New Haven Declares an Emphatic No to US Blockade of Cuba / by W. T. Whitney Jr.

This resolution ​“speaks for itself,” Health and Human Services Committee Chair and Westville Alder Darryl Brackeen, Jr. said in support of the item as the New Haven Board of Alders Vote To End Cuba Embargo | Photo credit: New Haven Independent

A spirited and persistent campaign joined by peace activists in New Haven struck gold on July 6 as the Board of Alders of that large Connecticut city approved a resolution calling upon Biden administration to “to build a new cooperative relationship between the United States and Cuba and to immediately end all aspects of the United States economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.”

The action this week followed testimony community members led by the New Haven Peace Coalition before the Board’s Health and Human Services Committee on June 24. That committee went on to recommend “without dissent” that the Board approve the anti-blockade resolution.

In written testimony read at the session, acting Peace Coalition head and veteran U.S. Communist Party activist Joelle Fishman, pointed out that. “As a city heavily invested in medicine, New Haven would gain from humanitarian exchanges about the most up-to-date treatments and medicines under development. Cuba is also pioneering in local sustainable food production.”

Cuba has gained enviable reputation internationally for its healthcare achievements, biomedical research, and ecologically sound agriculture.

The process toward the New Haven municipal authorities’ unanimous approval of their resolution had begun in September 2021 when the New Haven Peace Council and other groups first presented a proposed version of an anti-blockade resolution to the Board of Alders.

For many years, the Peace Council, affiliated with the New Haven-based U.S. Peace Council, and the New Haven Peace Coalition have jointly engaged in community-wide education and advocacy efforts on a wide range of human rights issues. The coalition enjoys the status of an official city commission.

In calling for an end to the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, New Haven joins a bevy of other U.S. cities, and even states, in a grassroots campaign to get rid of this 60-year-old cruel, illegal, and immoral U.S. policy. The list now is long.

The most recent additions are Massachusetts cities Brookline on June 10 – a second time for that city – and Boston on May 16. The Bostonians defiantly called for “full restoration of trade and travel between the two countries.”

The Chicago city council’s unanimous passage of an anti- blockade resolution in February 2021 represented a major addition.  Chicago is the nation’s third largest city.

Other cities passing such resolutions are: Pittsburg, St. Paul Minneapolis, Cleveland, Detroit, Sacramento, and Hartford. The list includes Helena, MT; Cambridge, MA and Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond – all in California.  States whose legislative bodies have passed resolutions are Alabama, Michigan, California and Minnesota.

Henry Lowendorf, president of the Greater New Haven Peace Council, outlined how actions taken against the U.S. blockade of Cuba contribute to peace. Commenting on the Human Service Committee’s approval on June 24 of the proposed resolution, Lowendorf declared that. “Despite the blockade no Cuban families, unlike in New Haven, are homeless. Despite the blockade all Cubans, unlike New Haveners, enjoy fully covered first-class healthcare.”

He added: “We have much to learn from how Cuba manages to guarantee its citizens these rights despite the US noose around its neck. That noose is intended not only to reverse these rights in Cuba but to prevent us from visiting Cuba, seeing for ourselves and demanding the same rights for ourselves from our own government.”

W. T. Whitney Jr. is a political journalist whose focus is on Latin America, health care, and anti-racism. A Cuba solidarity activist, he formerly worked as a pediatrician, lives in rural Maine. W.T. Whitney Jr. es un periodista político cuyo enfoque está en América Latina, la atención médica y el antirracismo. Activista solidario con Cuba, anteriormente trabajó como pediatra, vive en la zona rural de Maine.