In the aftermath of the Alternative Aotearoa seminar the NZ Cuba Friendship Society held a protest at the US Embassy on Sunday morning, July 26th. Flags flew and banners proclaimed the need to lift the US Blockade of Cuba and condemned New Zealand’s complicity.
Gillian Magee explained to the crowd that while the NZ government (along with the vast majority of nations) voted each year for the UN Assembly resolution declaring the US blockade of Cuba illegal it then turned a blind eye to the blockade being imposed locally by banks, other financial institutions and postal services. The Cuban Embassy in NZ can’t get a bank account, NZ companies can’t trade with Cuba except in a very roundabout manner which adds to the cost. Donations can’t be sent to Cuban organisations… The blockade is vicious and comprehensive. She called on the government to pass legislation making it illegal to apply the blockade within NZ territory. Some European countries have done this. The hypocrisy must end.
Kat Baskin of the Hospo Workers Union praised Cuban solidarity in health work and in training unionists, especially from the global south, while Mike Williams from the Maritime Union offered the congratulations of the union to Cuba on this special day, the day the revolutionary process began, and invited the Cuban ambassador to address the unions next stop work meeting.
Mike Treen from Unite spoke eloquently of Cuba setting the example of a sovereign independence maintained against all odds. By resisting US military, diplomatic and economic pressure it had showed other countries that imperialism can be defeated. The only path to peace lay in a universal recognition of each county’s sovereignty.
The protest ended with Gillian Magee pledging a greater level of solidarity activity from NZ and inviting new members to join the Cuba Friendship Society.
Text Paul Maunder
Listen to the speeches