Longshore union backs Cuba’s fight against U.S. blockade

Graphic: Carlos Latuff / Mint Press News

A National Network On Cuba press conference on the eve of the June 23 United Nations General Assembly vote urged the U.S. to “Vote Yes” on the “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba — Item 42.” 

The 42,000-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) voted to call on the U.S. to “Vote Yes” on the resolution at its International Convention held June 14-18. 

Significantly, the union’s resolution also approved a $10,000 contribution to the #Syringes4Cuba Campaign to aid Cuba’s vaccination program using its effective COVID-19 vaccines. Gabriel Prawl, chapter president of the Seattle A. Philip Randolph Institute, Million Worker March Movement and ILWU member, reported this significant news at the NNOC event June 22.

The ILWU resolution is the latest example of the widespread and growing support inside the United States for finally ending the unilateral, six-decade regime-change war on Cuba. The world has voted with Cuba at the U.N. General Assembly annually since 1992. 

This year the U.S.-based Saving Lives Campaign mobilized to show how, in contrast to the Biden and Trump administrations, the U.S. people want to “Vote Yes” to end the blockade.

Nancy Yamada from Building Relations with Cuban Labor summarized the work that has gathered resolutions from city councils and labor councils, state legislatures, county commissions, school boards and more. These combined resolutions represent at least 30 million people inside the United States. 

Hard copies of the resolutions were sent and received at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, with email copies to President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Individual “Vote Yes” letters came from the mayor of Cambridge, Mass., and Central Labor Councils of Sacramento and Fresno, Calif. 

The U.S. government is intentionally imposing hardship on the Cuban people. Cuban-American Felix Sharpe-Caballero from Project EL PAN and award-winning filmmaker Liz Oliva Fernandez, speaking from Cuba, gave testimony about the human cost in daily life. This includes long lines for limited food, and unavailability of even common medicines and feminine hygiene supplies. 

Two elected officials from Detroit, Wayne County Commission Chairperson Alicia Bell and former state representative and current Detroit school board member the Hon. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, spoke at the NNOC event. Also speaking was Gail Walker, executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace. 

The full event can be viewed here