Statement by Cuban President Raul Castro

Fellow countrymen,

Since my election as President of the State Council and Council of Ministers I have reiterated in many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality, in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment to the national Independence and self-determination of our people.

This stance was conveyed to the US Government both publicly and privately by Comrade Fidel on several occasions during our long standing struggle, stating the willingness to discuss and solve our differences without renouncing any of our principles.

The heroic Cuban people, in the wake of serious dangers, aggressions, adversities and sacrifices has proven to be faithful and will continue to be faithful to our ideals of independence and social justice.  Strongly united throughout these 56 years of Revolution, we have kept our unswerving loyalty to those who died in defense of our principles since the beginning of our independence wars in 1868.

Today, despite the difficulties, we have embarked on the task of updating our economic model in order to build a prosperous and sustainable Socialism.

As a result of a dialogue at the highest level, which included a phone conversation I had yesterday with President Obama, we have been able to make headway in the solution of some topics of mutual interest for both nations.

As Fidel promised on June 2001,when he said: “They shall return!” Gerardo, Ramon, and Antonio have arrived today to our homeland.

The enormous joy of their families and of all our people, who have relentlessly fought for this goal, is shared by hundreds of solidarity committees and groups, governments, parliaments, organizations, institutions, and personalities, who for the last sixteen years have made tireless efforts demanding their release. We convey our deepest gratitude and commitment to all of them.

President Obama’s decision deserves the respect and acknowledgement of our people.

I wish to thank and acknowledge the support of the Vatican, most particularly the support of Pope Francisco in the efforts for improving relations between Cuba and the United States.  I also want to thank the Government of Canada for facilitating the high-level dialogue between the two countries.

In turn, we have decided to release and send back to the United States a spy of Cuban origin who was working for that nation.

On the other hand, and for humanitarian reasons, today we have also sent the American citizen Alan Gross back to his country.

Unilaterally, as has always been our practice, and in strict compliance with the provisions of our legal system, the concerned prisoners have received legal benefits, including the release of those persons that the Government of the United States had conveyed their interest in.

We have also agreed to renew diplomatic relations.

This in no way means that the heart of the matter has been solved.  The economic, commercial, and financial blockade, which causes enormous human and economic damages to our country, must cease.

Though the blockade has been codified into law, the President of the United States has the executive authority to modify its implementation.

We propose to the Government of the United States the adoption of mutual steps to improve the bilateral atmosphere and advance towards normalization of relations between our two countries, based on the principles of International Law and the United Nations Charter.

Cuba reiterates its willingness to cooperate in multilateral bodies, such as the United Nations.

While acknowledging our profound differences, particularly on issues related to national sovereignty, democracy, human rights and foreign policy, I reaffirm our willingness to dialogue on all these issues.

I call upon the Government of the United States to remove the obstacles hindering or restricting ties between peoples, families, and citizens of both countries, particularly restrictions on travelling, direct post services, and telecommunications.

The progress made in our exchanges proves that it is possible to find solutions to many problems.

As we have reiterated, we must learn the art of coexisting with our differences in a civilized manner.

We will continue talking about these important issues at a later date

Thank you.

Moncada Day Celebration: July 26, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Join the friends of Cuba in an evening of speeches, videos, singing, music, food and refreshment.Moncada Day 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014
7:00 PM
Ukranian Centre
11018 – 97 Street NW

Hosted by the Cuba Edmonton Solidarity Committee

For more information please call:

780-462-5295 or 780-465-6898



July 26th is a true celebration of Cuban Revolutionary spirit. All across the country, you will see communist banners and political graffiti. Combining the anniversary of the birth of Jose Marti and the attack on the Moncada barracks by Fidel Castro, July 26 is one of the most important days in the country’s calendar.

On July 26, 1953 a group of young men and two women led by Fidel Castro attacked the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba while another group attacked the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Barracks in the city of Bayamo. Although this was a defeat for the revolutionaries, this event paved the way for the insurrection against Batista. It was “the small engine that ignited the big engine of the Revolution.”

How many countries commemorate a military defeat as their national holiday? Cuba does. In fact, it celebrates the ill-fated events that took place on July 26, 1953 with three days off.

The events began one year earlier in May 1952 whena group of young people grouped around Abel and Haydee Santamaría, Melba Hernández and Fidel Castro began meeting in an apartment building in Havana to discuss their discontent with the disruption of the constitutional order imposed by the military coup launched by the dictator Fulgencio Batista. All legal channels exhausted, plans were made to start the armed struggle and fight the de facto government. Working with people across the country, they began to obtain uniforms, guns and ammunition to attack the Moncada Barracks and other strategic targets.

A year later, those who were to participate in the assault traveled to Santiago de Cuba, which was celebrating its traditional summer carnival. The date was chosen so that the authorities would not suspect the young people who by train, bus and 17 cars were coming into the city with the apparent purpose of enjoying themselves during the festivities. The leaders of the attack were hoping that the relaxed atmosphere, the distance from the capital, the surprise factor, and the nearby mountains of the Sierra Maestra would help them achieve their goal.

Upon their arrival in Santiago, the revolutionaries gathered together at the small Siboney farm located near the city. During early morning, the guns hidden inside a well were distributed. Then, the details of the attack, which had been kept in the utmost secrecy by the leaders, were given—they were going to attack the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Barracks and take over two strategic places, the Saturnino Lora Hospital and the Palace of Justice. The objectives: to disarm the enemy and summon the people to take armed revolutionary action that would lead to the overthrow of Batista.

At 4:00 am on Sunday, July 26, 129 men and two women left the Siboney farm. The plan was to have the main body of the inexperienced troops (around 90 men) led by Fidel Castro advance to the army facility; the two women (Melba Hernández and Haydee Santamaría) and other fighters led by Abel Santamaría would take over the hospital; and the group of around 35 men led by Raul Castro would seize the Palace of Justice. The last two groups were able to achieve their goal, but the group led by Fidel lost the element of surprise—after reaching one of the posts, an unexpected patrol that was doing the rounds because of the carnival came across them. The guards alerted the  troops and a battle ensued outside the garrison.

Given the disadvantage of the assailants, many were captured alive and killed. The group that tried to gain the foothills of the Sierra Maestra was captured several days later.

The assailants and Fidel Castro were held for trial. Fidel Castro assumed his own defense and he gave a four-hour speech on October 16 that was published under the title “History Will Absolve Me,” which was his concluding sentence. Although sentenced to terms of up to 15 years, many of the survivors relocated to Mexico after having been granted an amnesty and released from prison in 1955. In Mexico, they continued their plans to form a disciplined guerrilla force to overthrow the dictator Batista and returned to Cuba on the Granma yacht in December 1956 to begin the guerrilla struggle that culminated in the victory of 1959.

Since 1959, Cuba has commemorated July 26th with rallies and speeches. In 1976, July 25, 26 and 27 were made holidays. As a verse of a song by a popular Cuban band says, “The 26th is the happiest day in history.”

Open Letter to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson

Friday, January 5, 2014CubaSi

Commissioner Bob Paulson

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

RCMP National Headquarters

Headquarters Building

73 Leikin Drive

Ottawa  ON  K1A 0R2



Dear Commissioner,

Starting in 1966 there has been a string of terrorist attacks committed in Canada against Canadian companies that are or were doing business with Cuba. We have added a list of these incidents as an addendum to this letter.

In spite of the fact that terrorists have left the proverbial trail of breadcrumbs to themselves, the RCMP has never arrested anyone on these matters. We as the Cuba Edmonton Solidarity Committee see this no differently than the Betty Osborne murder case, when 16 years after her death, it took only one dedicated and good RCMP officer to see the obvious and arrest the criminals in her horrific and senseless murder.

Now sir, you are the 10th Commissioner since these terrorist attacks began, so our question to you is, are you like all the Mounties who turned a blind eye to the Betty Osborne Case, or are you the one who will do the right thing and go after the terrorists who perpetrated the several attacks against Canadian companies and/or citizens, some of which occurred on Canadian soil.

We are appealing to you to consider the prime suspects in these attacks, Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch. Luis Posada participated in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. Fidel Castro traded 1113 POWs for $53m in medicine and food. Luis Posada was one of these POWs. On Posada’s return to Miami he formed Alpha 66, a U.S.-based militant organization, originating in Puerto Rico.

In 2000, Posada was arrested in Panama with 2,000 lbs of C4 explosive that was to be used in an assassination attempt on Fidel Castro, although he was later pardoned by Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso in the final days of her term.

In 1968 Orlando Bosch was arrested in Florida for an attack on a Polish freighter with a 57 mm recoilless rifle and was sent to prison for a ten year term. He served four years before being released on parole in 1972, and fled the country, leaving for Venezuela on 12 April 1974 where he was arrested and jailed for two weeks after admitting to bombing two buildings in Caracas.

On October 6, 1976 Bosch and Posada masterminded the bombing of Cubana Flight 455, which was destroyed after takeoff. All seventy-three people on board were killed, including many young members of a Cuban fencing team. Posada was convicted in absentia in Panama for the bombing of the airline, among other terrorist attacks.

We are now at the beginning of a new year, 2014. Orlando Bosch has already been dead for a couple of years, so the days in which “The RCMP always get there man” are out the window. However, Posada is a free man in Miami and still poses a threat to Canadians. We already know that the decision by the previous 10 commissioners to turn a blind eye has resulted in the death of 75 innocent people on the Air Cubana flight. The number of lives that will be saved by doing the right thing is undetermined.

Why would you not ask for Luis Posada’s extradition? The DEA certainly is not shy when it comes to extraditing Canadian citizens. We should not be shy when it comes to terrorists based in Miami attacking Canada and killing Canadians. There is no doubt that the RCMP’s image is more than a little tarnished these days. Showing Canada that the RCMP will not allow terrorists free reign in Canada would restore some of the luster from years gone by.


Cuba Edmonton Solidarity Committee


List of terrorist incidents committed against Canadian companies:

  • 1966 A bazooka attack took place against the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa; bombs exploded at

the Cuban trade delegation in Ottawa;

  • 1967 An explosive device was detonated at the Cuba Pavilion at Expo in Montreal. The attack

is attributed to Cuban Nationalist Action. A bomb exploded at the warehouses of Fraser

Brothers, a Canadian firm trading with Cuba; Cuban trade offices were bombed in


  • 1968 The Canada Tourism office on Fifth Avenue in New York City and offices of a Canadian

airline in Miami were attacked;

  • 1969 A bomb is placed in the doorway of the Cuban consulate in Montreal, it fails to go off.

  • 1971 A small bomb goes off at the offices of the Cuban trade delegation in Montreal;

  • 1972 Cuban official Sergio Pérez Castillo is killed by an explosion at the Cuban consulate in


  • 1974 A bomb exploded in the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa;

  • 1976 An explosive device was lobbed at the Cuban Consulate in Montreal;

  • 1980 A large explosion significantly damages the Cuban consulate in Montreal;

  • 1997 On September 4, 1997, a Montreal resident, Fabio di Celmo, was one fatality in a deadly

campaign of anti-Cuba sabotage that targeted Cuban tourist facilities. Di Celmo was

killed by a bomb which exploded in the Hotel Copacabana in Havana. According to trial

testimony, well-known anti-Cuba terrorist and former paid CIA operative, Luis Posada

Carriles, was the mastermind.

Open Letter to Prime Minister Harper Regarding Cuban Democracy

CubaSiTuesday, December 10, 2013

Office of the Prime Minister

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa, ON

K1A 0A2

Prime Minister Harper,

We the Cuba Edmonton Solidarity Committee take issue with your veto blocking the participation of Cuba in the Summits of the Americas gatherings until Cuba has a duly elected government.  We would like to understand why you would take such a stance when Cuba’s government is clearly more democratic than that of Canada.

Allow us to compare Canada to Cuba to determine which country is best represented by their government.  To start, Canada is ruled by the Queen who is not elected nor appointed and not even Canadian.  Then we have you, the Prime Minister, who is elected as a member of parliament.  You were elected as the leader of the Conservative Party by members of your own party, which does not reflect the will of anyone but your own political party.  Yet now as leader of the Conservative Party, you govern the country with a majority government that has less than half the vote.

Next we have the House of Commons, the only part of our government that is truly elected, but they are powerless as they are sworn to serve the Queen and not the people.  The members of the House of Commons have no free vote, with the exception of a few independent members, who became independent as a result of not voting with the party line and daring to represent those who elected them.

Then we have the Senate, which has the power to stop any bill the House of Commons presents to them, for without Senate approval no bill that originates in the House can be passed into law. Yet the Senate does not necessarily need the House to create and pass bills. The main problem however is that the Senate is not elected but appointed by the Governor General who in turn is appointed by the Queen.

In contrast, Cuba’s 614 seats in the National Assembly of People’s Power (that has legislative power) are elected and must have more than 50% of the votes from their constituency or there are by-elections until that requirement is met. Cuba’s Council of State, a 31 member body of the government is elected by the National Assembly of People’s Power and the Council of Ministers and consist of those that were voted into the National Assembly of People’s Power.  In Canada, as you well know, government ministers are appointed by the Prime Minister.

Moreover, we believe it is fair to say that voter turnout reflects the people’s respect for their government. The lack of turnout suggests that the voters do not believe in the system. To Canada’s credit the most recent election showed a significant increase in voter turnout at 61%.  Cuban voter turnout in their last election was 95%.  Canada’s population of 34 million people are represented by 308 members of elected officials, whereas Cuba’s population of 11 million are represented by 614 elected officials.  This would suggest that Cuba has 6 times the representation compared to that of Canada.

Cuba indeed has a more grassroots democracy than that of Canada or any other western nation and for this reason, we would respectfully suggest that you withdraw your support of President Obama on the issue of whether Cuba should be invited to future Summits of the Americas. Supporting President Obama on this issue is an indication of how out of touch you are with true democracy.


Cuba Edmonton Solidarity Committee

United Nations Resolution Against U.S. Economic Sanctions Against Cuba

October 25, 2013

The Honourable John Baird
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0G2

Dear Minister Baird,

Re: United Nations Resolution Against U.S. Economic Sanctions Against Cuba

On Tuesday, October 29, 2013, the General Assembly of the United Nations will for the twenty-second successive time vote on the annual resolution condemning the economic sanctions imposed on the Republic of Cuba by the government of the United States. Washington’s policy – with its extra-territorial character – is a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and customary international law. Moreover, it is the principal obstacle to Cuba’s social and economic development, costing the island nation more than $100 billion. Through coercion, Washington seeks to negate and extinguish Cuba’s right to self-determination and independence. In short, Washington’s economic aggression is an egregious violation of the human rights of the people of Cuba.

For twenty-one consecutive years, the nations of the world have massively repudiated the U.S. economic war against Cuba.  In 2012, for example, by a vote 188 to 3, the international community overwhelmingly stood with Cuba. Canada was counted in those ranks resoundingly rejecting the coercive, unilateral and  extra-territorial U.S. policy. We, therefore, encourage and urge the Government of Canada to once again take its place among the overwhelming majority of the world’s countries and vote in favour of the resolution put forward by the Republic of Cuba.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Isaac Saney,
Co-Chair and National Spokesperson
Canadian Network on Cuba

Meeting with the Consul General of Cuba

Current Developments in Cuba
Meeting with the Consul General of Cuba to Canada, Javier Dómokos Ruiz
Open Meeting
Date:        Sunday, June 16
Time:        5 p.m.
Place:        Ukrainian Centre, 11018 97 St NW
Sponsored by the Cuba Edmonton Solidarity Committee
Member of the Canadian Network on Cuba
All welcome
For information, contact:
Dougal MacDonald, (780) 668-7810,

Public Meeting: Lessons of the 1962 Missile Crisis

Lessons of the 1962 Missile Crisis

Defend Sovereignty and the Rights of All! End the Blockade!

Thursday, November 15 at 7PM
Telus Centre Building room 217/219
University of Alberta Main Campus
(Corner of 112 Street & 87 Avenue)

Join the Cuba Edmonton Solidarity Committee as we divulge unknown facts and bust the myths about the Cuban Missile Crisis and show the real role that Prime Minister Fidel Castro played in defending Cuba’s sovereignty and the rights of all.

Information on the Ernesto Che Guevara Brigade to Cuba in April 2013 will be shared as well.

For more information please call 780-293-8496.


During the recent Women’s World Baseball Cup held in Edmonton from August 10-19, much was made in the monopoly media of the so-called “defection” of four players from the Cuban women’s team.   The first player who left the team immediately entered the United States, clearly pointing to U.S. involvement in the incidents.  This is not surprising.  The U.S. ruling circles have long tried to use promises of high salaries to lure Cuban baseball players to the U.S., beginning in 1991 with Rene Arocha who left a plane in Miami, the main U.S. hotbed of anti-Cuba organizations and activities.  The golden promises of imperialism have long ago proven to be fraudulent as only a handful of tempted players have ever actually become members of U.S. professional teams, with most only for a short time.

The long-term U.S. program to steal athletes from Cuba and other countries has extended beyond baseball but has been met by principled resistance by almost every Cuban athlete.  Teofilo Stephenson, the Cuban champion heavyweight boxer who won three gold medals at the Olympics (1972, 1976, and 1980), three golds at the World Amateur Championships, and two golds at the Pan-American games, and who passed away on June 11, 2012, was also approached with promises of a lucrative professional career in the U.S.  Stevenson, who defeated at least three subsequent U.S. professional heavyweight champions at the Olympics, and was often referred to as “the greatest fighter who never turned pro” refused.  In 1974, he turned down a $5 million offer to fight U.S, champion Muhammad Ali, responding, “No, I will not leave my country for one million dollars or for much more than that.  What is a million dollars against eight million Cubans who love me?” 

In their articles about the Edmonton tournament, the monopoly media freely use the Cold War term “defectors” to deliberately suggest that the four Cuban players are not returning to Cuba for political reasons, trying to turn the incidents into another political attack on Cuba.  This is ridiculous as it is well known that millions of people emigrate every year from countries around the world, including the United States, for many different reasons.  For example, Wikipedia states that, “As of 2010, the number of American long-term residents in the United Kingdom giving up on their U.S. citizenship has overwhelmed the U.S. embassy to the point where waiting lists extend for more than half a year.”  If the monopoly media is so interested in “defections” why not write an article on the hundreds of thousands of defectors from the United States?

Glaringly, the monopoly media articles about the Edmonton tournament make no mention that Cuba has been under an economic blockade by the United States that began in 1958 with an arms embargo even before the January 1, 1959 Cuban Revolution.  In March 1960, President Eisenhower approved a covert action plan that included: a) termination of sugar purchases b) the end of oil deliveries c) continuation of the 1958 arms embargo, and, (d) organization of a paramilitary force of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba.  This plan led to the dismal failure of the U.S.-organized Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs) invasion on April 16, 1961, which was routed by the Cuban people.  Over the decades, the U.S. has tightened the blockade, for example, the Torricelli Act (1992) and the Helm-Burton Act (1996), to try to force the Cuban people to change their political views and organization, all to no avail.  The Cuban people continue to stand up for their right to determine their own future and refuse to be intimidated.

The relevance of the 54-year long illegal U.S. blockade is that it has had a very negative effect on the Cuban economy, creating much hardship for the Cuban people.  That is why it is opposed by the majority of the world’s people.  In the last United Nations General Assembly vote on the blockade in October 2011, 186 countries voted against the Cuba blockade with only the U.S. and Israel voting in favour.  This was the 20th consecutive United Nations resolution by a huge majority calling for an end to the blockade.   However, the United States, which calls itself a “democracy” still ignores world opinion and international law, and fanatically continues its illegal measures against the Cuban people.  The U.S. ruling circles still futilely dream of restoring a pre-revolutionary Cuba run by U.S. sugar millionaires and mafia gangsters but those days are long gone.

It is estimated that since 1994, the reinforcement of the U.S. blockade has damaged the Cuban economy in terms of lost income and forced expenditure to the tune of one billion dollars, which is equal to half of the country’s current import capacity.  Even though international law clearly forbids stopping the flow of food and medical supplies, Cuban patients have been deprived of every medication internationally patented by any U.S. manufacturer since 1980. This covers almost half of newly discovered medicines.  The decades-long U.S. attack on the living conditions of the Cuban people is likely the most important factor in causing a few random individuals to succumb to the false promises of U.S. agents and their counterparts in foreign countries.  The rest continue to emulate their champion Teofilo Stevenson.  As former Cuban heavyweight Félix Savon said at Stevenson’s funeral, “They offered him, offered him and offered him and he did not abandon his country.”


26 of July Movement Celebration Thursday, July 26 @ 7:30 PM

Dear friends of the Cuba Edmonton Solidarity Committee,

please accept our invitation to an evening of music and sharing as we celebrate the revolutionary movement that gave rise to the Cuban socialist struggle that established a sovereign nation and confronted imperialism. We are eager to dispel the myths surrounding Cuba, it’s people and government and learn from their experience to strengthen our movement for a more progressive future here in Canada.

Join us for dinner, drinks and discussion as we determine what we may learn and apply from the July 26 Movement in the Canadian context.

Thursday, July 26, 2012
7:30 PM
Ukrainian Centre Hall
11018 – 97 Street NW

Menu provided by Cafe Coral de Cuba:
pork cutlet
congri (rice and beans)
tomato salad

Cash bar

We look forward to celebrating the 26 of July with you!


Larry and Judy Haiven
Cuba Moves to Co-operativism: A presentation on a recent study tour of Cuba

Monday, May 28, 2012
7:30 PM
Strathcona Centre Community League
10139 – 87 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta

Still embracing socialism, Cuba is now embarking on radical economic and political decentralization, with cooperatives as a centre-piece policy.

In Decemeber, instructors and students from the Master of Management – Cooperatives and Credit Unions at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova scotia and other coop specialists, met with policy-makers, farmers, academics and other leaders in Cuba to talk about their move towards more cooperative management.

Come and learn more about these challenging changes.