November 2 Chicago Speak Out and Picket against the US Blockade on Cuba

As part of the international week of protests against the US blockade against Cuba, we in Chicago organized a press conference and picket line on November 2 at noon in Federal Plaza. The keynote speakers were Dr. Peter Orris, Director of the University of Illinois at Chicago Occupational Health Services Institute, and professor of Health Services, UIC; Reverend Juan Angel Gutierrez, pastor of North Shore Baptist Church, and board member of Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America; Carelia Rivero Garcia, a Cuban immigrant; and Danaka Katovich of Chicago Code Pink. Other speakers included members of the Green Party, Chicago for Abortion Rights, Chicago Anti-War Coalition, Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Socialist Workers Party.

Dr. Peter Orris stated, “I call on the Biden administration to engage with Cuba, not to blockade Cuba. I call upon the administration to stop their interference with Cuba’s development.”

Rev, Juan Angel Gutierrez: “There is no reason at all to keep the embargo on Cuba. There is no reason to keep Cuba on the list of sponsors of terrorism. There is no evidence to be able to do that. We know sanctions don’t work. It puts a lot of weight on the innocent people of Cuba. As a Christian I have to be against anything that causes death, poverty and oppression of people.”

In all, 52 people participated in the protest, one of the largest turnouts in protest of the blockade since our first caravan in March 2021. In spite of the news blackout by the press, our picket and statements were livestreamed (or here)  Other actions against the blockade included a demonstration of 300 in New York City, 125 in Los Angeles, and 100 in San Francisco.  Approximately 20 cities in North America joined the week of actions calling for an end to the US blockade. The UN vote was an overwhelming rejection of US policy and blockade against Cuba (185-2 voted in support of Cuba and against the blockade).

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