The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) Strengthens its Friendship with the People of the United States

By Resumen Latinoamericano North America Bureau on November 18, 2015

Photo: Bill Hackwell

Photo: Bill Hackwell

Kenya Serrano Puig, President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples and Leima Martinez of the North America Department of that institution have just finished a tour of  several cities in the United States to strengthen the ties of solidarity between the two countries.  The tour was a collective effort of many organizations who work in solidarity with Cuba in the United States.

As a sign of respect for the Cuban Revolution and the prestige that Cuba has in the world today all the events were filled to maximum capacity from New York, New Jersey and Washington DC to the Bay Area of Northern California.

This is the first time that a President of ICAP has formally visited the United States and comes just a few weeks before the first anniversary of the historic announcement of Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama. December 17, 2014 marked the start of a new era of rapprochement between the two nations and the victorious return of Gerardo Hernandez, Ramón Labañino, and Antonio Guerrero, the three remaining Cuban 5, to Cuba.

Near the end of the tour, one of the events took place at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in the city of Richmond, California. This was the same theater where in 2011 the National Children’s Theater group of Cuba, La Colmenita, performed Abracadabra, a play which advocated for freedom of the Five through the eyes of the children of Cuba.

The current Mayor of Richmond Tom Butt, next to now council-member Gayle McLaughlin, presented to ICAP a proclamation of welcome to the city.

When Kenya Serrano went to the microphone the entire audience stood and gave her a warm standing ovation before she started her speech.

The program also included a message from Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera read by his granddaughter Karina Valentin.  Laura Gómez, a young North-American recently graduated from the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba (ELAM) talked about the life transforming experience she had getting a free education on behalf of the Cuban people to become a doctor. Also speaking was Walter Turner, President of the board of directors of Global Exchange. A musical performance by Son de la Tierra opened and closed the event.

Despite the historic announcement on December 17, the blockade against Cuba remains intact. Those speaking at the event explained the need to increase the effort and commitment in the fight to end it.

The event in Richmond was organized by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity.