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July 12, 2011
Public Forum

The Politics of Blockades From Gaza to Cuba:
The Flotilla to Gaza, The Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba & Beyond

Organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)


July 12 MAWO Forum Report

On July 12th, Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) organized a public forum titled The Politics of Blockades from Gaza to Cuba: The Flotilla to Gaza, The Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba & Beyond at Joe's Cafe. This forum gave participants the opportunity to discuss why imperialist governments impose sanctions on oppressed nations as an ongoing silent war and killing of people. Why the Israeli Zionist regime imposed the blockade on Gaza and why the United States has imposed the blockade on Cuba for almost 50 years. And what are the aims and results of these regime of sanctions and blockades.

The evening began with the screening of an hour of documentary and news clips on the effects of the blockades on the people of Gaza and Cuba. After the film clips, Thomas Davies, Executive Committee Member of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC), organizer with the Solidarity Coalition for a United Latin America (SCULA), journalist & social justice activist spoke.

Thomas began by comparing life in Cuba before the revolution when United States controlled most of the corporations and people lived in dire poverty in contrast to after the revolution when Cuba was an independent country and conditions improved greatly for Cubans regardless of the U.S. brutal and criminal blockade. Thomas explained that the main target of the 5 decades of blockade on Cuba has been its people. U.S. has been trying all these years to make sure the Cuban people suffer and face harsh conditions from the blockade for choosing a revolutionary government and defending their sovereignty. Regardless of this blockade and all kind of pressures, not only has Cuba survived but the Cuban people advanced the social and living condition to a level of becoming a model for all Latin American countries.

Thomas moved to the example of Gaza, where Palestinians democratically and in a landslide elected Hamas not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank. Exactly like Cuba, Israel in order to punish the Palestinian people for their choice of government, imposed a complete blockade of Gaza. They turned Gaza, a narrow strip of more than 1.5 million people by the Mediterranean Sea to an open-air prison. Since Hamas continued to represent the Palestinian cause for self-determination, Israel has continued to keep the blockade already for six years, in order to force them into misery and hunger. However, heroic Palestinian people have been resisting this inhuman blockade as well as fighting back to regain their independence and dignity. Palestinian resistance and persistence consequently has boosted the moral and consciousness of many human loving people that resulted in a chain of Flotillas sailing to Gaza in solidarity and support for Gaza.

Thomas made it quite clear that sanctions and blockades against independent countries and governments is an act of war against those people. He gave the example of sanctions on Iraq which alone killed 1.5 million people and made the situation for people worse. He said that the Gaza Flotilla and Caravan to Cuba is a tool for people worldwide to oppose these unjust and immoral blockades on Cuba and Gaza. He emphasized at the end that we as peace-loving people must continue to support the right of all oppressed people for self-determination and against foreign intervention.