Normalize Relations with Cuba
End the Blockade of Cuba Now! Salute Cuba’s Victory at the United Nations
The Blockade Against Cuba is a Unilateral and Criminal Policy
African Opposition to U.S. Blockade
Growing Opposition to the Genocidal Blockade
Abandon the Cuba Blockade
Representative McGovern Called for U.S. to Abstain on Cuba Vote
Richmond, California Mayor Welcomes National Network On Cuba

187 Countries Vote with Cuba

End the Blockade of Cuba Now!
Salute Cuba’s Victory at the United Nations

The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly denounced the U.S. blockade of Cuba on October 28. The General Assembly voted on a resolution based on a report by Cuba concerning the genocidal impact of the blockade, its measures contrary to international law and the UN Charter, and called for the U.S. to end the blockade. Of the UN’s 192 member states, the vote was 187 countries for, 3 against — the U.S., Israel and Palau — and only two abstentions, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia. Palau, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia are all U.S. dependencies. The Ambassador for Palau is a U.S. citizen, who also has Israeli citizenship. Thus the U.S. and Israel are completely isolated in their stand to continue the blockade.

The vote saw two more countries than last year join those voting in favor of the resolution, Iraq and El Salvador. This has been the trend over the 18 years the United Nations has voted on a resolution to lift the blockade, as more and more countries stand with Cuba.

Voice of Revolution congratulates the Cuban people on this victory against the U.S. blockade and for her determined stand to follow her own path despite every effort of the U.S. to return Cuba to a colonial state. The growing support for Cuba worldwide and in the U.S. is based on her many actions to support the peoples of the world and to stand firm in defending her sovereignty. She provides healthcare and education to her own people, while being known worldwide for sending doctors abroad, and educators to assist in eliminating illiteracy, and hurricane relief teams, and much more. As Americans returning from trips to Cuba bring out, “Cuba sends doctors abroad and trains doctors for free, including those from the U.S. unable to afford medical school. She does not send bombs, she does not train death squads and torturers. The fact that Cuba has persisted and advanced in her nation-building project in the face of 50 years of unending interference and efforts to crush her by the U.S. is an achievement we applaud and defend. We denounce all the U.S. efforts and call on President Barack Obama to implement the “new chapter” in relations he has talked about. We want relations of friendship and mutual respect and benefit, not illegal blockades and efforts to impose regime change. End the Blockade Against Cuba Now! Lift the Ban on Travel to Cuba! Support Friendship between the U.S. and Cuban peoples.

Far from opening a new chapter, Obama recently extended for another year the listing of Cuba under the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA), which prohibits trade between U.S. companies and Cuba. It is one of many acts contributing to the effort to bring Cuba to her knees, and to force other countries to submit to the U.S. demands. In addition to voting against the UN resolution and defending its blockade despite the overwhelming opposition of the world, the Obama administration has said the U.S. will continue to use the blockade to force Cuba to submit. This past March at the “Progressive Summit” in Chile, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden declared that “The U.S. will maintain the embargo as a tool to apply pressure on Cuba.” He said that the U.S. is undertaking “a transition in our policy towards Cuba.” But he quickly revealed the content of this “transition” by adding, “We think the Cuban people should determine their own fate and that they should be able to live in freedom and with some prospect of economic prosperity.” According to this imperialist logic, in order for the Cuban people to “live in freedom” and have “the prospect of economic prosperity,” the U.S. must reinforce the economic, financial and commercial blockade, prevent trade between Cuba and other countries, fund known terrorists in Miami, prevent Americans from traveling to and learning about Cuba, and force the entire population to suffer the consequences of the blockade for 50 years. This is not “freedom” or “democracy,” it is U.S. imperialist dictate that has no place in the modern world. Now is the time for relations of mutual respect and benefit, with Cuba and all the world.

As a result of the U.S. blockade, Cuba has suffered cumulative economic damage amounting to $96 billion or $236.2 billion, adjusted for inflation. It impacts the health and education of Cuba’s youth, the food supply for the country, and its ability to recover from the devastating impact of hurricanes last year, and more. And this brutal attack on Cuba has not changed since Obama took office. Indeed in defending the U.S. vote Ambassador Susan Rice claimed that the blockade was not a form of genocide, and was simply a matter of U.S.-Cuba relations. This despite country after country, from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, denouncing the interference in their trade with Cuba caused by the U.S. blockade. And despite the documented evidence from Cuba that the blockade does indeed constitute genocide, as it is “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group,” referring to a human group, and “is deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” These are both UN definitions of genocide and the blockade is certainly doing both and has been for decades.

Far from defending genocide it is time for the Obama administration to in actual deeds open a new chapter instead of pursuing old and failed policies. Voice of Revolution calls on all to learn more about Cuba, to join in opposing the Cuba blockade and to stand with Cuba as she pursues her own course and provides an example of the internationalist spirit and social change needed.


Cuba's Foreign Affairs Minister Rodríguez Parrilla

The Blockade Against Cuba is a Unilateral and Criminal Policy

We reprint below the speech by Cuba's Foreign Affairs Minister Rodriguez Parilla at the United Nations General Assembly, October 28, in response primarily to the U.S. speech by Ambassador Susan Rice preceding the vote calling on the U.S. to lift the blockade of Cuba.

I feel obligated to respond to the speeches given by the United States, the European Union, and Norway. I should say to the European Union that Cuba recognizes absolutely no moral authority to dictate models or give advice on the matter of democracy. I want to remind it of its complicity in the acts of torture that occurred at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib and reiterate that as long as it maintains a two-faced and hypocritical position, it will not enjoy any credibility.

Mrs. Rice, who unfortunately is not here in the room at the moment, started out by saying “here we go again.” With that phrase she recognized what 17 representatives from the United States have come to do in the past.

I respect her opinions and recognize that her career is totally distinct from that of a neoconservative like Bolton; but she has had the sad task of defending the policy of the blockade here, which began, according to a classified memo, on April 6, 1960 with the professed aim of causing hunger, desperation, and discouragement among the Cuban people.

The only remnant of the Cold War that has been discussed here is precisely the blockade. Lift the blockade and that remnant will disappear.

Mr. President:

Cuba is a democracy that is closer to Lincoln’s principles, with a government of the people, by the people and for the people, than the plutocracy or government of the rich that operates in this country.

Here, the U.S. representative described as dissidents or political prisoners those who in reality are agents of a foreign power, mercenaries paid by the U.S. government. If they want to talk about political prisoners, they should free the five Cuba antiterrorist heroes, subjected to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in U.S. prisons.

Mr. President:

Mrs. Rice has said that the word genocide is inappropriate for describing the blockade. I quote Article 2, paragraphs b) and c) of the 1948 Geneva Convention against the Crime of Genocide.

Paragraph b) “Genocide is causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group,” referring to a human group.

Paragraph c) “Genocide is deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” I recommend that the State Department study that Convention better.

The blockade against Cuba is a unilateral and criminal policy that also has to be lifted unilaterally. It is not reasonable, just, or possible to wait for gestures from Cuba for an end to the criminal application of measures against the Cuban people, including its children and elderly, from the examples that I have described here.

The United States should lift the blockade and it should lift it now; first, because Cuba is not blockading the United States or occupying any portion of its territory with a military base, nor is it discriminating against its citizens or businesses; and, in the second place, it should do so because it is in the best interest of the United States itself and the will of U.S. citizens.

A free flow of information was addressed. Lift the ban on U.S. citizens to travel freely to Cuba, respect their right to freedom to travel. Lift the blockade against Cuba in the areas of technology and information; permit better connectivity with our country; export software and information technology to Cuba and there could be advancement in this field.

Mrs. Rice has mentioned constructive advances. It’s true that there have been a few steps in the correct direction, strictly limited to the relations between Cubans that live in the United States and their native country, but they have nothing to do with, nor do they mean or signify, any loosening of the blockade. They are correct steps but extremely limited and insufficient.

The blockade is not a bilateral question. Its extraterritorial application has been clearly shown with the many examples presented.

Mrs. Rice has mentioned the proposal to continue having exchanges and dialogue between the two countries, which had been proposed many years ago by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro and publicly reiterated several times by President Raúl Castro. If that is what the United States desires, it should respond to the proposal of an agenda for bilateral dialogue, presented by Cuba to that government on July 17, 2009.

Mr. President:

Mrs. Susan Rice said in August at New York University that “the United States leads by example, acknowledges mistakes, corrects course when necessary, forges strategies in partnership and treats others with respect.” She also said during that speech: “we are demonstrating that the United States is willing to listen, respect differences, and consider new ideas.” It’s deeply surprising to me that Mrs. Rice has had to say the opposite this morning.

Thank you very much.

(Translated by Granma International, October 29, 2009,


African Opposition to U.S. Blockade

A representative of Cuba to the United Nations, Rodolfo Benitez, noted in a speech to the UN General Assembly the support of Africa in confronting the U.S. blockade imposed on Cuba by the U.S. for the past half-century, Prensa Latina reported on October 22.

Benitez pointed out that Africa has closed ranks on 17 occasions, voting in the Assembly to oppose the blockade and demand recognition of the Cuban people’s right to decide their own future. He expressed his certainty that this -support would continue at the vote on this year’s resolution against the blockade on October 28.

Benitez pointed out the profound ties that have lasted more than five centuries between Cuba and Africa, saying that it is impossible to imagine the political, historical and cultural of Cuba without recalling the mark left by Africa “on our genes and social life.”

Referring to this matter he expressed Cuba’s homage to the memory of the rebellious spirit of African ethnic groups such as the lucumíes, carabalíes, congos, gangas, mandingas, minas, bibíes and yorubas.

The Cuban people are direct and natural heirs of the bravery and culture of resistance of Africa, which has fought heroically for centuries against challenges and threats that still exist today, he said.

He recalled that more than 381,000 Cuban soldiers and officials marched selflessly in defense of the integrity and sovereignty of African nations for almost three decades.


Growing Opposition to the Genocidal Blockade

From the Report submitted to the United Nations by Cuba on the blockade, titled “The Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Blockade Imposed by the U.S.A. Against Cuba.”

In the last few months, international attention to the subject of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Cuba has increased. Clearly the demand that the embargo against Cuba be eliminated and that the policy of hostility cease against a small country is stronger and firmer than ever before.

Last October 29, for the seventeenth consecutive time, the UN General Assembly adopted, with the overwhelming majority of member states the resolution “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” (63/7), with the highest vote that this resolution has reached in that UN body.

The General Assembly, with the favorable vote of 185 of its members, categorically reiterated the call to discontinue this illegal and genocidal policy being imposed by the government of the United States on the people of Cuba. That backing by the international community is consistent with its rejection of the application of economic, commercial and financial measures with extra-territorial effects and that are contrary to international law and to the principles of the UN Charter. Many voices in the world were raised in favor of ceasing this inhuman policy. During the period this report is dealing with, numerous statements were made calling for the end of this policy. Among these, the most outstanding are:

On May 16, 2008, the declaration of the V Latin America and Caribbean-European Union Summit held in Lima Peru was adopted. In one of its paragraphs the Heads of State and Government in both regions agreed to the following: “(...) We firmly reject all the coercive measures, of a unilateral dimension and extra-territorial effect that are contrary to International Law and the norms generally accepted for free trade. We reaffirm our well-known positions about the application of the extra-territorial regulations of the Helms-Burton Act.”

On October 3, 2008, the Heads of State or Government of the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP), meeting at their 6th Summit Conference held in Ghana, approved the Declaration of Accra in which it “condemned the use of coercive unilateral measures such as illegal sanctions adopted against certain developing countries with the purpose of preventing said countries from exercising their right to determine their political, economic and social system and they reject the application of laws and unilateral and extra-territorial measures contrary to international law, such as the Helms-Burton Act.” […]

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Non-Aligned Movement [115 countries worldwide] on the occasion of the Ministerial Meeting of the Movement Coordination Bureau held in Havana, April 27-30, 2009, “reiterated once again their call on the government of the United States to end the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba that, besides being unilateral and contrary to the UN Charter, international law, as well as the good neighbor principle, causes great material losses and economic damage to the people of Cuba.” Moreover: “once again they urged strict compliance with resolutions [calling for the lifting of the blockade] 47/19, 48/16, 49/9, 50/10, 51/17, 52/10, 53/4, 54/21, 55/20, 56/9, 57/11, 58/7, 59/11, 60/12, 61/11, 62/3 and 63/7 of the United Nations General Assembly;” “they expressed their profound concern for the growing extra-territorial dimension of the embargo against Cuba.”

In the declaration of the VI Extraordinary ALBA Summit-Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) held in Maracay, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on June 24, 2009, the Heads of State or Government of the member countries “ratified their absolute condemnation of the economic, commercial and financial embargo of the United States against Cuba and they reiterated their call for this to be eliminated, immediately and unconditionally.”

Opposition to the embargo is also growing significantly in the United States. On May 8, 2008, the Committee for Tourism and Trips of the Alabama House of Representatives approved a resolution in which they requested President Bush, the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Congress to lift the restrictions on trips to Cuba, especially from the state of Alabama.

From September 23 to 25, 2008, Zogby International and Inter-American Dialogue carried out a survey of 2,700 U.S. voters about different subjects that affect Latin America. Regarding Cuba, the survey found out that around 60 percent of the people surveyed were in favor of the U.S. revising its policy towards Cuba and allowing trade between U.S. companies and that country. Also, 68 percent supported the idea that all Americans should be able to travel to Cuba. On October 17, 2008, the U.S. magazine Science published an editorial, signed by the Secretary of International Relations of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba and his peer in the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S. in which they advocate the lifting of the restrictions to a bilateral academia exchange. […]

On December 4, 2008, a group of trade, travel and agriculture-related organizations and associations sent a letter to President Obama entitled “Re-examining U.S. policy towards Cuba;” in the letter they requested that he go further than his campaign promises and carry out a broader review of American policy. The letter was signed by the authorized representatives of 12 organizations, among them the U.S. Agriculture Federation, the American Society of Travel Agents, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Foreign Trade Council and U.S.A. Engage. That same day, the U.S. Travel agent association, ASTA, asked the president-elect, Barack Obama, to eliminate all travel restrictions to Cuba.

In November 2008, the Group of Studies on Cuba (GEC) and the Brookings Institution, funded a survey carried out by the International University of Florida (FIU) during the three weeks following the presidential election, with the aim of measuring the opinions of Cuban-Americans about U.S. policy towards Cuba. The survey revealed that, on the subject of remittances, 65 percent of the people surveyed were in favor of a return to the pre-2003 conditions; 66 percent supported re-establishing trips for Cuba-Americans, while 67 percent showed that they were in favor of the elimination of the restrictions imposed on all American citizens. 79 percent considered that the embargo was not working and 55 percent were opposed to the idea that it continues to be applied. 65 percent favored re-establishing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba and 79 percent were of the opinion that both governments ought to establish a direct dialogue on subjects of mutual interest.

On February 23, 2009, the document titled “Changing the policy towards Cuba in the national interest of the United States” was released, drawn up by the office of Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and circulated in the Senate plenary and, in particular, to members of the Foreign Relations Committee. After acknowledging the failure of the U.S. policy towards Cuba, the report presents a series of recommendations. Among these, the outstanding ones are: replace the conditionality of the U.S. approach by a rapprochement or progressive commitment; lift the restrictions on trips and remittances for Cuba-Americans; and, review the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts, along with the reports of the Commission for Aid to a Free Cuba. Moreover, it proposed to re-establish bilateral conversations, establish cooperation strategies in the area of migration and the war on drugs and to make more flexible the measures being applied in the economic area. On February 23, fourteen congressmen signed a letter to President Obama in which they supported “free trade between Cuba and the U.S.,” arguing for the economic advantages that could result for both nations.


Abandon the Cuba Blockade

On October 28, the United Nations General Assembly is expected to vote on a resolution condemning the United States embargo against Cuba. If past is prologue, it will pass resoundingly. The General Assembly has adopted similar measures in each of the last seventeen years; in 2008, by a margin of 185-3. But that was a condemnation of an embargo enforced, energetically and unapologetically, by the administration of George W. Bush. The vote this year takes place for the first time on President Obama's watch, and so has special significance.

The Secretary-General has prepared a public report that catalogues what UN members and UN organizations say about the embargo. That report can be downloaded here.

This document is a powerful reminder that the U.S. embargo is viewed internationally with great seriousness and in ways that are deeply damaging to U.S. interests and our image overseas.

Lest anyone think this policy is only provocative to nations in the non-aligned world, its opponents include Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, the European Union, India, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Russia.

They are plain-spoken in their opposition. Australia reminds us it votes "consistently" against the embargo. Brazil says it is the "Cuban people who suffer the most from the blockade." China says the embargo "serves no purpose other than to keep tensions high between two neighboring countries and inflict tremendous hardship and suffering on the people of Cuba, especially women and children." Egypt and India condemn the extra-territorial reach of our sanctions, which Japan says run "counter to the provisions of international law." Mexico calls these measures coercive. Russia "rejects" the embargo. Nations across the planet have enacted laws making it illegal for their companies to comply.

Our policy is especially controversial in our own hemisphere, where the U.S. alone is without diplomatic relations with Cuba, and where forum after forum — including the Rio Group, the Ibero-American Summit, the Heads of State of Latin America and the Caribbean, and CARICOM — has rejected the embargo and called for its repeal.

Beyond our diplomatic interests, the report forces us to move beyond the stale, political debate in which the embargo is most often framed and to confront the significant injuries this policy inflicts on ordinary Cubans.

It reminds us:

The embargo stops Cuba from obtaining diagnostic equipment or replacement parts for equipment used in the detection of breast, colon, and prostate cancer.

The embargo stops Cuba from obtaining patented materials that are needed for pediatric cardiac surgery and the diagnosis of pediatric illnesses.

The embargo prevents Cuba from purchasing antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV-AIDS from U.S. sources of the medication.

The embargo stops Cuba from obtaining needed supplies for the diagnosis of Downs' Syndrome.

Under the embargo, Cuba cannot buy construction materials from the nearby U.S. market to assist in its hurricane recovery.

While food sales are legal, regulatory impediments drive up the costs of commodities that Cuba wants to buy from U.S. suppliers, and forces them in many cases to turn to other more expensive and distant sources of nutrition for their people. Because our market is closed to their goods, Cuba cannot sell products like coffee, honey, tobacco, live lobsters and other items that would provide jobs and opportunities for average Cubans.

This list, abbreviated for space, is actually much longer, more vivid and troubling, as the report documents case after case of how our embargo affects daily life in Cuba. And for what reason? Because it will someday force the Cuban government to dismantle its system? As a bargaining chip? These arguments have proven false and futile over the decades and what the UN has been trying to tell us since 1992 is that they should be abandoned.

And yet, it is now the Obama administration supporting and enforcing the embargo — still following Bush-era rules that thwart U.S. agriculture sales; still levying stiff penalties for violations of the regulations; still stopping prominent Cubans from visiting the United States; still refusing to use its executive authority to allow American artists, the faith community, academics, and other proponents of engagement and exchange to visit Cuba as representatives of our country and its ideals.

To his credit, President Obama has taken some useful steps to change U.S. policy toward Cuba. He repealed the cruel Bush administration rules on family travel that divided Cuban families. He joined efforts by the OAS to lift Cuba's suspension from that organization. He has opened a direct channel of negotiations with Cuba's government on matters that include migration, resuming direct mail service, and relaxing the restrictions that Cuban and U.S. diplomats face in doing their jobs in each of our nation's capitals.

This is a start, but more — much more — needs to be done. Not because the UN says so, but because our country needs to embrace the world not as we found it in 1959 — or in 2008 — but as it exists today. President Obama can do this. Our times demand that he do so.


Representative McGovern Called for U.S. to Abstain on Cuba Vote

U.S. Congressional Representative James P. McGovern urged the U.S. to abstain from the vote on the Cuba blockade rather than vote no. For the past 18 years the UN has voted to call on the U.S. to end the genocidal blockade, the U.S. has voted no. Many other nations began by abstaining and then moved to a no vote, with the vote this year being the largest so far, 187 yes, 3 no and three abstentions. An abstention would be an indication of a shift in policy, consistent with what President Barack Obama has said, but not actually done. We reprint Congressman McGovern’s letter to UN Ambassador Susan E. Rice below.

* * *

October 23 2009
Ambassador Susan E. Rice
U.S. Representative to the UN
Dear Ambassador Rice:

As you are aware, on Wednesday, October 28, the United Nations will once again take up the annual resolution calling for an end to the embargo against Cuba. Judging from years past, the UN General Assembly will cast a near unanimous vote in favor of the resolution, with very few members opposing the resolution, including the United States.

I am writing to suggest an alternative: for the United States to abstain.

I do not make this suggestion lightly, but rather to use what has, in general, been a moment to castigate or mock U.S. policy towards Cuba and Latin America as an opportunity to signal that the United States is considering all options in how it will conduct its relations with Cuba in the coming years. Such an action — and explanation — would only reinforce the statements already made by the President and the Secretary of State: that the door is open to mutual cooperation, confidence-building, and more. It would also signal to the rest of the hemisphere that the United States has indeed listened to the voices of Latin America, as expressed earlier this year at the Summit of the Americas and at the first general assembly meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS), and is responsive and sensitive to the concerns raised regarding U.S. policy and posture towards Cuba.

Finally, it would signal to the Cuban government and its people that if they enter into a process of mutual regard and cooperation, the United States is serious about changing its posture over time towards the island.

I realize that even abstaining on this vote is a radical departure from past policy — but I believe that is exactly what is needed at this current moment in history. We can take advantage of the opportunity provided by this annual debate and vote to underscore and emphasize in concrete terms for the international community the open-minded review of U.S.-Cuba policy that the President and his foreign policy team are currently undertaking.

I urge the most serious consideration of this suggestion, and I would be happy to discuss it further with you prior to the October 28th vote.


James P. McGovern
Member of Congress

cc: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State
Thomas A. Shannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs


Richmond, California Mayor Welcomes National Network On Cuba

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond, California will welcome the National Network on Cuba (NNOC) on the occasion of its meeting in the northern San Francisco Bay-area city October 30-November 1, 2009. The NNOC is a broad, eighteen year old network of over thirty U.S. organizations that engage with Cuba and work for change in U.S. policy towards our island neighbor.

According to Network Co-Chair Sobukwe Shukura, "The NNOC meeting comes at an important moment as Congress prepares to consider legislation that would eliminate restrictions on travel to Cuba for all living under U.S. jurisdiction."

"Richmond is a great location to meet, given the city's long history with Cuba, including its Sister City relationship with Regla, Cuba," adds Shukura.

Mayor McLaughlin recently guided a resolution through the Richmond City Council calling for the release of the "Cuban Five," five Cuban men incarcerated in U.S. prisons who came to the United States during the 1990s in order to help prevent right wing organizations in south Florida from committing acts of terrorism against Cuba. The Council also called for full visitation rights for the wives of two of the Five, Olga Salanueva and Adriana Perez, married to Rene Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez, respectively.

The meeting of the National Network on Cuba will focus on several items.

First, Cuba and the second US Social Forum, scheduled for June 22-26, 2010 in Detroit Michigan. For ten years Cuban NGOs have played a pivotal role in the World Social Forum movement. However, due to severe U.S. restrictions on entry by Cubans to the country, such Cuban institutions were prevented from participating in the 2007 USSF in Atlanta, which was attended by over 12,000 social justice activists and organizers from throughout the country and from over 80 countries around the world. The NNOC will work to bring to Detroit efforts that will highlight inhumane U.S. policies towards Cuba, and to make intersections with the prison industrial complex, gender oppression and aggressive U.S. foreign policy towards the Global South.

Second, U.S. laws that prevent citizens from traveling legally to Cuba, and policies in place that greatly limit the entry of Cubans to the U.S. This past summer, several NNOC members organized the largest "Travel Challenge" in years to Cuba, during which 230 people defied Treasury Department restrictions and visited the island. The Travel Challenge, conducted by the Venceremos Brigade, Pastors for Peace, the US-Cuba Labor Exchange and others, reflects the growing momentum to eliminate such restrictions. Meeting participants will also review efforts to pass HR 874, the "Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act" and its Senate counterpart S 428, which have strong support in both houses of Congress. Finally, the NNOC will also discuss the fight to have cultural exchanges with Cuba and ongoing efforts to demand visas from the U.S. State Department for artistic, professional, educational, and intellectual travel for Cubans.

Finally, the case of the Cuban Five will be on the NNOC agenda. On Monday October 26th, 2009, the San Francisco Labor Council (SFLC) passed a resolution in support of the Cuban Five and their rights for family visitation. The Cuban Five convictions and incarcerations have been condemned in the United Nations and by legal and humanitarian observers as well as political leaders throughout the world. NNOC members National Committee to Free the Five and the International Committee for the Freedom of the Five will lead a strategy session regarding the various issues of the case.

Voice of Revolution
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