The Canadian Federation of Students stands against the US Embargo on Cuba and is in solidarity with the Latin American and Caribbean Continental Organization of Students (OCLAE) opposing US imperialism in Cuba.
The Federation has a history of international solidarity with students around the world, in which the Federation has collaborated with Latin American and Caribbean Continental Organization of Students (OCLAE) – an organization made up of 40 students’ unions and groups from 20 countries, representing more than 100 million students – which has been a student force against the embargo and shares many of the same goals as the Federation, such as free education.
The economic blockade, which has lasted 60 years, is the principal obstacle to Cuba’s economic and social development and is illegal under international law. A further 243 sanctions imposed by the United States government continue to hinder Cuba’s access to important medical supplies, especially during the pandemic. This embargo limits food, fuel supply, medical supplies and medicines allowed to enter the country. The United Nations has passed a resolution annually since 1992 in support of lifting the embargo against Cuba, with 184 countries (including Canada) voting in favour of ending the blockade. US sanctions imposed on Cuba have hindered pandemic response and access to necessary supplies such as medical equipment and supplies for vaccine distribution. The embargo continues to perpetuate harm upon Cuba as a collective punishment that specifically aims to destabilize its economy and promote regime change.
Students have been at the forefront of anti-war movements and have a history of supporting peace and solidarity. The Federation and its predecessors have a history of taking a strong and principled stance against war and imperialism through several campaigns, including Students Against War and Drop Fees Not Bombs. The student movement in Canada has a history of opposing the US invasion of Cuba and Canada’s involvement in the Peace Movement throughout the 1960s and the 1970s.
Students make the connections between challenging colonialism and imperialism with the struggle for free education. Students know that free education is a tool that can be used to challenge imperialism and colonialism and that free education is the only way to ensure that education is accessible to all. Cuba has been a global leader in providing free education for not just domestic students but also international students, many students from the Global South. Additionally, Cuba has shown solidarity by providing medical aid to Italy and Vietnam during the pandemic and has a long history of providing aid to the United States during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The people of Cuba have been able to share this despite a six decade trade embargo placed upon their economy.
Canada’s relationship with the United States continues to permit all sanctions on Cuba and other countries, and by the Canadian government acting to oppose the embargo is an important step in leveraging the relationship between the United States and Canada in the spirit of peace and international solidarity.
Students in Canada call to action for the Canadian government to demand an immediate end to the illegal 60-year-old US economic blockade & lifting of 243 sanctions imposed by the United States government.
Canadian Federation of Students