Can Cuba Cope?

The Cuban revolution is over 40 years old - in 1959 it swept away the United States' puppet regime and ushered in a new era of independence for the Cuban people. In those 40 years they have liberated themselves from many of the ills that bedevil the rest of Latin America and the developing world.

Cuba now has a first class health care system (life expectancy has jumped from 57 to 75), a fully integrated free education system and new rules to protect the rights of workers. But these and other social gains have been won at a cost. The US government continues to try and destabilise and destroy these achievements and Cuba's independence. Firstly it was terrorist attacks, then the 1961 attempt to invade at the infamous Bay of Pigs, and a draconian trade and economic blockade since then. Recent steps by the US have sought to stop foreign trade and penalise foreign investors who deal with Cuba. The blockade has been repeatedly and overwhelmingly condemned by the UN.

The blockade's reduction in the amount of food, medicines, oil and many everyday items reaching the island has caused great hardship. Yet the Cuban people have refused to be beaten into submission. By hard work and determination they have preserved the key social gains of their revolution and, recently, begun to rebuild their economy despite the blockade.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) sends material aid to Cuba to help break the blockade and as a gesture of political solidarity. The targets for this year are to send ambulances to help rebuild the service which shrunk from 3000 to 500 vehicles during the 1990s. Computers (486s or Pentiums) are also being collected to help Cuba develop a nationwide computer literacy. If you can help by making a donation of cash or computer, contact Manchester CSC.

Manchester Cuba Solidarity Campaign (0161 881 6887)

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(c) Networking Newsletter (June/July 2000)