Direct Links Project Launch

In February, Manchester Cuba Solidarity Campaign group formally launched its direct links project with workers at an oil refinery near Cardenas, in the Matanzas province of Cuba. 25 people gathered to hear Geoff Bottoms talk eloquently and movingly about the progress people in Cuba had made despite the USA blockade, and about the making of the film "Taxi to Cuba" in which he featured. This film, originally shown on BBC2, followed a cavalcade of blockade-busters (including London cabbie Tony Cacavonne and cab bedecked in the Cuban flag) journey from the USA to Havana. It gave a humorous and at times poignant insight into the indomitability of the human spirit and the importance of international solidarity for people in Cuba. The link with Matanzas was originally established by Stan Dalby of the Bury Cuba Relief Group with help from the National Union of Miners. The meeting applauded Stan for his commitment in keeping the link going.

Ambulance sent to Cuba by Manchester CSC

Our link is through the Sindicato Provincial Quimico - Minero Energetico the Chemical, Mining, and Energy Union for Matanzas Province. Three of us have now visited them to begin to build up a picture of the most pressing needs of the community. It is likely that our aid will focus on medical and educational supplies, which are particularly restricted as a result of the blockade. In the short term, we have begun to draw up an action plan for the collection of material aid. We hope to have regular visits to and from Cuba.

Manchester Cuba Solidarity Campaign (0161 881 6887,

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