Thursday, 19 February 2009


Unusually, the lunch today is a formal occasion, in that we are dining with Oscar Martínez Cordovés, deputy head of the international relations department of the Central Committee of the the Communist Party of Cuba (Cubans like their titles !!!) and Teresita Trujillo, Official of the Foreign Relations Department of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. the first thing to say is that meeting Teresita is always like meeting an old friend and Oscar, despite his position is friendly, down - to- earth and chatty. This is going to be the most informal of formal lunches !!

Our hosts are interested in information about the SSP and we discuss our upcoming conference, where Luis Marron will address the party on the 50 anniversary of the Cuban revolution. they want to know what issues we will be discussing and we outline some debate we have had on our election strategy and changes in our party structures over the last couple of years.

For the delegation, one of the big questions is , what would the Cubans like us to do when we return to Scotland - Teresitas reply ? "I have a list !!!"

Oscar and Teresita went on to explain that solidarity with Cuba is very important and they thank the SSP for its support but that would not be enough if people in Scotland did not have the information about Cuba and, maintaining contacts with the central committee directly and through Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign is vital. Teresita explained that a practical example of this would be for us to contact all US senators and representatives with a Scottish background or family history, to give them information about the appeal process of the Cuban 5. At home, contact with our own MP's, MSP's and MEP's would put the pressure on the political establishment in the UK to support the return of the unjustly imprisoned Cubans.

The delegation were quite pleased that there was a practical direction that we could all channel our enthusiasm when we get home. We were told earlier that this SSP delegation was an unusually large delegation (9 people) and that we have stayed for a longer period of time (15 days) typically a delegation is 2-3 people and come for 2-5 days. we have been occupied with many meetings, information gathering and travelling, but still we have only scratched the surface, but with all the political stuff comes so much kindness from our hosts that one of the delegation has coined a new phrase joining holiday and delegation to describe our trip as a "holigation" which I think sums up the trip nicely.

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