‘From Australia to Cuba with Love’ is a campaign run by the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society, now in its second year, with more than fifty people around Australia cycling, walking, running and swimming the distance between Havana and Canberra, 14,886 km.

The campaign aims to raise awareness about the impact of the US blockade on this small island in the Caribbean, and also to raise funds for vital medical supplies. Lachlan Hurse, the spokesperson for the campaign said:

“The impact of the blockade is cruel. For instance, dozens of Cuban children are diagnosed every year with ‘Retinopathy of Prematurity’ and can face blindness if they are not properly treated. Cuba is unable to purchase equipment only available from the United States to treat this disorder. Similarly, Cuba doesn’t have access to Nusinersen, a drug for children suffering from infantile spinal muscular atrophy, as it is produced only by the United States multinational company Biogen. And the list goes on.”

“From Australia to Cuba with Love involves participants collectively travelling the distance between the capitals of the two nations over eight weeks, so it’s quite a challenge for us’ said Lachlan. ‘But now we’re in the final stages of the 2023 campaign, we have the target in sight, and are confident we’ll achieve it”.

“While it’s a national campaign, there has been a big uptake by people in Brisbane and surrounding areas, so we’ve successfully held group walks and rides in some of Brisbane’s popular places, which has given us a chance to talk to people and distribute information,” Lachlan added.

“We’ve had walks at the City Botanic Gardens, Wynnum and Sandgate, rides around the Brisbane River and to Nudgee Beach, and this Saturday we have a walk in West End along the river, starting at Orleigh Park.”

To coincide with the campaign, two Cuban guests will be speaking at a range of events in Brisbane next week. Iván Barreto López, an international relations expert from the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People, and Marianniz Díaz Hernández, a researcher from the Centre for Molecular Immunology who was involved in the development of Cuba’s Covid vaccines. They will be providing an insight into life in Cuba today, their response to the pandemic in the context of sanctions imposed by the United States for over six decades, following the revolution of 1959.

You can hear Ivan and Marianniz on Wednesday, 26th July, at a public meeting being held at the Trades and Labour Council Building, 16 Peel Street, South Brisbane at 6.30 pm.

More information about ‘From Australia to Cuba with Love’ is available on the campaign website.

Images supplied.