Declaration for a Diaspora

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In March, Progressive Pupil had the privilege of participating in the 2013 World Social Forum in Tunis, Tunisia where we co-hosted a Convergence Assembly with Bob Brown of the Black Panther Party, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Pan-African Roots. After an engaging discussion with a group of over 30 people from all over the world about Peace, Racial Equality and the US Embargo of Cuba, we drafted a Declaration, which we wanted to share with you.

The Convergence Assembly, Peace, Racial Equality and the US Embargo of Cuba, was proposed by the organizations Progressive Pupil, Pan-African Roots, Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), African Awareness Association and InterOccupy. Prior to the Assembly, organizers also consulted with representatives of the Workers’ Central Union of Cuba (CTC), Global Exchange, The National Network on Cuba and IFCO/Pastors for Peace who could not be in attendance. Activists from countries including Tunisia, South Korea, Germany, South Africa, Kenya, the United Kingdom and France participated in the convergence. The Assembly aimed to provide a venue for discussion about the connections between US foreign policy and racial inequality as well as current and potential action to challenge the US Embargo of Cuba.

Based on these consultations and discussions, the Peace, Racial Equality and the US Embargo of Cuba Convergence Assembly of World Social Forum (WSF) 2013 makes the following declaration:

  1. Racism–in the form of segregation, discrimination and/or social prejudice–remains a serious and often life-threatening issue for people of African descent throughout the world. For example, in the United States 4 out of 10 Black girls will not complete secondary school. In Cuba, although segregation and racial discrimination have been abolished legally, AfroCubans continue not to be fully represented among the leadership of political and financial institutions. The US embargo of Cuba impacts the economic development of a country that is 60% Black. Although discussions at WSF 2013 demonstrated that every community is struggling with the consequences of globalization and militarism, communities of African descent are consistently and disproportionately impacted.
  2.  For these reasons, the United Nations General Assembly has resolved by a decisive margin every year since 1993 that the United States should end the embargo. The US embargo of Cuba is an outdated policy that violates the human rights of Cubans and Americans because:
    1. It compromises Cuba’s right to sovereignty,
    2. it violates Americans’ right to freedom of travel.
  3. The United States government must immediately normalize relations with Cuba and take the following actions:
    1. End the US embargo of Cuba (which can happen with a stroke of a pen by President Obama and legislative non-interference),
    2. remove all restrictions to travel between the US and Cuba,
    3. remove Cuba from the US government’s list of potential terrorist organizations,
    4. Free “the Cuban 5”: Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Fernando González Llort and René González Sehwerert who were imprisoned for working to protect Cubans from terrorist actions by private citizens in Florida.
  4. Activists who want to forge peace and democratize foreign relations between the North and South must raise awareness about the military and diplomatic actions of the United States and all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  5. To move forward toward a world with peace and racial justice, concerned organizations and individuals can promote the following actions:
    1. Get and Stay in Touch. The US-based organization Progressive Pupil will provide information about community organizing that forges racial justice and opposes the US embargo of Cuba via their Facebook, Twitter and blog. Like, follow or subscribe to stay abreast of actions and publicize work in which you are engaged. You can also join their email list and/or email them about your work at vedan.a@progressivepupil.org.
    2. Participate in the international campaign to Free the Cuban 5. Begin with attending the “Series of Actions for Cuban 5” event in Washington, DC May 30-June 5, 2013.
    3. Participate in Travel Challenges that protest travel restrictions between the US and Cuba.  The African Awareness Association is organizing a “Freedom Ride” Educational Travel Challenge featuring a Black History Tour of Cuba this July 2013.  For more information email african_awareness_association@yahoo.com. The Venceremos Brigade is hosting its 44th travel challenge this July.
    4. Participate in protests of the US embargo of Cuba. IFCO/Pastors for Peace is organizing a Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba this July that will challenge the US embargo directly.
    5. Encourage Americans to see Cuba for themselves.  The organization Global Exchange offers licensed educational trips that allow Americans to engage in people-to-people exchanges with Cuba.
    6. Participate in the 9th Edition of Anti-Colonialism Week February 14-March 2, 2014 and follow them on Twitter to stay up-to-date.
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