The Guardian • Issue #2094

No more interference. No more coercion. No more sanctions. End the blockade and let Cuba live!

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2094
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On the weekend of 6-7 April, friends of Cuba from across Australia convened at the Maritime Union in Sydney for the 39th edition of the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society (ACFS) National Consultation.

Over the course of two days of discussion and collaboration, the National Consultation affirmed in the strongest possible terms its unwavering commitment to the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban people’s struggle to exert their national sovereignty.

After a number of years of organisation, the ACFS agreed to coordinate a national joint project, supporting the Agro Vivo social project in Matanzas.

As a result of the travesty unfolding in Palestine, attendees also recognised that members of the Australian community are more aware than ever of the devastating impacts of violent imperialism on the oppressed nations of the world. It was not left unnoticed that Israel stands all but alone with the United States in supporting the blockade on Cuba at the United Nations. Cuba, as a long-term supporter of Palestinian rights, including statehood, is forever linked to this struggle and the ACFS committed itself to linking with other international solidarity campaigns, especially those centred around Palestinian liberation.

Following a powerful welcome to Gadigal country from Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor, Paul Keating, MUA Sydney branch secretary, provided attendees with an address on the links between First Nations justice, the union movement and the Cuban Revolution as a lodestar and symbol of hope.

Attendees were honoured to once again receive a greeting from ICAP President (and member of the Cuban Five), Fernando González Llort, and Ivan Ernesto Barreto López, who visited Australia and New Zealand last year.

Her Excellency, the Cuban Ambassador to Australia, Tanieris Diéguez, similarly provided those attending with updates on the situation in Cuba, the importance of the solidarity work done in Australia, and the Revolution’s ongoing internationalism in spite of the strangulating impact of the United States blockade. The incredible work undertaken by the Ambassador since arriving in Australia last year – especially in coordinating efforts with the Parliamentary Friends of Cuba – was publicly noted and appreciated by the ACFS membership.

Adam Mayers, of the Canberra branch and National Coordinator of the Southern Cross Brigade, provided a recap of the Brigade just completed and looked forward to further positive developments in this important solidarity project between our two countries. This complemented an exposition prepared by the Sydney branch commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the trip in January 2024. It was noted by attendees that three of the nine brigadistas from the 2023-24 Brigade attended the Consultation, reflecting a broader trend of rejuvenation within the ranks of the solidarity movement.

Finally, the strengthening of bonds between First Nations and the Cuban Revolution was a noticeable theme throughout the days’ events, with presentations on the history of Cuban internationalism linked to Cuba’s contemporary literacy campaigns in indigenous communities throughout Australia. These efforts have strengthened the bonds of friendship and understanding between Cuba and Australia, transcending borders to promote socialism, internationalism, and humanism.

The 40th edition of the National Consultation will be held in Adelaide next year.

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