Monday, 20 October 2008

Lift the Blockade of Cuba!

Dear friends of Cuba,

Lift the US blockade on Cuba - Urgent appeal for your solidarity

On October 29, the UN General Assembly will once again vote on Cuba’s annual motion calling for the criminal US blockade against it to be lifted. It is likely that the overwhelming majority of the General Assembly will vote with Cuba once again. However, given the Australian government’s prevarication on this vote in recent years, it is crucial that all supporters of Cuba’s right to sovereignty urgently put pressure on the minister of foreign affairs and Australian ambassador to the UN to this year vote in favour Cuba’s motion without amendment.

Please find below a “model” letter (to be modified as you wish) to be sent to the minister, with a copy to the Australia’s ambassador to the UN, urging their support for Cuba’s motion.

Please also forward this letter as widely as possible to others in the next few days with a request that they actively support this emergency campaign – the letters need to be received by the minister by October 24 to be effective.

Thank you for your solidarity.

Lisa Macdonald

************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* *********

The Hon. Stephen Smith

Minister for Foreign Affairs

PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Fax: 02 6273 4112

Phone: 02 6277 7500

Email: Stephen.Smith. au

Cc: The Hon. Robert Hill

Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations

150 East 42 Street, Level 33, New York NY 10017, United Nations

Fax: 212 or 646 351 6610

Phone: 212 or 1-646 351 6600

Dear Minister,

We are writing to urge you, as a representative of the Australian people, to ensure that Australia votes in support of the government of Cuba’s motion to the United Nations General Assembly on October 29 calling for the United States government to lift its 46-year-long economic blockade on Cuba.

The lifting of the US blockade is, this year, more urgent than ever following the devastation of Cuba last month by hurricanes Gustav and Ike. While Cuba’s remarkable achievements in social development meant that very few lives were lost as a result of those natural disasters, the US blockade – by preventing Cuba from buying most construction and other supplies directly from the US - is a huge obstacle to this tiny country’s ability to recover from the hurricanes. On humanitarian grounds alone, we believe it is incumbent on Australia to do all it can to end this unjust blockade.

As in every previous vote on Cuba’s motion to the UN, it is likely that the overwhelming majority of General Assembly members will once again recognise that the US blockade is a flagrant violation of the Cuban people’s right to decide their own government and future, and support the motion. We urge the Australian government to do likewise, and to refrain from sponsoring, as it did in 2006, an amendment to Cuba’s motion that sought to interfere in Cuba’s sovereign affairs.

As a nation that values democracy, Australia has a responsibility to advocate and uphold in forums such as the UN the right of all nations to self-determination, just as we expect our national sovereignty to be respected. To sacrifice such democratic principles to an economic and foreign policy alliance with the United States shames Australia in the eyes of the rest of world.

We urge you to take a principled stand on behalf of the Australian people and ensure that Australia votes in favour of Cuba’s just motion in the UN.

Yours sincerely,

[Name and contact details of individual or organisation]

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