Hands Off Cuba Campaign Launched
Time to defend Cuba’s independence
This Autumn CSC launches a new campaign to defend Cuba’s independence. Here Rob Miller, CSC Director, explains the need for this campaign and how you can get involved
The last few months have seen a heightening of the attacks against Cuba from the US and, most importantly for us in the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, from the British Government and its representatives.
In response to this we have decided to launch a new campaign to defend Cuba: The ‘Hands Off Cuba’ Campaign
We need to build the widest possible alliance against US aggression and to argue for a position of dialogue and engagement with the island.
We will continue to work with the TU and Labour movement to press the Government to adopt a position of overtly opposing the US in its attempt to isolate Cuba and interfere in its internal affairs.
Most of all, the campaign is aimed at pre-empting any possibility that a UK government will support any US military aggression against the island – as was done over Iraq.
The signs are not good in this respect. The Government seems intent on taking a lead from some virulent anti Cuban elements such as Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and arch-anti-Communists such as Vaclav Havel. The UK government is actually helping to demonise Cuba. As we know the demonisation of regimes is often a precursor to some kind of military intervention.
Over the past few weeks Britain has been at the forefront of European Union initiatives that have castigated the Cuban government for its alleged human rights record.
On June 5th the UK Government was a party to the EU decision to reduce ‘high level’ inter-governmental contacts between EU states and Cuba.
In Havana, the European embassies have become a focal point for a campaign to further the policy of limiting diplomatic relations with Cuban representatives.
This is the obvious result of the decision taken to invite so - called ‘dissident’ groups into the EU embassies. This decision has, to all intents and purposes, placed European ambassadors in Havana at the service of the US Interests Section.
There are those in the US and here who are making a determined effort to isolate and undermine Cuba. Some are trying to make the illegal blockade somehow respectable. This could in turn eventually lead to a military threat against the island.
It is time now for the British and US Governments to be told yet again – Cuba is an independent, sovereign nation and we must respect their rights to determine their future free from foreign interference and aggression.
That is why we have launched the Hands off Cuba Campaign.
What has already been done
We have recently held meetings with our friends in the Trade Unions and in Parliament to discuss the campaign. The outcomes of these discussions are already taking shape.
CSC produced a special ‘Hands off Cuba’ conference edition of Cuba Si, featuring articles by a number of leading Trade Unionists as well as Parliamentarians from the three major political parties including Angela Smith, Minister for Northern Ireland, Lord Moynihan and Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael.
The edition showed the breadth of support that exists for Cuba and against the blockade and threats of aggression. Thousands of copies have been distributed to delegates at the TUC, Liberal Democrat and Labour Party conferences and have been received very well. If you would like a copy you can get one by sending a stamped addressed A4 envelope (34p stamp) to CSC.
The TUC itself unanimously passed an historic motion calling for the defence of Cuba and opposing any aggression (the full text of the motion can be found on page 15 of this magazine).
Most importantly it urged TUC-affiliated unions to affiliate to the CSC.
Would your local Member of Parliament support military action against Cuba by the United States ?
What you can do now
We have produced thousands of ‘Hands off Cuba’ campaign postcards, one of which has been enclosed with this edition of CubaSi. The card is divided into three sections.
n We are asking all our members and friends to send the postcards to their local Members of Parliament. All you need to do is attach a stamp and fill in the name of your local MP. Then add in your own details and send the card off.
n The second card is to send to us at CSC so we can record all the correspondence and coordinate the campaign. The aim is to get hundreds of responses from MPs to the question:
‘Would you support military action against Cuba by the United States?’
MPs are most likely to respond to correspondence from one of their constituents.
Please send details of these responses, include positive, negative and no comments, to us at CSC.
We will be able to publish lists of all those MPs who are prepared to make clear their position on any possible US aggression against Cuba. Most importantly, the British Government will soon realise that there is real opposition to any military threat to Cuba from the British people and their Parliamentary representatives.
If your MP does not respond CSC has produced a draft follow-up letter that can be sent in your name. This is available from the office on request.
The next stage
Once we have collected responses we will be able to:
facilitate questions and debate in Parliament.
secure media coverage for the campaign. Wherever an MP signs up we will help to get local media coverage by producing appropriate press releases and helping contact local papers.
organise ‘Hands Off Cuba’ meetings around the country where we can invite MPs to put their views (A full colour A3 poster is available from the CSC office and has space for advertising any meetings you may be organising).
help build a broad-based, mass campaign, to defend Cuba from any possible military threat from the US.
Badges, posters, T- shirts are available from the office.
There are thousands of campaign postcards available on request from the CSC office.
For people in Cuba to know that there is real opposition from people in this country to any aggression will help them in their determination to defend their hard-won sovereignty and independence.
The ‘Hands off Cuba’ campaign is still being developed so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your ideas to further this campaign.
But, before you do that please remember to send off the campaign postcard to your MP.
In future editions of CubaSi we will update you on the campaign. We look forward to hearing from you.