Please scroll down for Translations of the Cuban Speakers, Poems by MARGARET RANDALL and NANCY MOREJÓN, Links to the Artists to support their work and links to Cuban Solidarity groups
Translations of the Cuban Speakers from Spanish – The English Translations
I think cultural exchanges are important, they are necessary among countries, they are a way of knowing each other more, a way of intensifying, a way of exchanging experiences. I think that the rupture in cultural exchanges with the American people has been a big mistake because of everything we have been able to achieve artistically, because of all the great artists who came here, and Cubans were able to get to know them, and the Cuban artists who went to the US, this necessary interrelationship existing between peoples, not just with Americans but with the entire world, the world which lives thanks to all the exchanges. I also think it has affected us a lot from the point of view of what the cultural blockade means, for the shortages we have had in our arts schools, especially how it has affected our kids, in terms of acquiring instruments, things needed for the development of music, dance, visual arts …all the arts really, and this has been something that has hit us hard in a sector that is truly the noblest sector in existence; culture I think needs to be there for unification not for division. That’s why personally I encourage this (blockade) to end and I also want to take advantage of this opportunity, when the world is looking at what Cuban artists and intellectuals are saying, to also join the petition for our Henry Reeve Brigade to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for all their beautiful work throughout the world, bringing a ray of light and hope to different places on the continent.
I am very glad to be participating in this event. It isn’t the first time we are taking part in an event between Cuba and the US, in fact I was one of the people chosen for an encounter among many artists from the US and Cuba, several years ago, and it was tremendously important for Cuba and the US. Almost every year we have been participating in events in the US. Synthesis is a music group which is very much liked, there is a natural market and we hope it continues to go that way. Let’s see what happens when the pandemic is over; even 2019 was great for us because we were working in very important venues in the US. We were even invited to Harvard to give a lecture on Afro-Cuban music. We are proud to have represented Cuba at such an important event. That’s all I have to say and I hope everything flows well, that we don’t forget anyone, so that with or without the blockade we keep on going. We are used to many years of this blockade and we won’t be losing any sleep over it.
Dr. AINUSKA PALACIOS NOA
I am Dr. Aniuska Palacios, specialist in internal medicine, and I am currently the deputy director for international cooperation of the central unit for medical cooperation of the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba. I am here representing the hundreds of Cuban medical doctors who have participated in the various Henry Reeve Brigades. In my personal case, I have been in Africa at different times, first in Botswana, then in Namibia. But I think the most important thing for the Cuban Ministry of Public Health is the upcoming fifteenth anniversary of the creation by our Commander in Chief of the Cuban Henry Reeve Contingent, made up of doctors specializing in epidemic . This was created on 19 September 2005 by our Commander in Chief during the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Katrina that killed many people in the United States. Our country, our government, our health system joined forces with international forces offering help in solidarity to the American people. Unfortunately the US government did not accept our help and our brigade was prepared, with all the logistics in place, and they could not travel to the US to help the people who needed it. Nevertheless, our brigade stayed prepared and has gone out to a number of countries, far and near, to deal with epidemics, disasters, earthquakes, floods. I think one of the most important brigades was the one to Pakistan during its earthquake. We went to Nepal, to Mozambique … we’ve been to Haiti for the floods, we have been there for great epidemics. And now I think it is a time that is very difficult for the world, with COVID-19. Many people have died, but despite all this, the US government keeps on with their ironclad blockade on our country preventing us on many occasions from importing medicines to attend to our people during this epidemic. In spite of it all, we have managed to get through the epidemic, treating our patients and taking our help in solidarity out into the world. At this time, we have different brigades, 41 brigades have gone out to 34 countries, with 3062 health professionals. Many of them have returned home. Just now we received the group that was in Lombardy, and the one from Andorra. And we would like to point out something: all our collaborators, despite the censures and all the threats made against them by the US, have managed to stop the pandemic and to save lives in all these countries. It is important to point out that all of us have gone out, regardless of whether the US government calls us spies or slaves, under the premise of voluntariness, solidarity, altruism and internationalism that was inculcated in us by our Commander in Chief and the Cuban Revolution. It is clear that we go with all the tranquility in the world, knowing that our families, our children, our parents, our brothers and sisters, are protected under the Cuban health system and by the Cuban government.
I think the blockade is totally contrary to life, the need for people to communicate, to exchange ideas in all senses. In fact the blockade has really hurt us a lot and to tell the truth it has strengthened our internal unity beyond the shortages of instruments, resources…it has hurt us tremendously. But we are all convinced that sooner or later the blockade will have to disappear. And the opposite of what I was saying, is the solidarity. At this time there is a highly deserved campaign for giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the Henry Reeve Brigade made up of Cuban doctors who are the quintessence of this very solidarity. So, with both hands, let us vote for that.
“PUPI” CESAR PEDROSO
In fact the Cuba-US relationship is a crime that has happened and is hurting Cuba as much as the American people. From the point of view of technological development, our ability to access instruments, we musicians need to have support for our culture internationally and the United States is a very important venue and so we are limited on all fronts, limited from accessing promotion and technology. And what the US government is proposing to do with the Cuban people is a real crime in this regard.
RAFAEL FELIPE LAY BRAVO
I am Rafael Lay, director of the Aragon Band. Founded on the idea of mass access to culture, arts schools were created to give the possibility to apply to arts schools to anyone who has a wish and the talent. As I said, the possibility arises to create mass access to culture, giving everybody the opportunity to be a part of the arts, to be able to grow artistically; this kind of education in our system has been a fabulous idea. Cubans are a musical people after all, we are a country that loves to dance, within its characteristics and idiosyncrasies…music, dance…the arts in general, culture has always been present in Cuba, so we have created a clearly artistic island, where culture abounds, a culture that is recognized around the world…in ballet, music, the visual arts, in everything. Cuba plays a remarkable role in the arts in the world. Now we believe that recognizing our “heroes in white lab coats” is truly deserved and this is being heard around the world, recognizing our internationalism and our arms open to the world, to help according to our possibilities, with anything we have. So I think that this idea of having them be candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize is well-deserved and magnificent should it happen.
Additional Speakers in Spanish
ANTONIO (TONY) GONZALES
Hello brothers and sisters, my name is Antonio Gonzalez. I live here in San Francisco, California, and I’m here on behalf of the North American native movement to say hello to the great country, the island of Cuba especially the workers, all the doctors and everyone who are helping and those as you know who are always part of the struggle against COVID-19. Cuba has shown itself to be very heroic sending its health workers to different countries in the world which is why the world is looking at the great contribution that you in Cuba are making. And also, it is too bad that we are here with this embargo of Cuba and you over there cannot receive the different kinds of help to be able to live and continue living. We are always struggling here in the navel of the monster, that great serpent, and we are struggling on a daily basis here. We want you to know that we are together in solidarity in this COVID-19, to see if it would be possible for Cuban doctors to come to Navajo lands where the situation is very serious. Greetings to everyone. Long live Cuba!
JUAN DE MARCOS GONZÁLEZ
Hello to my family. I am Juan de Marcos and I am sending a warm greeting to the people of Cuba, people I love and respect a lot. Things are difficult but everything will work itself out. We have been working on solutions for one hundred years so this is going to be resolved. We are facing a difficult situation, look after yourselves. You have to be wary because this virus is evil. I am looking after myself. A great big hello to you all, especially to the health workers who are dedicating their lives both in Cuba and other parts of the world to save lives. You deserve all my admiration and respect. I love you. Since we are all Cubans we shall solve all of this with music. So enjoy yourselves because life is short.
MARGARET RANDALL’S POEM
Far Side of Utopia
If Memory says it’s tired, needs to stop
for a moment and take a break,
remind it of bridges and tunnels,
where water threatens blood
all the way home.
When Memory is tricked or battered
its maturity suffers.
Something is lost forever
between the hand’s warm touch
and temperature of air
as spring settles into summer
and winter remains a distant threat.
Memory breathes down your neck
even when extraneous voices
jostle from all sides
weaving false narratives.
Speeches will be made,
books written and histories stamped
with official seals of approval.
She will find you by instinct,
know you by scent
identify your solid contours
in the shiver of her dignified spine,
depth of breath
and reach of fingertips.
And you will recognize her presence,
invite her into that place
where a child utters his first word,
poetry proclaims its relevance,
and cause and effect
curl into one another,
far side of utopia.
NANCY MOREJÓN’S POEM – Linked
SUPPORT THE ARTISTS -Visit their website and buy some music !
LOS VAN VAN
ALEXANDER ABREU Y HABANA D’ PRIMERA
ADONIS Y OSAIN DEL MONTE
ORQUESTA LA FAILDE
ORQUESTA ARAGON http://www.orquestaaragon.com
JANE BUNNETT Featuring DANAE OLANO
PABLO MENÉNDEZ featuring BARBARA DANE
EMCEE – ANKUR MALHOTRA
PROYECTO SOCIO-CULTURAL EL PATIO DE ADELA Y EL CAVERCHELO.COMB WITH BEN LAPIDUS
ORBERT DAVIS’ CHICAGO JAZZ PHILHARMONIC
JUAN DE MARCOS GONZÁLEZ ,
GET INVOLVED TO SUPPORT CUBA
Want to know more about Cuban solidarity on a national and local level in the U.S.? Visit nnoc.info.
Interested in attending a conference organized around defending Cuba’s right to self-determination and an end to the blockade? Visit www.us-cubanormalization.org
Looking to support the campaign for nominating the Henry Reeves Medical Brigade for the Nobel Peace Prize? Visit: https://www.cubanobel.org/
Interested in learning about Cuba’s medical advances and their fight against COVID-19? Visit: http://savinglives.us-cubanormalization.org
Living in Canada and interested in doing Cuban solidarity work for Cuba? Visit: https://canadiannetworkoncuba.ca
Living in the U.S. and interested in studying medicine under full scholarship at the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba? Visit ifconews.org
Living in the U.S. and interested in joining a brigade with the oldest Cuba solidarity organization in the world? Visit vb4cuba.com
Living in the U.S. and interested in traveling to the island to work in solidarity with Cubans around May Day? Visit http://nnoc.info/mayday-brigade-call/
Interested in participating in the annual Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan travel challenge to Cuba? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in advocating for the end of the U.S. blockade against Cuba? Visit www.lawg.org