GEORGE BARNSBY BLOG NO.791 WEDNESDAY 29TH APRIL 2009 INCORPORATING COPAM (COMMITTEE OF PEACE AND MULTICULTURALISM) www.gbpeoplesllibrary.co.uk.Thursday, April 30th, 2009
FIFTY YEARS OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION.
Si Cuba, the magazine published by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign
announces a splendid series of events which will last the whole year. An
editorial calls for a change in UK policy and calls for respect for Cuba’s
sovereignty and independence an end to the US trade boycott of Cuba and an
end to interference in Cuba’s affairs by foreign governments..
It also asks for a change in UK policy. The US president, Barak Obama,
has just approved measures that will allow Cuban Americans to travel more
freely in Cuba and send some money to relations.
These policy changes are limited. They make no mention of and do not
address the harshest measures against Cuba - the 47 year old blockade. But
the new Obama administration has perhaps laid a stepping stone that will
pave the way for further positive developments.
Positive developments in the US echo other developments. Political and
cultural figures from across the world are queuing up to engage with the
island, the Irish and Spanish Foreign Secretaries, the Russians, the
Chinese, the whole of Latin America, William Hague, the Royal Ballet, the US
Congress and now the US president himself.
Yet at a time when all this is happening the British government seems
intent on hanging to the coat tails of the failed Bush policy of
interference rather than looking forward to develop better relations.
The statement issued by the British government’ s March 2009 Report on
Human Rights can be interpreted as a clear and provocative block to better
relations with Cuba. If other European Ministers are able to visit Cuba then
it is absurd that the British government is opposed to better relations.
At the end of the day it is for the Cuban people to determine the way
forward and the British government should start positive engagement without
preconditions immediately. Early Day Motion 1171 already signed by nearly
100 MPs of all Parties demands that David Miliband visits Cuba as soon as
For many speculating in the western media the latest US moves appear to
herald the beginning of the end of the 47 year blockade. We should all
applaud these developments while recognising that there is still much to be
done. Now is the time to suggest to the US and the British governments a
complete end to the inhumane and illegal blockade.
Cuba has survived 50 years of interference and aggression. Cuba has had
to defend its Revolution against invasion, blockade and numerous acts of
terrorism against its people over the years. Under these conditions Cuba has
the clear right to set its own terms of engagement with countries which
have previously joined this aggressive policy. We should all respect Cuba’s
right to set its own policy at this fast changing time.
Now is the time to celebrate 50 years of the Cuban Revolution and at the
same time use the 50th anniversary to push for an end of the anachronistic,
‘cold war’ and frankly silly policy of aggression against Cuba.
WOLVERHAMPTON, CUBA AND FOOTBALL
As discussed last night, I hobbled to the house of my friends Lawrence
and Jean Patton to watch the vital first leg of the European Cup. I was
right royally fed and watered by Jean and we watched the match from our
different partisan viewpoints. Laurence was probably better satisfied than
me. Man.U did win 0-1 on Arsenal’s home ground and this means that in next
week’s return match at Manchester Arsenal will have to win by two clear
goals to have any chance of remaining in the cup. So I can only hope that
Arsenal’s youngsters can perform this necessary near miracle.
Laurence, as I said last night, is in the throes of painful chemotherapy
for cancer, but he has a son, Geoff, who is in the diplomatic service and is
at present Deputy High Commissioner of Port of Spain in the West Indies. He
is at present unable to visit his father because both he and his wife have
important duties to attend to, she preparing for a visit of Barak Obama the
new black US President and he with preparations for British Commonwealth
Heads of Government meeting which takes place in Port of Spain in November. If the
visit of Obama is part of a general tour of the of the Caribbean it is
likely that either Geoff or his wife will be involved in diplomatic contacts
with Cuba and I have asked Geoff if he could let me have reports of these
activities. It is too soon to have received a reply, but we all should be
proud of a Wolverhampton connected citizen who has reached such giddy heights.
WOLVERHAMPTON FOR PEACE AND MULTICULTURALISM