Con Cuba hoy- Kiwi arts community goes one step further

Playwrights, poets, film makers and musicians have rallied to a request from their Cuban colleagues to call on the US to lift the economic blockade and in doing so have gone one step further and initiated a petition calling on the New Zealand Government to take decisive action to aid the Cuban people in the face of the devastation wrought by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

The petition coordinator, film director and playwright Paul Maunder, has called others in the Kiwi cultural community to “assert their solidarity as a national grouping” and request the Prime Minister to grant immediate aid to Cuba and intensify its efforts to have the US blockade of the country lifted.

The recent hurricanes have left Cuba devastated and it will take billions of dollars for Cuba to recover. A recovery Paul notes “that is made hugely more expensive and problematic because of the hypocritical US economic blockade of the country.”

“For some reason, Cuban's 'human rights failings' (which includes presumably their ability to cope with these hurricanes with less loss of life than any of the other countries afflicted, including the US) means that this small but significant country, must be punished further, now that they have been punished so severely by the politically indifferent hurricanes.”

The petition calls on the NZ Government;

(i) to actively urge the US to lift the blockade,

(ii) to grant Cuba immediate aid,

(iii) and to be willing to support NGO agencies in the usual manner, if any wish to activate an aid programme with Cuba.

Included among the petition initiators are Jean Betts, Russell Campbell, Mark Derby, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Wanjiku Kiarie, Dean Parker, Rolando Olmedo, Martyn Sanderson and the Equuslive Collective.

The petition is here
The Artists call is