On May 27, the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity announced that Oakland, Calif., is the latest U.S. city government to take a stand against the U.S. economic, financial and commercial blockade of Cuba.
Since Dec. 17, 2014, when U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced efforts to normalize relations between the two countries, steps have been taken in that direction. The recent closing of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign’s longstanding and legal bank accounts in Britain, however, show international financial institutions are still unwilling to risk U.S. government fines against them. More popular protest will be needed in the U.S. to impel normalization.
The following is a release from the International Committee For Peace, Justice and Dignity: “On May 17, in a unanimous decision, the City Council of Oakland California passed a resolution calling for an end to the embargo of Cuba. Along with citing the long standing injustice that the embargo represents, the resolution specifically gives the Council’s official support to current bills in Congress, including H.R. 664: the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015; H.R. 3238: the Cuba Trade Act of 2015; S. 299: the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015; and S. 491: the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act.
“The resolution was initially introduced to the Rules and Legislation Committee of the City Council on May 12 by Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Abel Guillen. At that meeting, public comment was heard urging the passing of the resolution. According to Oakland resident Helene Maxwell, ‘Oakland’s passage of the resolution can serve as a model for local governments around the country to send a clear message to Washington that the embargo must be lifted. It is long past time to make amends for the destructive effects of this policy on the Cuban people for over fifty years.’
“Oakland, a city of over 400,000 residents, now joins other Bay Area cities Richmond and Berkeley, which also recently passed resolutions calling for the long overdue ending to the embargo of Cuba.
“The significance of these city resolutions is that they are one more public expression of sentiment against the embargo. This position is not just the opinion of the majority of people in the Bay Area but the majority of the people in the country as a whole. Hopefully, other cities around the U.S. can keep this momentum going by adopting similar resolutions.
Cuba has never threatened the U.S. in any way and has made it clear that they want a normalization of relations as long as that includes respect for their sovereignty and their right to build their society without the damage and interference of the embargo.”
A 22-minute, 2015 YouTube, “Blockade against Cuba: The longest genocide in history,” explains more. View it at tinyurl.com/z7cwavl.