Dear Endorsers and Supporters of the International Cuba Conference,
As a result of the mounting public health crisis around the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Organizing Committee of the March 20-22 International Cuba Conference has decided to reschedule the Conference. We think it would be irresponsible to hold the International Conference at this time due to the public health situation in the world and particularly in New York City. We are now planning for a new date for the conference over the weekend of November 13-15, 2020 in New York City.
The November 13-15 weekend is after the US elections. It is also shortly after this year’s annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly in support of Cuba against the United States government’s “Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo.” That vote is scheduled for October 26-27, 2020. We will, of course, continue to monitor the public health situation and be vigilant regarding the conditions in November so our growing movement can be as safe as possible.
- The unfolding of events began with the recent announcement that the United Nations had to cancel its annual March International Women’s Month activities, cutting out the planned visit of the delegation led by the Federation of Cuban Women who were to participate in the Conference.
We began to see some cancelations of airline reservations from Conference participants and Panelists. Last Saturday, March 7, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an official declaration of a State of Emergency in New York State. This led directly to the loss of our venue at Fordham School of Law which has canceled all events including classes, shutting down until further notice, as did many other universities and colleges. There is a growing shutdown of public spaces and restrictions and self-restriction on movement and public activity and interaction that affects the entire population.
We take this action regretfully, particularly since all indications pointed to a very successful weekend. We are convinced that we were on course for the biggest and most politically united Cuba solidarity gathering in decades – with an Action Program to fight the blockade on all fronts. We are determined, given the advances of our organizing efforts, to turn a negative into a positive.
To maintain this momentum, we are proposing that on March 21 we organize a digital platform, utilizing expanded ZOOM telecommunications technology for a 2-hour program combining the Opening and Closing Plenary sessions so all can participate. Additionally, the subcommittees that have been putting together the 6 excellent Panels that were central to the Conference are going to meet and see about organizing their Panels to present on digital platforms and ZOOM telecommunications over the March 21-22 weekend or in subsequent weeks. Please stay tuned for this information.
We are adjusting to the realities we face, but we are not backing down. With the unity of purpose, around this cause of fighting to end the again-escalating US economic and political aggression against our sisters and brothers in Cuba, the island of solidarity, we will continue and overcome.
Cheryl LaBash, National Network on Cuba
Ike Nahem, New York-New Jersey Cuba Si Coalition
Isaac Saney, Canadian Network on Cuba
Gail Walker, IFCO/Pastors for Peace
John Waller, Seattle Cuba Friendship Committee
For the Organizing Committee, International Cuba Conference.