WASHINGTON — Over 100 participants gathered at St. Stephen Church here March 26 for “An Evening in Solidarity with Cuba,” sponsored by the D.C. Metro Coalition in Solidarity with the Cuban Revolution. Kamau Benjamin, one of the leaders of the coalition, chaired the program, which opened with a cultural performance by the Malcolm X Drummers.
“It’s crucial to denounce the blockade by the U.S. government that’s aimed against the Cuban Revolution and to tell the truth about Cuba as you are doing here tonight,” Alejandro García, deputy chief of Mission from the Cuban Embassy in Washington, told participants. “The efforts by the U.S. government to destroy the Cuban economy is tough on the life of the Cuban people.
“Trump imposed over 200 measures, and Biden has done nothing to remove them. On the contrary, the Biden administration, cynically, has the distinction of using a pandemic to reinforce sanctions,” García said. He explained that when Cuba faced a shortage of oxygen last summer due to a breakdown in its main medicinal oxygen facility, the licenses needed to purchase oxygen were denied by the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce.
Dr. Samira Addrey, a 2020 graduate of Cuba’s Latin American School for Medicine and the IFCO Pastors for Peace ELAM Scholarship Project Coordinator, described the work of the school. The students receive free, quality medical training. In the 20 years since its founding, it has graduated nearly 30,000 doctors from 105 countries.
Addrey pointed with pride to what she had learned living and studying in Cuba. “To draw strength and confidence from 63 years of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and its example of resistance for the world,” she said.
“Go to Cuba, and see it and understand it for yourself,” Addrey added. “Cuba is different not because of its ideology, but by what it does. It shares what it has, not what is left over. It has restored to a new level what it means to be a human being. May Day is coming up and is a special opportunity to see that the life of a worker there is valued.”
Meeting participants shared information on upcoming trips to learn firsthand about Cuba, including the 15th International May Day Brigade, April 24-May 8, sponsored by the National Network on Cuba, and IFCO’s Friendshipment Caravan, July 16-30.
After the talks, participants joined the discussion and enjoyed songs by the Black Workers Center Chorus.