Seven tons of powdered milk sent by Code Pink, The People’s Forum and Puentes de Amor are on their way to pediatric hospitals in Havana.
HAVANA TIMES – Cuban-Americans and US citizens took part in sending seven tons of powdered milk from Miami to Havana, as part of a solidarity project organized by the NGOs Code Pink, The People’s Forum and Puentes de Amor.
During a live stream on Facebook on January 15th, Carlos Lazo, the founder of Puentes de Amor, stressed that this shipment had been bought with the “hard work of solidary people in the US.”
He also highlighted the support they received from YouTubers and lots of people who were unable to cooperate financially but did share the message so milk could be bought and to pay for transport costs to the island on a charter flight.
He explained that the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center in Havana will be responsible for distributing the milk to pediatric hospitals in the Cuban capital, destined for children and pregnant women admitted.
“We are stretching out a hand to our people during these difficult times of the pandemic,” the Cuban-American said, an activist for solidarity between Cuba and the US, who advocated for the establishment of “scientific and economic cooperation between our people.”
Meanwhile, he asked everyone to support the end of the US government’s blockade on the island, reinstating the family reunification program, opening up the US Embassy in Havana again and for flights to resume from US soil to Cuban provinces.
In a post on this same social media network, feminist NGO Code Pink said that it was still working to “build bridges”, so that donations won’t be needed one day and the “Cuban population can satisfy its own needs. This means demanding the US to #EndTheBlockade and #LetCubaLive!”.
[Editor’s note: The good thing about the embargo/blockade is that it doesn’t include food items or medicine. The Cuban government can buy whatever it likes (in cash) and can receive donations. In fact, when we look at long lines across the country to buy chicken, suppliers of this chicken are almost always from the US, its enemy. Despite having large quantities of idle land, water reserves, capable agronomists and farmers, Cuba must import the vast majority of its staple foods. The million-dollar question is why?]
Gestures of solidarity
A press release published on Code Pink’s website explains that the Food Drive for Cuba began on November 15, 2021, sending 18,000 pounds of food produced in the US.
This donation was also distributed by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center to childcare centers and old people residences in the Holguin, Granma and Guantanamo provinces.
The “Send Milk to Cuba” campaign also supports the end of the US government’s blockade on the island.
The press release also talks about the Syringes for Cuba campaign, where a coalition of US groups raised over 500,000 USD to buy 6 million syringes used in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in this Caribbean country.
The document also highlights the fact that the recent project of US groups to send milk to the island proves the opposition that exists to President Biden’s politics, who has yet to do good on his promise of “swiftly reversing Trump’s failed policies, which have caused great harm to the Cuban people and have done nothing to make progress in democracy and human rights.”
According to Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, “it’s tragic and exasperating to see how President Biden’s policies are harming millions of Cubans and aggravating tensions on the island, especially at a time when the country has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement points out.
Meanwhile, Manolo de los Santos, executive director of The People’s Forum, says that donations “do not compensate damages caused by the US blockade in any way, but they do show our desire for our government to stop choking the Cuban economy and making its people’s lives difficult.”
He adds that solidarity organizations want the “Cuban people to decide their own future, free from US interference.”
Other milk donations
On November 25, 2021, a powdered milk donation was delivered in Havana by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (COSUDE), which was sent to help feed vulnerable groups in Cuba.
According to official media reports on the island, this shipment would benefit over 20,000 people for approximately eight months.
Thanks to COSUDE’s contribution, another 125 tons of powdered milk were sent in June last year, to help families have better diets and especially to more vulnerable elderly people in 54 municipalities in Cuba’s five eastern provinces.
These actions were carried out by the World Food Program which form part of the United Nations Plan to help social and economic recovery in the country due to the impact of the pandemic.
[Editor’s note: Ever since the time of Fidel Castro, and then during the time of his brother Raul, Cuban leaders have spoken about the famous glass of milk every Cuban has a right to if they so desire. Cubans also like cheese, not to mention beef. But yet again, even with all of the necessary ingredients to have a successful livestock industry, these products have been in shortage for decades, less so when they came from the Socialist Bloc before it disappeared, thirty years ago.]