Ana Margarita Gonzalez and Rafael Hojas
The importance of these regional events and their contribution to an approach between the nation and the immigration was highlighted by Gerardo Peñalver, general director of bilateral affairs from the Foreign Ministry of Cuba in the 9th Meeting of Cuban Residents in Europe that was closed on Sunday, October 12, in Vienna, Austria.
Elizabeth Palmeiro –the wife of Ramon Labañino, who is one of the three Cuban Five that is still held in the US for fighting terrorism-, as part of the panel Three heroes are unjustly held, thanked the efforts of those organizations attending the event to spread the truth about the Cuban Five. She urged to strengthen the struggle for their return to the Homeland and updated the current situation of Gerardo, Ramon and Tony.
In the Meeting, organized by the association of Cubans living in Austria, Cuba Va, in coordination with similar groups from other countries in Europe more than 100 delegations from 21 countries also participated. As surprise for many, a delegation from fellow countrymen living in Venezuela also attended the event. They arrived to support their compatriots and exchange experiences.
Meetings in Vienna ratified the need to strengthen the associations, intensify the job of the Cubans living in Europe and make a greater use of social networks to spread the reality and denounce the unjust policy of blockade by the US against Cuba. They also stressed the job with the new generations and Cuban descendants, by the teaching of history and the promotion of Marti’s thoughts.
For Josefina Sanchez, one of the organizers, “the 9th Meeting is the continuity of the job to make people know that, despite we live far from our Homeland, we love it and we are faithful to the Revolution. And it will have a great impact due to the messages that were transmitted in each activity.”
Among the most relevant activities is the visit to the Australian Parliament, where during an exchange with deputy Christine Muttonen, from the Social Democratic Party, the delegates highlighted the links with the Cuban government with Austria, the role of that party in the promotion of the cooperation with Cuba, and explained the damages caused by the blockade to the people, about which the legislator reiterated her reject to that absurd policy.
“One of the main purposes of those who meet every year in a different country from Europe is to support the model Cuba represents in relation to social justice, make evident the truth of our country and hold it as a flag. We all agree to demand the end to the blockade and the freedom of Gerardo, Ramon and Tony,” Josefina said.
“The great majorities of the Cubans living in Europe were born with the Revolution and were cultural and professionally trained inside it, so we have the best conditions to spread the truth. This is a power that shows the quality and range of these events.”
Josefina and her family devote special attention to the collection of funds to keep the continuity of the international events like Voices for the Cuban Five which is developed in London and the activities Five days for the Cuban Five that gets stronger in Washington.
The activities recognized the effort of the compatriots to attend this type of event, because all the expenses are self financed. “Solidarity is just like that; it is born from devotion. Tendency in the last years has been to increase and it is also to have more members to join our proposals in each event,” Sanchez said.
On his part, Virgilio Ponce talked about the exchanges with other Cubans that came from the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and France and noted “we met well known poets, journalists, musicians, scientists, athletes… who have lived abroad for many years trying to keep their links with Cuba.”