Hundreds join annual Trade Union event of solidarity with Cuba
The annual RMT/Cuba Solidarity Campaign was a huge success yet again this year. Now in its 10th year around 500 people heard speeches from Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT and the wives of the Miami Five amongst others.
Opening up the evening Bob Crow addressed those present by declaring that what happens in Cuba is a matter for the Cuban people and the Cuban people alone to decide.
Labour MP and Chair of the RMT Parliamentary Group, John McDonnell MP described Cuba as a shining beacon in the progressive wave in Latin America.
Tony Woodley, Former Unite General Secretary, spoke movingly when he introduced the four wives of the Miami Five: Adriana Perez, Olga Salanueva, Elizabeth Palmiero and Rosa Freijanes. Tony praised all the family members and the prisoners themselves whom he called ‘real heroes’.
Elizabeth Palmeiro, spoke on behalf of all the women, thanking the RMT and all the unions in the UK who had done so much in the campaign for justice for the Five. Elizabeth applauded the ongoing work of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign that had led to such a broad movement of solidarity with Cuba and in support of the Five.
Other speakers included, the Argentinian Ambassador to UK, HE Alicia Castro, Mick Whelan, General Secretary of ASLEF and Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six who spent 16 years in prison, wrongly convicted of the 1974 pub bombings.
The crowds enjoyed the great Cuban style food and the Havana Club based rum cocktails and danced the night away to the wonderful Omar Puente and Raices Cubanas. Maritime House was adorned with Cuban flags and the ‘Blockade Buster’ raffle was a soar away success raising more than £2,000 for the work of the Campaign. The lucky winner of two flights to Cuba was a London taxi driver who was ‘over the moon’ with the prize and very much looking forward to the visit to Cuba.
The crowds partied on ‘til late and were delighted by the fabulous Alabama 3 who kept the politics going with an astute set full of favourites and cutting edge commentary attacking the Government’s austerity programme which ‘hit the hardest the most’.