June 17, 2009 - Public Forum
U.S. War and Occupation in Cuba:
Guantanamo Military Base, Blockade, Sabotage and the Case of the Cuban 5 Heroes
Why the Antiwar Movement Needs to Make This Issue an Important Campaign
Organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)
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June 17th MAWO Public Forum Report
For 50 years, the Cuban people have been asserting their basic right to self-determination, while under constant and ongoing imperialist attacks on their sovereignty from the US government. On Wednesday June 17th Mobilization Against War & Occupation organized the forum titled “U.S. War and Occupation in Cuba: Guantanamo Military Base, Blockade, Sabotage and the Case of the Cuban 5 Heroes - Why the Antiwar Movement Needs to Make These Issues an Important Campaign”
The forum started out with an introduction of the event from MAWO co-chair Janine Solanki, before going into a series of film clips that looked at 50 years of US attacks against Cuba. After the film clips, Tamara Hansen, coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) and co-chair of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC), was invited up to speak. Tamara outlined the history of the main aspects of the US war on Cuba. This started from the over 100 year US occupation of the Cuban territory of Guantanamo Bay, which the US uses as a naval base and for their notorious detention camp. Tamara went on to speak about the ongoing US blockade against Cuba, which economically hurts both Cuba and the US and prevents US citizens from visiting Cuba. Tamara also spoke about the US supported anti-Cuban terrorists who have killed over 3,400 innocent Cubans in the last 50 years. This has led to a critical point in US/Cuba relations - the case of the Cuban 5. In order to defend their national security against these attacks, Cuba sent 5 Cuban men to investigate anti-Cuban terrorist groups in Miami, and although the information collected was shared with the FBI, these 5 Cuban heroes were arrested, subjected to a kangaroo court, and have been in US jails for over 10 years.
The forum’s discussion period touched on the aspects of the US war and occupation of Cuba, as well as discussed how Cuba supports the struggle of oppressed people world wide. As the forum wrapped up, emphasis was made on why the antiwar movement needs to take on the issue of the US war and occupation of Cuba as an important campaign. Not only is Cuba facing genocidal policies from the US government, this small proud island is also an example to oppressed people around the world by standing up to these attacks and striving to create a better world.