National Consultation issues Perth Declaration
The 15th National Consultation of Australia/New Zealand Cuba friendship societies ended its deliberations in Perth recently. With the participation of guest speakers, his Excellency Abelardo Curbelo, the first Cuban Ambassador resident in Australia; Ms Nelida Hernandez, consul-general Ifrahim Miranda, consul; Maria Esther Garcia, Cuban Charge d'Cultural Affairs and
Rigoberto Zarza, Asia-Pacific representative of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, ICAP.
The consultation was officially opened by Greens Senator the Hon. Rachel Siewert. Delegates from Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Albury Wodonga, Newcastle, Brisbane, Perth and NZ discussed the best ways to strengthen the friendship between the peoples of Australia and Cuba.
Concerns were raised on the lack of changes by the Obama Administration in relation to the US policies on Cuba.
It was recognized that even if Obama has the heart and the will it would be difficult to undo the mess that 10 hostile administrations have enacted in law.
Obama's changes to the US blockade on Cuba basically remained in place while the only change was to reduced the right of the Cubans living in the US to visit their relatives once a year in contrast with the previous once every three year condition imposed by the Bush Administration.
In relation to the Cuban Five the right of the wives to visit their husbands continue to be denied. In a recent letter to Obama by more that 170 personalities and Amnesty International they request the freedom of the Five and the right to visit. The punishment to the Five is also a punishment to their families and the dignity of the entire people of Cuba.
The consultation passed unanimously the Perth Declaration which includes the demand to end of the US blockade on Cuba as directed by the UN general Assembly and the Freedom of the Cuban Five.