On Sunday, a group of 35 or so participants organized a car caravan to demand the end to the 61-year US embargo of Cuba and the embargo Trump initiated towards Venezuela. This was part of a nationwide, international protest in defense of the Cuban and Venezuelan Revolutions. A broad cross-section of anti-imperialist protestors of all ages participated in the protest.
John Briton, who had been protesting US policy toward Cuba since the Bay of Pigs intervention in 1961 said, “This is what I’ve been doing for the past 60 years, even before I became a conscious political activist. I just thought it was wrong.”
Jael Castro, an elementary school teacher, emphasized the Biden administration continued support for the embargo which characterized as “genocidal”, since it denies vital food and drug shipments and other trade items that are necessary to keep the Cuban infrastructure operating smoothly.
Nancy, another activist in the women-led Code Pink organization, had a more basic condemnation of the US embargo of Cuba.“It hurts the Cuban people.”
Martha, another Code Pink activist stressed at the dais, in a more detailed way, how the 61-year embargo hurts the Cuban people to the point of genocide.
Jackson, another participant, who was new to Cuba activism, explained he only recently learned about the imperialist machinations of the US in Cuba. At around noon, a series of speakers led by Jael Castro emceed the event and led with the chant: “¡Cuba Si! ¡Bloqueo No!”
Other speakers like Nick Pardee of the Cuba/Venezuela Solidarity Committee called out the Biden administration’s continuation of the Cuban embargo renewal by the Trump administration. Pardee also connected the US embargoes of Cuba and Venezuela as part of a strategic renewal of the Cold War in the Americas particularly targeting these two countries most resistant to US imperialism and the imposition of neoliberalism on said countries.
Gloria La Riva, a leader-organizer representing ANSWER Coalition, reiterated the points previously stated:
1) the genocidal nature of the US embargoes on Cuba and Venezuela
2) the complicity of the Biden administration in continuing these embargoes
3) the demand to end these embargoes and imperialist interference in the internal affairs of Cuba and Venezuela.
Then, the car caravan left the rally site for a drive through the Mission District, San Francisco’s historically Latino neighborhood (though housing displacement has forced many SF Latinos to leave to live in Portola, Visitacion Valley, and Daly City, probably the largest Filipino community outside of Manila).
As hundreds of Cubans hit the road against the US embargo, one thing was made clear over the weekend: the blockade must come to an end, and the weight on the Cuban people must be finally lifted.
Photo by Matthias Oben