Happening Now WIF: CubaConference2017

SESSION 1: 2:15 – 3:45 PM

Cuba and African Independence and Liberation
(Room 3-04)

This Workshop will feature Isaac Saney, co-chair, Canadian Network on Cuba, author of forthcoming Africa’s Children Return! Cuba, the War in Angola and Southern African Liberation and Negash Abdurahman who will show an extended trailer of his forthcoming film Cuba in Africa.

Democracy in Cuba: Perspectives and Misconceptions
(Room 4-07)

This Workshop will be moderated by Mabel Leon, a community activist with roots in Schenectady, New York since the 1960s and an active member of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO)/Pastors for Peace, presently organizing its 28th annual Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba. Panelists include: Yamila González Ferrer, Vice-President, National Board of Directors of the National Union of Cuban Jurists, who will speak to the constitutional and legal basis of Cuba’s democracy and political system; and Arnold August, a Montreal-based journalist and author. In 2013 August was awarded the Félix Elmuza Award, Cuba’s highest journalism award for Cuban and foreign journalists. He is the author of the acclaimed titles Democracy in Cuba and the 1997-98 Elections (1999) and Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion (2014) and the forthcoming Cuba-U.S. Relations: Obama and Beyond.

Free Ana Belen Montes: Puerto Rican Prisoner of Conscience for Cuban Sovereignty and Self-Determination
(Room 4-08)

This Workshop will be led by Benjamin Ramos, New York Cuba Solidarity Project and Ismael Nuñez, ProLibertad Freedom Campaign. This workshop will be explore Ana Belen Montes’s case and discuss ways we can build an international movement to free her. For the past 15 years, Ana Belen Montes has languished in a military prison hospital ward because she chose to protect Cuba’s right to self-determination and sovereignty from the US government’s attempts to promote regime change in Cuba. On October 16th, 2002, she was sentenced to 25 years in prison with no parole. Since her incarceration, Ana has been the subject of a hostile and inhumane isolation campaign. Her release date is scheduled for July 1st, 2023.

How the United States Occupied Guantanamo Bay and the Fight to Close It
(Room 3-03)

Organized by Steve Eckardt from Chicago. There will be a Cuban representative on this panel. The video All Guantanamo is Ours will be presented by the National Network on Cuba (NNOC).

National Legislative Action to End the Embargo, Opportunities for Local Campaigns to Play a Major Role, and Lessons from Canada
(Room 4-01)

A push is needed to educate, advocate and organize to End the Embargo, and local campaigns can play a key role in making this happen. This Workshop has been organized by representatives from the July 26 Coalition in Boston, the Greater Hartford Cuba Coalition, Albany Cuba Solidarity, and Vancouver, Canada Communities in Solidarity with Cuba. Panelists include: Alison Bodine, Vancouver Friends of Cuba Against the US Blockade; Tim Craine, the Greater Hartford Cuba Coalition; Andrea Fernandez Aponte, Latin America Working Group; Pepe Rossy, Albany-Cuba Solidarity; and Peter Miller, July26.org in Boston. The session is informed by a review of last year’s four successful municipal campaigns, as published by NACLA.org here. For more info, see https://peterbmiller.wordpress.com/cuba-project/workshopsnyc/

Race in Cuba: An Introduction
(Room 3-09)

How has the Cuban Revolution advanced the struggle for racial equality on the island and what are the continuing challenges? These are the two main questions this workshop addresses—led by August Nimtz, Professor of Political Science and African and African American Studies, University of Minnesota, co-coordinator of the Minnesota Cuba Committee and co-editor of Race In Cuba: Essays of Esteban Morales Dominguez (2013).

Rhythms, Resistance & Revolution
(Room 3-04)

The Afro-Latin Musicologist, Journalist, original Last Poet, Dis-Jockey and Veteran Young Lords Party leader Felipe Luciano will be leading this Universal Zulu Nation-organized Cuba Cultural Workshop. The Workshop will be a comprehensive educational session on Cuba’s use of “Culture As Weapon.” Dancers, Musicians and Hip Hop Artists are encouraged to attend this session which will cover the era from the Spanish Invasion to African Slave Revolts, the U.S./Batista Regime, the Cuban Revolution, and today’s Youth-Led International Liberation Movement through Hip Hop Culture.

The Cuban Health Care System: US Health Care Workers and Trade Unionists See Social Transformation is Possible
(Room 3-02)

Trips organized by WORPHC (World Organization for the Right of the People to Health Care) and NYSNA (New York State Nurses Association), have allowed nurses, health care workers and trade unionists to experience the Cuban Health Care System, as well as the culture and social reality of today’s Cuba. The goal is to expand horizons and stimulate action back home. Inspired by what they have seen, upon their return, folks have found a new resolve to engage more with their unions around Social Justice issues and to work towards the transformation of the US Health Care System. The panel will be jointly organized by Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, President of NYSNA and Luis Matos, Organizer for the World Organization for the Right of the People to Health Care, Inc. Humanitarian Project: Dominican Organization (ODOSALUD, Inc.). The panel will be jointly organized by Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, President of NYSNA and Luis Matos, Organizer for the World Organization for the Right of the People to Health Care, Inc. Humanitarian Project: Dominican Organization (ODOSALUD, Inc.).

The Cuban Revolution and the African-American Community: The Continuity of Solidarity
(Room 4-02)

Aminifu Williams of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP) will chair this panel. This panel will include: Amina Baraka, a longtime Cuba solidarity fighter, wife of Amiri Baraka and mother of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka; Omowale Clay of the December 12 Movement; Glen Ford, editor, Black Agenda Report; Bill Link, Amtrak Conductor, longtime union leader and civil rights activist, nephew of legendary Black freedom fighter Robert F. Williams; and Gail Walker, Director IFCO/Pastors for Peace.

Traveling to Cuba with Respect
(Room 4-09)

Join Bob Guild from Marazul, Walter Turner from Global Exchange, and Sandra Ramirez from the Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP) for a discussion on the deluge of US travelers to Cuba, the prospects under the Donald Trump Administration, and the impact on Cuba. This Workshop will focus on the new US travel association, RESPECT (Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel).

SESSION 2: 4:00 – 5:30 PM

Cuban Medical Internationalism
(Room 3-04)

Rolando Vergara, First Secretary, Cuban Mission to the United Nations, participated in Cuban Medical Mission to combat Ebola epidemic in West Africa; Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) graduate Luis Antonio Gonzalez; Dr. Howard Ehrman, Family Medicine and Public Health Professor and Practitioner in Chicago; Steve Brouwer, Author, Revolutionary Doctors. This Workshop will be chaired by Ray Laforest, longtime Haitian rights and labor activist.

Cuba’s Economy: Myth, Reality, and the New Economic Policies
(Room 3-03)

Isaac Saney (Canadian scholar, author of acclaimed Cuba: A Revolution in Motion) and Helen Yaffe (UK scholar, author of acclaimed Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution) will lead this Workshop. A leader of the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC) will participate, pending visa approval.

Cuba’s Socialist Revolution and Women’s Equality
(Room 3-02)

Leaders of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) in New York to attend International Women’s Month at the United Nations will lead the discussion on what the Cuban Revolution has meant for women. Panelists include: Yanira Kúper, FMC international relations secretary; Yamila González Ferrer, vice president, Cuban Jurists Association; Alicia Campos, Latin America and Caribbean coordinator, Women’s International Democratic Federation; and Maritzel González, FMC International Relations Department. Nalda Vigezzi of the July 26 Coalition of Boston and co-chair of the National Network on Cuba (NNOC) and Mary-Alice Waters, President of Pathfinder Press will chair this Workshop.

Cuba’s Food and Energy Revolutions
(Room 4-08)

Dr. Howard Ehrman, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, is organizing is organizing this Workshop. Other panelists include: Margarita Fernandez, Ph. D., Co-ordinator Cuba-US Agroecology Network; Dr. Reinaldo Funes-Monzote, Co-ordinator of Geo-Historical Research at Antonio Nuñez Jimenez Foundation in Cuba, Professor of History at the University of Havana, author, From Rainforest to Cane Field: A Cuban Environmental History Since 1492.

The Police in Cuba
(Room 3-01)

This Workshop is being organized by University of Minnesota Professor August Nimtz from the Minnesota Cuba Committee and Brock Satter from Boston and Mass Action Against Police Brutality. The panel will include participation from family and friends of victims of police killings and brutality in the US who have recently visited Cuba, including Juanita Yong, mother of Malcolm Ferguson, murdered by NYPD and Hawa Bau, mother of Mohammed Bah, murdered by NYPD.

The Revolutionary Legacy of Fidel Castro
(Room 3-09)

This Workshop has been organized by Ike Nahem, Cuba Solidarity New York, longtime socialist and labor union activist. Other panelists include: Tamara Hansen, Coordinator, Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC), author 5 Decades of the Cuban Revolution: The challenge of an Unwavering Leadership (Battle of Ideas Press); and Viola Plummer, Chairperson, December 12 Movement.

Remembering: OSPAAAL Transcontinental Solidarity (Africa, Asia, América Latina) As We Struggle Against US Settler-Colonial policies in Guantanamo, Standing Rock, and Palestine
(Room 4-09)

This panel, hosted by the All African People’s Revolutionary Party (AAPRP), will discuss the history of OSPAAAL and the relevance of international solidarity in the struggle against settler occupation in Guantanamo, Standing Rock, and Palestine. We’ll be joined by Imani Umoja of the African Party for the Liberation of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, Suzanne Aderly of Al-Awda, as well as members of the American Indian Movement.

Technology and Digital Media Support for Cuba and the Solidarity Movement
(Room 4-07)

This Workshop has been organized by Peter Miller of Boston and is informed by the short paper “Complicity: How US Community and Non Profit Technology Has Been Complicit in Some Very Ugly Cuba ‘Regime Change’ Policies and Practices — And What To Do About It,” available here. Panelists include: Charlie Welch, Boston-Cuba Solidarity July26.org and TecsChange.org; Sam Kellogg, North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA.org); Cheryl LaBash, the National Network on Cuba (NNOC.info); Danny Spitzberg, NPOTechCoop Cuba project (at http://npogroups.org/lists/info/tech-coop); and Peter Miller, July26.org and https://peterbmiller.wordpress.com/cuba-project/. This session will make an active effort to pull together key initiatives and add to them. For more info, see https://peterbmiller.wordpress.com/cuba-project/workshopsnyc/

Universal Justice in Cuba: Exploring Afro-Cubans and the Legacy of Racism in Cuba Today
(Room 4-02)

Universal Justice is a student-run organization at Fordham Law School designed to give students hands-on human rights experience. Universal Justice leader Joshua Colon will be organizing this Workshop which will feature a report back from a fact-finding delegation of Fordham Law Students that will have returned from Cuba just before the National Conference. The delegation is focused on Afro-Cuban issues and is scheduled to meet and interview (excerpts will be shown at the Workshop) with leading Cuban organizations such as the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC), ICAP, and the National Union of Cuban Jurists.

We Got Us: Cuba and Inter Movement Solidarity
(Room 4-01)

Organized by the Venceremos Brigade. Representatives of the VB will discuss their experiences in intentionally recruiting organizers within a variety of movements to participate in their annual trip to Cuba, as well as the ways in which VB activists weave the Cuban Socialist Project into their community organizing work. Emphasis will be placed on how the VB has become explicitly anti-oppressive in its practices, what this looks like, and how the broader Cuba solidarity movement can do the same. Now more than ever we have a need to not just ask what people can do for Cuba, but what we can all be doing for all of our liberation.