Cuban Ambassador Tanieris Dieguez told a packed May Day Toast to the Cuban Revolution at the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) offices that the day is a “moment of national unity” despite the “many challenges”.
“May 1 is a moment of national unity in Cuba, as we celebrate the many achievements of our revolution — despite the many challenges facing us, largely because of the illegal US blockade lasting more than 60 years.”
More than 60 people attended the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society (ACFS) event to hear from the Ambassador, solidarity campaigners, unionists and the Trade Union choir.
Lucy Nunez, Australian spokesperson for the Cuban Literacy for Life Foundation, gave details about her work in training First Nations people to teach English literacy to their communities. The training is based on the “Yes I Can” program, which Cuba now sponsors in more than 30 countries around the world.
Dr John Falzon, formerly from the St Vincent de Paul Society, spoke movingly about the contrast between capitalism which, he said, means “poverty and homelessness” whereas socialism produces “a surplus of love”.
“Cuba teaches us that we have the right to look after each other,” Falzon said. “Cuba is a great teacher: it shows us the example of internationalism and of solidarity with all the peoples of the world.”
Paul Keating, MUA Sydney branch secretary, stressed the importance of international support for the Cuban Revolution. He said Cuban workers had the strong backing of veterans of the MUA.
The Trade Union Choir and a Latin American band provided the music. Funds raised from the event will support a planned tour of Australia by Cuban medical specialists later this year.
“The Cuban people are a people of international solidarity,” Dieguez said, “Our slogan is: ‘We share what we have’. Thank you all for standing with Cuba, and supporting our struggle.”