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Issue #1636      April 30, 2014

ACFS Perth celebrates 20 years of Cuban solidarity

The Australia-Cuba Friendship Society WA branch celebrated its 20th anniversary on Sunday 27th April. (Photo: Alex Bainbridge)

Founding members of the friendship society gathered with other past and present members to toast 20 years of solidarity with Cuba and the links of friendship between the peoples of Australia and Cuba.

Tribute was paid to Vic and Joan Williams (RIP), Dorothy Parker, Joanna, Sylvia, Myrna, John, Maureen, Rene, Ana, Michele, Diana, Vinnie, Len, Elizabeth, Alex, Rhonda, Owen, Peter, Marta, Lefki, Paulina and many others who have kept ACFS going stronger.

In March and April 1994 several friends got together to discuss ways to express their solidarity with the Cuban people who were facing enormous challenges at the time of the “special period” that had been delivered by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Cuba had lost its main trading partner and was left virtually alone, unable to trade with other countries due to the US blockade on Cuba. At the same time the situation worsened even more when the United States chose to strengthen the economic blockade with the aim of destroying the Cuban revolution.

While many predicted the end of the Cuban revolution, hundreds of good hearted people joined in solidarity with the Cuban people like the group that came together in Perth; Cuba was not alone as an enormous network of solidarity and friendship developed.

The condition of limitations and shortages was soon overcome by Cuba and in spite of the difficult times lived by its people, Cuba never faltered in its solidarity, sharing their human wealth with the world in the way of doctors, teachers and other professionals with those most in need around the world. Cuba now has over 70,000 professionals working in solidarity in Latin America, East Timor, Pakistan and Haiti. Most recently Cuba has been helping Aboriginal communities in Wilcannia and Bourke NSW with the literacy program “Yes I can” (Yo si Puedo) to learn to read and write.

The challenges that saw Western Australians forming the ACFS are slowly being overcome by the Cuban people. However, the struggle against the US blockade, the return of the illegally occupied Guantánamo Bay to the Cuban people and the freedom of the Cuban Five continue to be the key challenges faced by the Cuban people and the key focus of Cuban solidarity today.

The ACFS Perth toasted the friendship and solidarity with the Cuban people and pledged to continue working in solidarity with the Cuban revolution for their right to self determination and for the freedom that will see Gerardo Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labaniño walk free from their unjust incarceration in US prisons.

Next article – UN says Australia breaching Refugee Convention

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