Alicia Jrapko: Solidarity Can’t Be Blocked

Alicia Jrapko: Solidarity Can’t Be Blocked
Fecha de publicación: 
26 June 2021
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This woman is a North American citizen, but she was born and raised in Argentina. In 1976, when she left her homeland during the military dictatorship, she already "knew that there was something extraordinary about Cuba and the determination of its leadership."

"In those years Cuba was almost mystical in its struggle for a better world," she recalls, "in Latin America was forged a great respect for Cuba, for Fidel, Raúl, Che and many other revolutionaries. In Argentina we wanted the same thing. But it was not achieved and many of my generation lost their best sons. "

With this upbringing, Alicia arrived in the United States (U.S.) and "it was difficult to understand the aggression, the lies, and the attacks against Cuba by the media and the government."

When and how did she visit us for the first time?

It was in the early nineties that I learned about the project led by the beloved and admired Reverend Lucius Walker. The project was fundamentally about the fight against the blockade, but also about friendship and solidarity. We knew that the humanitarian aid we brought to Cuba was symbolic, but we wanted to show that the U.S. government could not block solidarity between the peoples. And we wanted to show that Cuba was not alone. Lucius was an exceptional leader. The experience of traveling to Cuba in the Pastores por la Paz caravans changed my life forever and brought me closer to Cuba and its people.

What does this island represent in your life?

Cuba represents what’s possible when there is political will on behalf of a government and its people. But above all it represents love for humanity.

As a mother, I was attracted to the way Cuba educates its children. Despite the blockade and the difficulties the island suffers, you can sense the joy, the culture, the integration of all. Children learn to live in a society where the human being is the core base instead of profits that society shows. That’s why Cuban society shows the best of the human being.

Is that why you’ve never given up joining us in the fight against the blockade?

In the solidarity work with Cuba in the United States, the constant has been the fight against the blockade. More than 60 years have passed and very little has changed. There have been some small positive advances during the Carter and Obama years, but in general the different Democratic and Republican administrations pursue the same thing, to destroy the Cuban revolution.

The U.S. does’t want to accept that there was a revolution in Cuba, and that this small rebel island remains firm in keeping its revolutionary project. The U.S. sees Cuba as a bad example and every day they reinvent a way to destroy it.

In our solidarity work, our task is to denounce the impact of the U.S. blockade against the Cuban people.

And what are your main arguments for that complaint?

We have many arguments, like for example that Americans can travel to almost any country in the world, but Cuba. It’s a right that’s denied to them. Another argument is that every year the United Nations General Assembly votes for Cuba against the blockade. In other words, the whole world with Cuba except for the United States and one of its allies, Israel. This is a strong argument that shows that Cuba is not alone. In the next few days it will once again become clear that the world is against the blockade.

Another argument is to make public the work of the Henry Reeve Brigade in the fight against the current pandemic. We encourage the Nobel Peace Prize for the Brigade. When we talk about the Latin American School of Medicine we also explain how hundreds of young Americans from humble families have the chance to study medicine without paying a penny. That is Cuba and its internationalism. Many people are unaware of all that Cuba has been able to do in the midst of the blockade. That’s why our job is to spread the word about what this wonderful island has done and keeps doing.

Cuba has offered and given solidarity to the whole world. One way to give back to Cuba everything it has done for other countries is to stand behind that solidarity.

Right now, groups of Cuban Americans are organizing Caravans against the blockade and for family unification, and many American cities and people from all over the world have joined them.

Why is international solidarity so important on this issue?

The blockade is a crime of such magnitude that if people in the U.S. were not kept in the dark from the truth about Cuba and the U.S. policy towards the island, they would be truly astonished. The best example is the case of Elian González. A boy who had lost his mother and was kidnapped by distant relatives in Miami. Day and night the media talked about Elián. And Cuban politicians who hate Cuba showed their true face. People could see it. In the end, the case was about the right of a father who wanted his son back in Cuba. Cuba organized a very strong campaign for Elián's return, and the feeling of the majority of Americans was that Elián should return. The U.S. government at the time had no choice but to return the boy, despite the pressure.

Today, solidarity with Cuba is priority not only within the United States but throughout the world. We are going through a very difficult time, in the midst of a pandemic. Many people thought that with Donald Trump leaving the presidency, we would at least go back to the Obama days. But that didn’t happen at all, it just worsened. What Trump proposed and implemented for Cuba stay intact and Biden has reversed absolutely nothing, just as the inclusion of Cuba in the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, an infamous lie. But we cannot allow all this stops us, on the contrary. We must keep on fighting with more energy for the end of the U.S. criminal blockade against Cuba.

If you were asked to tell what the life of Cuban women is like, what would your story be about us and the way in which the blockade also hinders us?

It’s difficult for me to comment on the life of Cuban women. You live that reality, what I have seen is that Cuban women are represented in all sectors of society, at governmental level and also the professional level. Many go on internationalist missions. I admire the independence of Cuban women and their daily struggle with hardships, many of them caused by the blockade, which touches all aspects of life in Cuba, is the greatest obstacle to full development and the human potential that Cuba holds.

A lot is spoken about human rights in Cuba, to what extent does the blockade limit those rights?

The campaign on human rights in Cuba is another huge lie. The U.S. does not say a single word about governments that systematically violate human rights like the government of Colombia, or Brazil. The right to health and education guaranteed in Cuba are true human rights. The irony is that this human rights campaign is orchestrated by the country that violates human rights every day.

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