Thousands of dollars raised for Cuba
By Eliseo Balcazar and Scott Lewington
MELBOURNE — Four hundred and fifty people attended a July 30 celebration commemorating the 35th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. The event, organised by the Cuban Solidarity Coalition, raised thousands of dollars to buy milk for Cuba's children.
The Cuban Consul Marcellino Farjado pointed out that millions of Cubans have been adversely affected by the United States' blockade of the island. He listed many basic items including food, milk, medicines and medical equipment, paper, oil, pencils, books, that are in short supply.
Farjado said that Cubans are resorting to creative, but often rudimentary, solutions such as the substitution of bicycles for cars, the extraction of biochemistry products from indigenous plants for medicines, solar energy and permaculture.
US President Bill Clinton promised during his election campaign to end the blockade against Cuba; since coming to office he has tightened it in an attempt to strangle the revolution.
Farjado stressed that the Cuban revolution will never be defeated because the alternatives — Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti and Nicaragua — are too horrible to contemplate. "It is hypocritical for the United States to talk about human rights in Cuba when they condemn the Cuban people to such hardships despite overwhelming opposition from the world community."
The US was one of only four countries in the United Nations to vote for the blockade. Even Australia, which normally abstains, voted against the blockade.
Bill Mason reports from Brisbane that more than 200 people attended the annual cabaret sponsored by the Committees in Solidarity with Latin America and the Caribbean on July 16, which raised some $1000 for CISLAC aid projects in Cuba and Nicaragua. Featured musicians included visiting Cuban percussionist Jacinto Herrera, supported by Sue Monk and Lachlan Hurse, and the lively Afro-Caribbean band Cubata.
In Sydney, a very successful Latin American Dance Party attended by some 300 people on August 6, also raised funds for Cuba, community projects in Nicaragua and Green Left Weekly. The event, which featured Cubana-Oz, Papalotte and Canto Libre, was jointly organised by the Committees in Solidarity with Latin America and the Caribbean and the Democratic Socialist Party.