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Issue #1763      February 1, 2017

Australia/NZ 34th Southern Cross work-study Brigade Declaration

Long Live the Revolution!

The 30 members from a broad section of the Australia and NZ societies that make up the 34th Southern Cross brigade to Cuba thank the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People, ICAP and the Cuban people for welcoming us into their country.

We welcome the recent decision by the Obama Administration to eliminate the Wet foot, Dry foot policy aimed at encouraging illegal Cuban migration to the United States in violation of previous Migration agreements between the governments of Cuba and the US. Also the end of the Parole policy that encouraged Cuban doctors, nursers and other professionals to defect to the US with the clear and unjust intention of a brain drain that has affected Cuban international missions in Third World Countries. We recognise these changes to be a result of the ongoing principled position taken by the Cuban government in the US-Cuba negotiations and another step in the reestablishment of civilised diplomatic relations between the two countries.

We call on the US Congress to also end the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.

Travelling throughout Cuba over the last three weeks has allowed the Southern Cross contingent to witness the support of the Cuban people for the revolution and its government. Equally the respect and love for the father of the Cuban revolution Fidel Castro amongst millions of Cubans is obvious and sincere.

Talking to people on the streets and visits to different health and economic centres show the devastating effects on the population by the criminal and illegal US blockade on Cuba. This insidious and cruel blockade even punishes third countries for exercising their sovereign right to trade with Cuba such as the case of the ANZ bank in Australia fined 5.9 million dollars for economic transactions with Cuba.

We had the opportunity of visiting the Latin American School of Medicine, ELAM; an initiative by Fidel Castro to train doctors from Latin America free of charge. More than 27,000 doctors from 82 countries including the United States have since graduated from the program. This noble and humane project is unique in the world. During our visit we met with students from the Pacific Islands currently studying medicine at the ELAM. The 34th Brigade encourages the Australian government to participate with the Cuban medical cooperation in the Pacific Islands through a program to help fund travel for students with scholarships or stipends to facilitate the much needed formation of doctors to strengthen health systems in the Pacific.

The Southern Cross brigade expresses its solidarity with the people of Cuba and will continue to strengthen the friendship between the people of Australia, NZ and Cuba.

We call on the Australian and New Zealand governments to deepen their economic and diplomatic relations with Cuba by opening their respective embassies in Havana as Cuba has done in Canberra and Wellington.

The policies by the United States such as sponsoring regime change activities and the continued occupation of Guantánamo Bay against the will of the Cuban people must end.

We call on the US Administration and President elect Trump to continue to develop just and civilised diplomatic relations with Cuba. We call for the end of the US blockade on Cuba, the return of Guantánamo Bay and the end of all regime change policies sponsored by the US governments.

Havana, Cuba January 17, 2017, 34th Southern Cross Brigade.

Next article – The first victim of war – Open letter

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