St. Paul, MN – On July 31, the Women Against Military Madness’ Solidarity Committee of the Americas (SCOTA) and the MN Cuba Committee continued their monthly car caravans to show solidarity with Cuba and to demand Cuba be taken off the U.S. terrorist list.
The monthly Cuba caravans are important since they show public support for Cuba, especially since the U.S. is escalating attacks against that country. In Congress this year, Representative Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida introduced HR 314 bill (Senate companion bill S 538), known as the FORCE Act. If passed, it would prohibit removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism until the president makes the determination that a transition government in Cuba is in power. Caravan organizers believe this bill is criminal since Cuba has never invaded or bombed any other country, unlike the United States has.
For two years now, Twin Cities activists have joined the call from Bridges of Love’s initiative, formed in 2021, to continue to have caravans in solidarity with Cuba to demand the U.S. end the blockade. This month, the 20-car caravan wanted to expand their message to Saint Paul.
Before the caravan began, Sarah Martin of SCOTA rallied the crowd, “We demand that the Biden administration remove Cuba from the state sponsor of terrorism list. It harshly exacerbates the cruel 60-year U.S. blockade that has already stolen an estimated $144 billion from the Cuban economy, especially at a time when they are experiencing their worst economic crisis in decades because of the pandemic and fuel shortages from the war in Ukraine. The injustice and hypocrisy of the U.S., the greatest purveyor of violence on earth, punishing Cuba, which sent medical personnel to 50 countries during the pandemic, is grotesquely unbelievable.”
As the car caravan lined up, covered in signs and flags, the lead car had a bright red sign reading, “Cuba and the world against the blockade.” They left the parking lot of the Midway Target store located in Saint Paul and drove east on University Avenue for two miles to the Minnesota State Capitol building. University Avenue is the main street for Saint Paul’s working-class residents. It is lined with predominantly Asian and Black-owned businesses and homes.
As the caravan passed a farmers’ market, the people on the streets saw cars with Cuban flags flying from the windows and covered with signs of “Cuba si, bloqueo no,” “Stand with socialist Cuba,” “U.S. out of Cuba,” and “End the blockade on Cuba.” The cars honked and people chanted out the windows, “Let Cuba live,” “Hey Biden, you must know the blockade has to go” and “Cuba si, bloqueo no!”
The protesters gathered to hold banners at the State Capitol in the middle of their trip. One banner was made of the Cuban flag with the message “End the blockade of Cuba,” others read “Minnesota ‘hearts’ Cuba” and “Cuba off the terrorist list.”
As the caravan made its way back to the Target store’s parking lot, it was mentioned that many other Cuban solidarity groups had done other events during the week in honor of the July 26, the 70th anniversary of a key event in the Cuban revolution, the attack on the Moncada military barracks by rebels lead by Fidel Castro.