NNOC Spring Members Conference Call Report

Mar 29, 2018 by

NNOC Members Spring Conference Call


The spring 2018 NNOC members’ conference call took place on Sunday, March 18 2018. There were 35 participants representing many of the 42 NNOC member organizations.

ICAP had been invited to participate and were eager to call in but unfortunately the difficulties and costs due to the blockade made it impossible.

Along with explaining the situation that prevented ICAP from calling, co-chair Alicia Jrapko announced that the long time ICAP North American representative, Leima Martinez had been promoted to head the Asian desk of ICAP. We all send Leima our appreciation for her work with us and wish her well in her new position. Elizabeth Ribalta will now be coordinating the May Day Brigade.

Alicia also spoke about the difficulties Cubans are facing in travel to the U.S. both because of the blockade and now further difficulties as a result of reduction of embassy staff and the necessity of travel to a 3rd country just to request a travel visa to the U.S. Suggestion made to invite Cubans such as Victor Dreke and Mariela Castro to tour U.S.


May Day Brigade: Cheryl LaBash has been working with the U.S. participants, as well as with ICAP and Marazul. The deadline for applications has passed and final payments are being made from approximately 80 people from all parts of the United States. So far, NNOC member groups and individuals have generously contributed $1030 to the NNOC to help people participate in the brigade. To date, the NNOC has received funds from the Minnesota Cuba Coalition, Richmond/Regla Friendship Association, Joel Swartz, and Tatia Ash. The Chicago Cuba Coalition has held a number of fund-raising events to assist people from their area. Cheryl announced that conference calls will be held with the participants to assist with orientation, expectations, information, and to answer questions and concerns before the delegation arrives.

Finances: Treasurer Don Goldhamer. Current bank balance is $7406. Income   totals $5590 and expenses $5386 from January 2017-March 2018. First NNOC scholarship of $500 winner was Justice for Cuba/Doctors for Detroit (selected by random drawing) who awarded the funds to Makini Kweli who will participate in the May Day Brigade.



Griselda tour: Ike Nahem

Ike reported about the tour: It was a very successful tour from 1/30/18 – 2/22/18; many cities. People were very eager to listen to variety of experiences directly from a Cuban; Catherine Murphy was very committed to the project. First presentations were in Chicago and Milwaukee and this inspired people from the East Coast to work on it, key activists participated in conference calls and organized a number of events, distributed materials, including May Day Brigade. It was an important political tool; Cuban revolution through literacy campaign, and an example of people to people project. The tour was financially solid and organizers were able to keep a surplus.

Federation of Cuban Women/Cuban Jurists: Gail Walker

Delegation in New York City area to attend the annual forum on the Status of Women at the United Nations. It was an honor for Cuba to be represented.. A number of people were part of the delegation from different sectors of Cuba society. While in the area they participated in a number of activities, including a solidarity event organized by Cuba Si Coalition.


African Awareness Association:

Black History Annual Education and Culture Tour July 23 -30 2018. Travel to Guantanamo, Santiago and Havana. For more information contact: African Awareness Association Inc., P.O. Box 4433, Richmond, VA 23220; 804-549-7492 or 202-714-9435. They have been sponsoring delegations since 1998. Get more information at: www.aaa-cubatours.com


Venceremos Brigade: Malcom Sacks

Next year will be the 50 anniversary of the VB and the organization is mainly focused on making it a successful trip in 2019. So this year they will have a small delegation to coincide with May Day Brigade, it will be a challenge trip. Brigade wants to organize events all over the country to prepare and recruit for next year’s brigade.

Pastors for Peace: Gail Walker

Organizing the 29th Caravan to Cuba to the Eastern Provinces, Santiago and Guantanamo. Will be able to see damage of Hurricane. Will visit Caimanera and will visit Fidel resting place. It will go through Toronto, dates are: June 22- July 31. Orientation will be 16-18 of July. Flyer is ready.

Bill Hackwell, 4th Days of Action against the Blockade
International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity

Trump change in policy towards Cuba will make it harder to bring Cuban guests. We are in discussion about dates; September seems to work very well because students are back. Will again take place in Washington DC. We are discussion our focus, that may be education and health care. And we are in touch with ELAM graduates who participated last year.

Member Group Reports

In Cuba, CTC/Cuban History joint labor history seminar near May Day. This year the Socialist Workers Party has been asked to present on the current situation and prospects for the U.S. working class. The dates are while the International Brigade is in Camaguey but others are invited to attend. 

African Awareness Association Offer to host NNOC National Meeting in Richmond, Virginia.

Minnesota Cuba Coalition. June 2018 National Mayors Conference in Boston. Should there be an NNOC call to bring resolutions about ending the blockade to that meeting? Minnesota is working on such a resolution for the National Conference of Mayors to pass a resolution against the blockade. Other cities have passed resolutions maybe they will want to help. Can raise this with the May Day Cuba travelers? What else is being done around the country on resolutions?

Albany Cuba Coalition. Currently we don’t function as a network, but as islands. We find out too late about events in other areas for committees to benefit from the work of other committees. Have the Network do centralized fundraising by centralizing t-shirt, bumper sticker or button production that would not be economical for one committee to produce. A new member in Albany wrote a recent book about Cuba’s Literacy Campaign and he might be available to speak in other cities. Committees need to share ideas very early on so all can benefit.

Treasurer: should the Network have a way for member organizations to communicate directly with each other? This has been proposed and discussed in the past. Networking vs national organization should be encouraged.

Facebook and NNOC email list are efforts at addressing the desire for more communication. Central material production, some of that is in place already.

Have a catalogue of brochures that can be used by all groups.

Note: websites for member organizations are available on the NNOC web site

Minnesota Cuba Coalition has video of Cuban judge on both the Minnesota Cuba Coalition’s website and facebook page. Not available to travel due to academic commitments.

Does the Minnesota Coalition have films that can be showed around the country? None are free movies; they need an agreement with the producers. Several cities have requested how to do a film festival. It is available on the Minnesota Coalition website.

Proposals for fall meeting added: Virginia and Minneapolis will offer to host meeting. A request for proposals will be sent out later so that all groups have the opportunity to volunteer. The Chicago and Seattle successful national meetings took place while travel of Cuban guests was easier. Needs to be evaluated in light of the new situation.






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