Cuban Foreign Minister Perez Roque said, on Friday, that Washington's 50-year-old blockade is the main obstacle hindering development in the country and is making it more difficult for the Cuban people to recover from the devastation that resulted from the hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
Today members of the Kiwi arts community, (Jean Betts, Russell Campbell, Mark Derby, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Wanjiku Kiarie, Dean Parker, Rolando Olmedo, Martyn Sanderson and the Equuslive Collective) have launched a petition urging the active engagement by the New Zealand government in addressing this urgent issue.
Below is the new post on the solidarity webpage explaining all and, below that, some suggestions of action you could take.
Con Cuba hoy- Kiwi arts community goes one step further
"Playwrights, poets, film makers and musicians have rallied to a request from their Cuban colleagues to call on the US to lift the economic blockade and in doing so have gone one step further and initiated a petition calling on the New Zealand Government to take decisive action to aid the Cuban people in the face of the devastation wrought by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
The petition coordinator, film director and playwright Paul Maunder, has called others in the Kiwi cultural community to "assert their solidarity as a national grouping" and request the Prime Minister to grant immediate aid to Cuba and intensify its efforts to have the US blockade of the country lifted.
The recent hurricanes have left Cuba devastated and it will take billions of dollars for Cuba to recover. A recovery Paul notes "that is made hugely more expensive and problematic because of the hypocritical US economic blockade of the country."
"For some reason, Cuban's 'human rights failings' (which includes presumably their ability to cope with these hurricanes with less loss of life than any of the other countries afflicted, including the US) means that this small but significant country, must be punished further, now that they have been punished so severely by the politically indifferent hurricanes."
The petition calls on the NZ Government:
(i) to actively urge the US to lift the blockade,
(ii) to grant Cuba immediate aid,
(iii) and to be willing to support NGO agencies in the usual manner, if any wish to activate an aid programme with Cuba.
Included among the petition initiators are Jean Betts, Russell Campbell, Mark Derby, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Wanjiku Kiarie, Dean Parker, Rolando Olmedo, Martyn Sanderson and the Equuslive collective.
The petition is here
The Artists call is here
Action you could take:
Circulate this broadly
Urge the artists, writers, musicians, poets, etc, that you know, to sign on
Circulate this to your local media/ drop copies at your favourite café
Raise the issues relating to the blockade with your MP and/or other election candidates
Raise the issues relating to the blockade at union / community group / sports club meetings
Urge your favourite aid agency / NGO to get involved
Cuba Solidarity Christchurch