Delivered by Banbose Shango
Nation co-chair, National Network on Cuba and Organizer, All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC)
Sisters and Brothers, Comrades and Friends,
I bring you greetings from your fellow solidarity workers, living and struggling in the “belly of the beast”, the United States; I bring you greetings from the African American community, where we are murdered every 38th hours by the police (public and private, according to recent releases finding by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement). I bring you greetings from the over 3 million prisoners, mass-incarcerated in the US’s PIPC (Prison Industrial Police Complex), prisoners of conscience, prisoners of war and political prisoners, including the “cinco heroes, held in the largest public/private prison system (4,575 + prisons) in the world. I bring you greetings from our Latino brothers and sisters, fighting against ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement); walls of discrimination, exploitation and xenophobia, and against the border walls. I bring you greetings from the 99%, the occupy movement, struggling against big capital the 1%. I bring you the greetings and the respect of the National Network on Cuba and their member organizations.
The National Network on Cuba is an umbrella, if you will, of most of the movements, organizations and parties working in solidarity with Cuba in the USA. Our member organization has varying methods, objectives and tactics, but all respect the sovereignty of the Cuban people, their right of self-determination, which demands that Cuba has a right to their own government formation, their own system and their own social order. That Cuba has a rights to secure and sustainable development, free of interference and sabotage from the USA.
Our members travel regularly with or without approval of the State Department (license) to Cuba and will continue to do so until the racist, illegal and unjust travel ban is lifted. Our member, join the masses of the world, who every year for the past 20 years at the United Nations, resolve that the United States must lift its unilateral embargo and blockade on Cuba. Our members have monitored legislations about Cuba and lobbied against the negative ones and for the positive ones. Our member organizations are in the forefront of the struggle to free the Cuban Five, unjustly imprisoned in the USA.
We thank the Cuban people and their government, for what they have done for the world, for what they have done for humanity, and for what they have done for the children. It is with deep respect and envy that we recall that during the special period, 1992, that Cuba while undergoing tremendous financial hardship, could report that: “Cuba did not close one school; they did not close one hospital”. In the USA with any financial calamity, the first to be cut and closed are the schools and hospital and the social safety nets. We again thank Cuba for the offer to send doctors and medical personnel to the US during hurricane Katrina and hurricane Sandy. We thank Cuba for giving free scholarship to minority and under-privilege students in the USA to study at the prestigious Latin American School of Medicine (ELAN) in Havana, Cuba. And we thank Cuba for what it has done for South and Central America, and the Caribbean and the world. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Cuban people, their party the CPC and their farsighted and iconic leadership especially Fidel and Raul Castro.
We want to make it perfectly clear that we see the contradictions rising up in the USA and have contrasted them to Cuba, where a Yani Sanchez can leave Cuba go on an international speaking tour, funded by the Cuban mafia in Miami and Spain and the US governments’ NED, telling horrible lies about Cuba, and return to Cuba without any harassment or obstruction from the Cuban government. Yet a Bradley Manning is held in jail and tortured for exposing the US’s war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan. A grandmother, Assata Shakur, living in Cuba, has a $2 million bounty placed on her head by the FBI for struggling for Black Liberation in the 1970’s in the USA. Yet the US still refuses to expedite terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to serve time for his Crimes against humanity. Edward Snowden, who exposed the US spy network NSA spying on US citizens and the world, is being hunted by the US-NATO coalition, leading to the kidnapping of Bolivia’ president Evo Morales, over Europe in July. Yet the US continues it’s war against the people and against the environment.
We want to thank the Organizing Committee of the VII Continental Solidarity Conference, the National Movement of Friendship and Mutual Solidarity Venezuela-Cuba (Movimiento Nacional De Amistad y Solidaridad Mutua Venezuela-Cuba) We know the hard work, the logistical coordination, the time and patience it takes to carry out an endeavor of this magnitude. We are honored to be in Venezuela on the exact anniversary date of the birth of two of South America greatest Liberators: Simon Bolivar (July 24, 1783) and Hugo Chavez (July 28, 1954). We thank the PSUV (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela) for hosting us and for providing the meeting spaces. We salute President Nicholas Maduro, and feel that the revolution initiated by President Hugo Chavez is in good hands. May the union of Venezuela and Cuba and the other ALBA countries continue.
We praise the recent announcement that Venezuela is preparing an air defense capable of withstanding an attack from the empire. We are sure that Venezuela is aware of the new model of warfare being practiced by the empire which includes, but is not limited to traditional military forces, special force units, mercenaries, in country assets, robotics, and computerize social networking, all at the same time. Inside the USA, Venezuela like Cuba has our full support and solidarity.