A SPECIAL INVITATION TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FROM BRIAN GORDON SINCLAIR: HEMINGWAY ON STAGE
July 2, 2014
Dear President Obama:
Greetings from “Ernest Hemingway” or, at least, from the “spirit” of Ernest Hemingway. For many years now, I have written of and portrayed the Nobel Prize winning author to the point that I am often asked to speak in his persona.
Today, I have the pleasure of addressing you from the headquarters of the House of Culture for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Dominican Republic. I speak to you as a citizen of Canada, as a citizen of the European Union, as a friend of Cuba and as a friend of America. I also speak to you as one who loves freedom everywhere.
Unlike many others who have written to you with great passion and in the name of justice, I speak not of politics but of love. Ernest Hemingway opened a doorway that allowed me to discover the vibrant love of literature and people that is Cuba. He lived there for over twenty years until forced out by America’s fear of socialism. His spirit, however, is still there. I know that because when I meet the people of Cuba, as a writer and performer of Hemingway, I can feel it, deeply. His spirit exists in the people, in their hearts.
Hemingway has moved into legend. In Havana, in Holguin and in Santiago, I have had the pleasure of sharing that legend. I have portrayed Hemingway at the 50th Anniversary of the meeting of Fidel Castro and Ernest Hemingway. They met at an international fishing tournament organized by Hemingway and where Fidel won the tournament trophy. I have appeared in Holguin at the Cuban 5 Colloquium, not only speaking in support of freedom but also relishing the joy of a great festival of the people called Los Romerias de Mayo and I have appeared in Santiago de Cuba, sharing my work with student audiences in the Cathedral of Santiago and participating in the astounding International Festival of the Caribbean. In each case, my experience was intensely personal. In each case, Ernest Hemingway led me to and through an island that I did not know, to an island that now summons me to know more, much more. I hope that island will summon you as well.
Again, I will avoid the rhetoric of protest and politics. I will not speak of unjust imprisonments. I will not speak of trade sanctions designed to create “hunger, desperation and overthrow of government”, nor will I speak of military prisons on foreign soil and, finally, I will not speak of more than half a century of antagonism. I know you are familiar with these issues. I will only suggest some excellent, recent books that illuminate the relationship between America and Cuba:
What Lies Across the Water by Stephen Kimber;
Cuba and Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion by Arnold August;
The Economic War Against Cuba by Salim Lamrani.
Instead of polemics, I will speak of children gathered round, eager to hear the stories of Ernest Hemingway and I will speak of baseball.
Recently, I became the patron of the Ernest Hemingway children’s baseball team, known as the Estrellas de Gui-Gui or the Gigi All-Stars, in San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. The team was originally formed in the 1940’s to provide an activity for Hemingway’s sons when they visited their father. It was named after Hemingway’s youngest son, Gregory, also known as Gig and Gigi. During this time, Hemingway provided uniforms, equipment and drove the kids anyplace they could scrounge a game. At Christmas, the children were invited to Finca Vigia (Lookout Farm), the Hemingway estate, where Ernest would tell stories to the children and give each one a present.
Three years ago, the Director of Museo Hemingway and Oscar “Cayuco” (the Homerun Kid) Blas, the 84 year old surviving member of the original team, decided to revive the Gigi All-Stars. It has been my pleasure to assist with that revival. In December of 2013, I not only had the privilege of arranging uniforms and equipment for the team but I also revived the storytelling tradition along with the presentation of a gift to each child. One of the stories I told explained how the children stopped stealing mangoes from the estate when they had a positive alternative - the great American and Cuban pastime, baseball. The event was so successful that it will continue as an annual event as long as the team exists.
Mr. President, “Ernest Hemingway” now summons you to Cuba. I ask that you make this visit to honour the legacy of a great American writer. I also ask that you make this visit for the love of baseball, for the love of children and for the love of our common humanity. I guarantee, you will love the game; you will love the children and, by the end of your visit, you will love the warm, friendly, generous people of Cuba. This year, let us give the Gigi All-Stars a real present – real and enduring freedom.
By the way, Mr. President, at Finca Vigia, we will be able to eat all the mangoes we want. We will also be able to end a blockade, free some prisoners and become friends. In the name of Ernest Hemingway, let us meet; let us do this. As a well known American president once said, “It’s the right thing to do.”
My kindest regards to you and your family. I look forward to your response in the near future.
Brian Gordon Sinclair
Brian Gordon Sinclair
“Hemingway On Stage”
P.O. Box 337
Canada L9R 1V6
The following is an excerpt taken from the introduction of the report by Cuba on Resolution 67/4 of the United Nations General Assembly entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”
The economic, commercial and financial blockade of the Government of the United States imposed since the beginning of the Cuban Revolution continues to be, after more than 50 years, and despite protests by the international community, the main point of reference for United States policy towards the small Caribbean island in its obsession to destroy the Revolution and restore its hegemony over Cuba.
The foregoing is clearly seen in the systematic tightening of the policy of economic suffocation and the strengthening and integration of laws and provisions that govern this policy.
Because of its declared purpose, the political, legal and administrative framework on which the blockade rests qualifies as an act of genocide by virtue of the Geneva Convention of 1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and as an act of economic warfare as outlined in the Declaration Concerning the Laws of Naval War adopted by the London Naval Conference of 1909. The blockade against Cuba is the most unjust, severe and extended system of unilateral sanctions ever enforced against any country.
As a result of the strict and aggressive enforcement of laws and regulations that typify the blockade, Cuba is still unable to freely export and import products and services to or from the United States; it cannot use the US dollar for its international financial transactions or hold accounts in that currency in third-country banks. Nor is Cuba permitted access to loans from US banks or their branches in third countries and from international financial institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund or the Inter-American Development Bank.
During the period discussed in this Report, the harassment of Cuba’s international financial transactions has been one of the most significant characteristics of the enforcement of the blockade. Besides constituting the main obstacle to the economic and social development of Cuba, the blockade is the most important obstacle for greater expansion of trade relations between Cuba and the world and it severely impedes international cooperation provided and received by Cuba.
The economic damage caused to the Cuban people as a result of the enforcement of the economic, commercial and financial blockade by the United States against Cuba, as of April 2013, and considering the depreciation of the dollar in terms of the price of gold in the international market, totals USD 1,157,327,000,000.00.
The economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba is illegal and immoral and it must end.
- To read the entire document click here -
VII Continental Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba "Comandante Hugo Chavez"
We, the more than three hundred delegates from 35 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, USA, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East have gathered in Caracas, Venezuela, 24 to July 27, in the VII Continental Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba.
Inspired by the example and legacy of Simon Bolivar, Jose Marti, Fidel Castro, the eternal Commander Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro and Nicolas Maduro, and under the 230th anniversary of the birth of the Liberator, the 160th anniversary of the birth of José Martí, the 60th anniversary of the attacks on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, in the 55th year of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and the 59th birthday of Commander Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias
After six decades of heroic struggle waged by the Cuban people against imperialism and its criminal consequences, which enabled it to conquer for its people, a life of dignity and to deploy its humanistic solidarity for the peoples of the world, which is on record in the history of mankind, its worthy example has become fertile seed that begins to reap rewards, with the triumphs achieved by the struggles waged by other countries of the Americas, such as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and others who lead real integration and unity of our peoples, to their self-development, dignified and sovereign.
- Our firm will and commitment to the defense of the Cuban Revolution, its independence, sovereignty, self-determination, dignity and all its accomplishments, which are an example for the peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean and the world.
- To support the heroic process of the Venezuelan people and its Bolivarian Revolution, democratically endorsed in the recent elections, we value its prominent and leading role in promoting the unity and true integration of our peoples and governments through mechanisms such as ALBA, CELAC, UNASUR and Petrocaribe, among others.
- We reject the genocidal, inhuman and anachronistic blockade on Cuba by U.S. imperialism and denounce the policy of permanent aggression developed by the different administrations in power.
- We condemn the interventionist policy of the United States against the fraternal Cuban people, to encourage internal political subversion by financing the counterrevolution and mercenaries who betrayed their country, have been given to actions that threaten the people and their dignified Revolution.
- We demand the immediate and unconditional release of the Cuban heroes who remain unjustly imprisoned in the United States and whose rights are constantly violated. Similarly, we demand of the U.S. government the extradition of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to face the 73 murder charges related to the bombing of a Cubana de Aviación airliner. We also demand the extradition of other fugitives from the Venezuelan justice who enjoy the protection of the United States in Florida, whose extradition requests remain pending before the State Department. Protecting terrorists and criminals, is to be complicit in their crimes.
- We welcome the return of compañero René Gonzalez Schewerert to his homeland and together with his family, having fully met the unjust and cruel sentence passed in a rigged trial, we recognize the role and constant efforts of the international mobilization in protesting this injustice which is still imposed on his four brothers Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez and Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez.
- We exalt the economic and social achievements made by the Cuban Revolution, despite the criminal blockade, which are recognized by various UN agencies such as FAO, UNICEF, UNDP and UNESCO, which refutes the slanderous and distorting campaigns seeking to hide them.
- We condemn the aggressive and interventionist policy of the United States and its allies, in different regions of the world, the installation of a global system of military bases, some call secret water lilies, and activation of the 4th Fleet in the Latin American region, which defiles and undermines the sovereignty of the peoples and undermines peace and peaceful coexistence. We similarly demand the return of territory occupied by the U.S. in Guantanamo against the will of the Cuban people.
- We welcome the worthy presidency of Cuba in CELAC, which constitutes a major construction and consultation space for the unification and integration of our peoples. Consequently we congratulate the first conference of social movements in the countries that are part of this organization.
- We flatly reject the aggression carried out by the United States and the servile attitude of the governments of Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, against the constitutional President of the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia, Evo Morales, which constitutes an affront to the Peoples of Our America and a return to colonial status that is still in force in different world regions.
- We condemn the neo-colonial occupation of the territories of the Americas, in all its manifestations, which are its victims: Puerto Rico, the Malvinas, and other peoples of the Caribbean, and we support their struggle for independence.
- We support the struggles of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, against toxic open-pit megamining by capitalist corporations that mean the death of human beings and the destruction of the environment and diversity.
- We support the ongoing efforts to achieve peace in Colombia.
- We reiterate our solidarity with the Haitian people and express our support for their demand for withdrawal of foreign troops from their territory.
- We call for the strengthening of the continental solidarity movement with the Bolivarian Revolution, the peoples of the ALBA and others fighting for their liberation, to safeguard the unity and integration process of Latin American and Caribbean.
- We subscribe to the agreements and the final declaration of the social movements of the CELAC.
- We welcome and appreciate the presence of the families of the Five in this great Continental Solidarity Meeting.
- We thank the Government and people of Venezuela, the Mutual Venezuela-Cuba Solidarity Movement and the Bolivarian Youth, for the extraordinary welcome given to us, which made possible the realization of this successful meeting.
Given in the city of Caracas, Venezuela on the 27th day of July 2013.
Google translation. Revised by Walter Lippmann.
International symposium on Cuba’s role in ending apartheid in South Africa
September 27 & 28, University of Toronto
"The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice unparalleled for its principled and selfless character.”
- Nelson Mandela, July 26th , 1991 –
The two-day symposium, Africa’s Unknown War: Apartheid Terror, Cuba & Southern Africa Liberation, commemorates the 25th anniversary of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, a landmark in the struggle for African independence & self-determination: the decisive defeat in Angola of the racist armed forces of the apartheid South African state by combined Cuban and Angolan troops. This led to the immediate independence of Namibia and accelerated the end of racist rule in South Africa. These events and Cuba's extensive & crucial role in the struggle against apartheid South Africa, however, remain virtually unknown in the West. Also forgotten is the apartheid regime’s regional war of terror, which set the context of Cuba’s intervention, which cost hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars of economic damage.
The symposium is being held at the William Doo Auditorium, 45 Willcocks Street, University of Toronto. The symposium features visiting scholars and activists from Cuba and elsewhere who participated in Cuba’s anti-apartheid action. The event begins at 7pm, Friday, September 27 with the film screening of Brothers and Sisters Keeper: Cuba and Southern African Liberation, followed by panel discussion and reception. On the following day, Saturday, September 28, the program continues from 8:30am – 5pm with a series of panels and keynote presentations on the following topics: Apartheid's War of Terror; Cuban and Southern African Liberation; The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale & Legacies of the Liberation Struggle.
Featured speakers include: *Jorge Risquet (Cuba’s chief diplomat in Africa in the 1970s-80s); *John Saul (internationally acclaimed scholar and anti-apartheid activist); *Silvio Baró (scholar of Cuban foreign policy and former member of Cuba’s mission to Angola); *Piero Gleijeses (Professor of U.S. Foreign Policy and Johns Hopkins University, and 2005 Guggenheim Fellow); *Prexy Nesbitt (former representative of the MPLA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola) in the United States).
Sponsors include: University of Toronto (African Studies, Caribbean Studies Program & New College): CUPW; Chair of Black Canadian Studies, Dalhousie University; USW; A Different Booklist; Canadian Network On Cuba; Group for Research and Initiative in the Liberation of Africa.
For more information please you can contact Isaac Saney (
; tel. 902-494-153); Melanie Newton (
; tel. 416-978-4054); Miguel san Vincente (
; tel. 416-538-0889)
http://www.cubaafrica.org/ | www.facebook.com/events/148051462051547/
The Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association (CCFA) Toronto is deeply saddened by the sudden death on March 30th 2013 of Peter Kormos, a dear friend in the Cuban solidarity movement.
During his 23 years as a Member of the Ontario Legislature, Peter Kormos was well known as a strong advocate for the working class. The citizens in Niagara Region elected Peter to Regional Council just over a year ago. He was a principled and outspoken fighter against injustice as well as for better living conditions for people in Ontario.
Peter attended many of the CCFA Toronto events. At almost every Toronto-Cuba Friendship Day at Nathan Phillips Square, Peter Kormos’s strong voice rang out across the Square. Peter spoke passionately about Cuba, for its outstanding accomplishments in the face of a powerful enemy as well as it being a beautiful country with warm and friendly people. He called for the immediate release of the five Cubans unjustly held in US jails because of their attempts in Miami to prevent terrorism against Cuba. He strongly condemned the US Blockade of Cuba, usually ending his comments with “Cuba Si – Florida No!
We will miss him dearly.
Elizabeth Hill, President
Canadian Cuban Friendship Association Toronto
(Oda al Segundo Liberator)
Today the sky is the colour of hope
Blue penetrating to the depths of the universe
Did you see it, Hugo?
Did you see it?
You under the sky in your bright red shirt
Life blood meeting hope
Blending to the green of Pachamama
Madre Tierra who is also your mother
You of the mixed bloods of so many peoples
A world of peoples in your being
Indigenous, African, Gallego
Your very self a symbol of unity
Did you know this, Hugo?
Did you know this?
You the singing head of state
The praying head of state
The hero of the poor
You saw the previously faceless
You heard their silenced voices
The Constitution in one hand
And the Bible in the other
You, uniting heaven and earth
In your vision
In your dream that was born
A mere 58 years ago.
So quickly you have gone
From life not to death
But from life to legend
A legend that inspires
In the footprints of Bolívar
But with your own unique steps.
You were reborn
While still living
You, the President on foot
Your seeds you scattered well
Multiplying ideas among the people
Many hands creating your works
Millions and millions of chavistas
At your mother’s knees you learned
The beauty of teaching elders to read
You also wanted to be a painter
To catch the world in the colours of the rainbow
The colours of your banner
Blue your independence from Spain
To match the colour of the sky
Red your courage to dream
Larger than life - and to turn those dreams
Into schools and clinics and homes
Yellow the riches of the land
The riches that are the people
Did you always know this, Hugo?
Did you always know this?
We weep while the red wave embraces you
A tsunami of love for the love you gave
We weep while we turn our pain into words
Words that can guide our actions
“You are more alive than ever”
Says Evo the wise man
From his ancient knowledge
“Those who die for life cannot be called dead”
Says Nicolas, speaking of your death
“You gave your life to give life to your people”
Says Adolfo, the sculptor of human rights.
You built more than schools and clinics
Taught more than just to read
You also built hope
For Venezuela and the continent
Of Maduro you spoke like a poet
When you said “If I’m unable to,
With his firm hand,
With his gaze,
With his heart of a man of the people,
With his gift for people,
With his intelligence
God knows what he does,
If I’m unable to continue
Maduro will know the way.”
Did you know even then, Hugo?
Did you know even then?
We will miss your ready smile
Your all-embracing laughter
The way you crossed your chest
To show your love
We will miss your fiery passion
Your eternal optimism
Your complete surrender
To the Bolivarian dream.
You could recite at will
The words of Bolívar
Of San Martín, of Martí
History was your guide
While you made your own way
And helped create a new history
For your beloved Venezuela.
And just as Violeta Parra sang
“Gracias a la vida”
We want to sing to you, Hugo
To sing the song of you, Hugo
“Gracias a tú vida”
5 March 2013
by Arnold August
Havana, Cuba, March 13, 2013 (UPEC) On March 5, 2013, I was accompanying the President of the Unión de Periodistas de Cuba – UPEC (Cuban Association of Journalists), Tubal Páez. The occasion was a ceremony to honour an outstanding Cuban journalist. It took place in the small town of Juan Gualberto Gómez in Matanzas province. The town eponymously honours the son of mulatto slaves born there in 1854 on a sugar plantation. After the First War of Independence (1868–78), Juan Gualberto Gómez founded La Fraternidad, a newspaper dedicated to racial harmony, liberty and social progress for people of colour. In March 1880, he was arrested for supporting the Cuban independence fighters and deported to Spain. However, he continued contributing articles and letters to La Fraternidad and to El Abolicionista (“The Abolitionist,” in favour of the abolition of slavery). He returned to Cuba in 1890. During the Third War of Independence (1895–98), he was a close collaborator of José Martí. After the war, when Cuba’s victory against Spain was recuperated by the U.S., who imposed its domination, he continued his work as a journalist. Juan Gualberto Gómez did this in various forms, opposing U.S. neo-colonial control. He combined journalism with political activism. He is famous for his outspoken opposition to the U.S.-sponsored Platt Amendment, which, he declared, had reduced the independence and sovereignty of the Cuban Republic to a myth. He thus was strongly opposed to the annexation of Cuba to the U.S. He died 80 years ago, in 1933, after which the sugar plantation town adopted his name.
During the solemn ceremony conducted by villagers in Juan Gualberto Gómez, which was taking place in front of his portrait bust, I heard a cellphone ring at 5 p.m. Tubal turned toward me and said softly, “Murió Chávez” (“Chávez has died”). It was a shock. Even though the daily Communist Party Granma’s headline that day had clearly indicated the extremely precarious medical situation brought about by the aggravated health condition of the Venezuelan leader, it was impossible to believe. Is it true? How can it be that this dynamic, relatively young and smiling Chávez is no longer physically alive? After coming to grips with the reality, I told Tubal there are some moments in life that one never forgets. These two softly spoken words, “Murió Chávez,” uttered with a combination of sadness and firmness on March 5, just minutes after the Bolivarian Revolution’s leader passed away, was one of these instances.
There are several moments since the 1960s when transcendental news of this type has been ingrained in the memory of individuals and peoples. Which “headlines” hold importance for a person or a people really depends on where one stands on history. During every anniversary of the assassination of J.F. Kennedy and, of course, the U.S. September 11, 2001 terrorist tragedy, we are called upon by the mainstream media to think back to the specific moment where we were when these events took place and how we reacted to them. In the case of September 11, 2001, this abominable act has no words to describe it. However, my gut reaction to September 11 every year is to also remember the U.S.-orchestrated coup d’état in Chile on September 11, 1973 that resulted in the assassination of Chile’s elected leader, Salvador Allende, and a fascist dictatorship. I remember exactly where I was on that day and my revulsion the moment I heard the news. Before that, on October 9, 1967, I remember the exact spot on McGill University’s campus in Montreal where I heard from a fellow student that Ernesto Che Guevara was assassinated in Bolivia. These are precise, vivid moments that I, and many others around the world, remember.
Now there is another one for me: March 5, 2013 in Juan Gualberto Gómez, Matanzas, Cuba. This island and its people and leaders opened the path in 1959 to the new Latin America that is now developing, spurred on by Hugo Chávez. In the days following his passing away, we were able to experience in Cuba and through the Cuban television broadcast from Venezuela that, in life and as in death, Comandante Chávez was an architect of a new Latin America and Caribbean that is no longer the backyard of the U.S., as they conceive it. This accomplishment was demonstrated so clearly by the presence of heads of state and high-level representatives from the entire region south of the Río Grande at the official funeral ceremony for Hugo Chávez; in addition, representatives from all continents were present to recognize and pay homage to this great achievement and others. This regional integration is still in motion, a dream in the making. It contributes to establishing a new world where no super power dominates and where each country and its people are free to develop the democracy and socio-economic system that it chooses to follow and build on its own.