The Annual General Meeting of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign took place on 11th June 2011 at the headquarters of the National Union of Teachers in London. Around 100 delegates from across the country and from affiliated organisations including the Trade Unions discussed the report of work of CSC over the previous 12 months as well as adopting an Annual Plan detailing all the proposed activities for the next period.
Christine Blower, NUT General Secretary opened the conference. She described her admiration for the Cuban Education system calling it a “work of wonder”. Christine said that her union had long association with the Cuban teachers union and she was pleased to say that the Cuban union would be in attendance at Education International in July in South Africa this year.
The AGM also heard from Elio Gámez, Vice President of ICAP (Instituto Cubano de Amistad con Los Pueblos). Elio described the attitude of the Obama regime towards Cuba saying that any changes ‘had been in style not substance’.
Elio said that there were new problems in the world arising from climatic changes which had impacted on Cuba with 16 hurricanes between 1998 – 2008 which together had caused huge losses to the Cuban economy.
He spoke about the debates of the 6th Congress of the Cuban Communist Party which had involved 8 million people in discussions, 3 million contributions and almost 800,000 modifications to the proposals being introduced. He said that this broad process was in effect a popular referendum on the proposals.
Elio emphasised that Cuba was not going to go down the capitalist road which was not an alternative “Cuba would continue to construct our socialism”. “We are never going to betray you” he said, “Cuba will carry on fighting to construct ‘our socialism’ and demonstrating that another world is possible.”
In conclusion he thanked CSC, its members, affiliates and unions for all their efforts. He said that in this year of the 50th anniversary of ICAP, that CSC had a special place in the international solidarity movement.
On behalf of CSC Angela Smith, Vice Chair, made a special presentation to ICAP to mark their 50th anniversary.
The AGM received the Annual Report and accounts and agreed a work programme for next year.
In moving the Annual Plan Bernard Regan, CSC Secretary asserted that the position of the British Government and that of the European Union did not break with the US policies and that the attention of the Campaign should focus on this. He emphasised the importance the Campaign attached to the ongoing work of the Miami 5 campaign.
Delegates discussed a number of motions on the recent economic changes in Cuba and the role of the Cuban trade Unions movement. There were also motions on Cuba and the upcoming Olympics and a major Art exhibition to be held in the Spring of 2012.
Rob Miller CSC Director made a special presentation on behalf of the campaign to the current Political Counsellor of the Cuban Embassy Luis Marron who will be ending his term of office this year.
The AGM also elected a new 36 person Executive Committee to oversee the programme of work over the next 12 months.
CSC Chairperson Keith Sonnet thanked everyone for their attendance at what had been a very positive and inspiring AGM.