London, June 15, 2022- Under the title "60 years is too much. Lift the blockade on Cuba", the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) yesterday organized an event within the framework of the UNISON union's annual conference in the city from Brighton.
In an auditorium of more than 100 people, the Island's Ambassador, Bárbara Montalvo Álvarez, recalled that Cuba has faced the Covid-19 pandemic in the midst of an unprecedented tightening of the blockade. It has been a huge effort, in a very complicated economic situation, she said. She cited examples of the impact of Washington's policies for the Cuban people and for third countries. She mentioned that "when the oxygen plant broke down at the height of the pandemic, it took us four months to get the necessary part because we had to look for it in a more distant market and with a higher price."
At the same time, he thanked the accompaniment of the international solidarity movement, especially trade unionists and British citizens in general who have contributed to the CSC's fundraising initiatives to buy parts and pieces for lung ventilators, raw materials, medicines and other important supplies. She highlighted that precisely members of the UNISON union supported Cuba in the 1990s by donating several ambulances and, again in this complex context, they have contributed to the acquisition of protective equipment and other materials for the Island.
The regional secretary of the UNISON union in the northwest of England, Kevan Nelson, who chaired the panel, stressed that despite the support of the international community for lifting the blockade, this policy is still in force and causes enormous difficulties for Cubans.
Rob Miller, director of the CSC, reiterated that Cuba has faced in recent years the shortcomings and limitations caused by the intensification of the blockade, the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of the last two on the tourism sector, of vital importance for the Cuban economy. He highlighted that despite these factors, Cuba continues to show achievements in the region in the areas of health and education, mentioning the development of vaccines against Covid-19, among other important indicators.
Miller also referred to the extraterritorial component of the blockade, as it is a policy that affects companies and individuals from third countries in their transactions with the Island. He mentioned as examples the difficulties that the Campaign itself has faced in sending donations to Cuba for treatment of Covid patients.
Micaela Tracey Ramos, a young British trade unionist, commented on her positive experiences as part of the May 1 International Brigade.
UNISON is one of the largest unions in the UK with around 1.3 million public service members. It has traditionally maintained friendly relations with the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba and supported the exchange of delegations.