy.
Havana, 18 September 2014
I have recently attended the Tenth International Colloquium for the Freedom of the Cuban Five and Against Terrorism in Havana, Cuba, 11-12 September 2014. The event gathered more than 300 delegates from 48 countries. The goal of the meeting was to advance new ideas leading to the liberation of the three Cuban prisoners still remaining in U.S. prisons, Gerardo, Antonio (Tony) and Ramón. Continue reading World Solidarity must be the Future