Popular Youth Uprising (Levante Popular da Juventude) protesting Cuba’s presence of the US state sponsors of terrorism list (Photo: Junior Lima)
On the morning of September 18, dozens of young people staged a protest outside the United States consulate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to demand that the US government take Cuba off the State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSoT) list. The action is part of an international campaign to end the US-imposed blockade against Cuba and the SSoT designation which has drastically worsened Cuba’s social and economic situation.
The action was organized by the left movement Popular Youth Uprising (Levante Popular da Juventude) a national organization that organizes young people in the cities, countryside, and universities to fight for “structural transformation of Brazilian society.”
In the protest, members of Levante displayed signs highlighting the achievements of the Cuban revolution such as agrarian reform, the campaign to end illiteracy, and increasing access to higher education. They also held up coffins and crosses that had the names of countries that have been victims of US imperialism written on them such as Vietnam, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, and others. They also acted out a scene where a grim reaper with a scythe that had NATO written on it attacked the “peoples” of the world who were then saved by Cuban doctors.
In a statement released by Levante, they declared that they organized the action, “because we understand that the struggle of the Latin American people is unified against the tentacles of imperialism—which can’t stand the idea of our peoples building national projects that serve the interests of our own countries.”
They also highlighted the hypocrisy of the SSoT designation—especially given that it was reinstated by far-right US president Donald Trump (and now maintained by Joe Biden). They stated that Trump “was elected on the same ultra-conservative, neo-fascist and denialist wave as Jair Bolsonaro.” They add that the projects of Bolsonaro and Trump “are responsible for the lives of hundreds of thousands of people killed by COVID-19, for increasing social inequalities and for causing countless wars. Here in Brazil, the representative of this wave, Jair Bolsonaro, is under investigation for various crimes committed during his mandate against the Brazilian people. We know what terrorists they are!”
Daiane Araújo, a member of the Levante Popular da Juventude and also vice-president of the National Union of Students (UNE), stated at the action that Cuba is “the victim of an illegal embargo and is only on the list of countries that support terrorism because the United States is against the self-determination of peoples.” For Araújo, “Cuba is an example of strength, humanism and solidarity throughout the world, defending the sovereignty of people around the world and social justice.”
Levante and other movements, trade unions, and left parties from across the world from the International Peoples’ Assembly (IPA), the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, the World March of Women, the São Paulo Forum, and others, are part of the Let Cuba Live campaign, which is collecting one million signatures to call on Biden to take Cuba off the SSoT list. They will present the signatures to Biden ahead of International Human Rights day in December.