Pressure is increasingly being placed on the Obama administration to normalize relations with Cuba and in this context take steps toward lifting the blockade. Obama is also being pressed from all sides to find a humanitarian solution, on a reciprocal basis, to the case of the Cuban Five (known in the U.K. as the Miami Five).
Letter from Fernando González, one of the Cuban Five, on their behalf:
November 29, 2013
Greetings from The Cuban Five to all in attendance at this important event. We thank Mr. Arnold August for giving us the opportunity to briefly address you, for it provides a forum to express our deepest feelings of gratitude to all our friends throughout the United Kingdom for fifteen years of solidarity and support. To the members of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, to the Trade Unionists, and to all our friends, thank you so much!
We would also like to thank and express our gratitude to the Members of Parliament who have introduced, or voted for, motions in support of our release from prison, or have demanded visiting rights for our families, as well as those who have signed petitions on our behalf.
You have gotten together to hear presentations and debate on issues related to Cuba and US policy towards our island nation. As you debate on those issues, the Cuban Consular Office in Washington, D.C has been forced to cut its services because no bank would provide financial services to the Cuban Interests Section and to the Cuban Mission to the United Nation in New York City. The banks fear being fined by the US Treasury Department because of the spurious political decision by the US government to place Cuba on its list of States that sponsor terrorism. It is but the latest example of the irrationality and absurdity of the US economic blockade against Cuba and US policy towards the island.
We Cubans have been made to pay a very high price by the US authorities for maintaining our decision to be an independent country. For more than fifty years it has been the official policy of the most powerful country history has known, to strangle the Cuban economy. The criminal rational behind such policy, as described in declassified documents by the Department of State, is to create hardships for the our people with the false illusion that we would blame the Cuban government for the situation.
This policy has failed for more than half a century and will continue to fail for as long as it is implemented. We will not surrender and we will continue to overcome the difficulties and build a social project that aims to achieve justice for all. We Cubans have the right to live in an independent country and to choose the economic and political systems that we deem appropriate for our conditions.
In the field of Democracy and Political Participation, the bearer of this message has written an excellent book entitled Cuba and its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion. We invite you all to read the book, and experience from it, the truly democratic workings of the Cuban system. The book goes a long way in the effort to look beyond, and leave behind, the clichés and the lies spread about Cuba and its political system.
We wish you a very productive debate and a successful event.
Thank you very much.
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