Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective
Statement on the Elimination of People-to-People Travel to Cuba on June 5, 2019
We are saddened and angered by the Trump administration’s latest move against Cuba. On June 4, 2019 it was announced that as of June 5, 2019 the people-to-people travel license would be eliminated, further restricting the freedom of US citizens to travel to Cuba and ending the license many solidarity groups have operated under to sustain meaningful exchanges in Cuba.
First and foremost, we want to say that we fully stand in solidarity with the Cuban people, that we firmly disagree with the elimination of the people-to-people license, and will do all that is in our power to ensure that our delegations to Cuba are protected. Our work continues. We understand these policies to be imperialistic tactics to undermine the sovereignty of Cuba and the Cuban people. And we know that our work continues to chip away at the already reduced support for the 60-year blockade against Cuba.
As a collective, we will be working with our trusted partners—the—as well as with other Cuba solidarity organizations and legal counsel, to develop a way forward for our Cuba work. It’s important to note that Witness for Peace brought groups to Cuba prior to the existence of the people-to-people license under other licenses that still do exist, so we’re cautiously optimistic, and want to be clear that this is not an end to our Cuba program.
Over the last year we have had the privilege of hosting delegations exploring solidarity through themes like Maroon Roots and 21st Century Revolution; Urban Agriculture and Ecology; Healing and Social Justice; Arts, Culture and Black Identity; and Education and Culture. Each delegation works to build our knowledge through educational exchanges and personal experience to change the narrative, uplift what we have to learn from Cuba, and ultimately change the damaging and unjust policies against Cuba.
We encourage all who have been to Cuba to share their experiences through their social media, with their communities, organizations and friends and family. Reach out to our Cuba team and your regional organizer for support on following through with actions proposed during your delegations with us, or submit a blog post of your experience. Join us in continuing to change the false narratives and build and expand solidarity with the Cuban people.
For the past five months we have been radically rebuilding as a horizontally-governed, worker-driven WFP Solidarity Collective. As you may know, last December, the Witness for Peace national organization laid off all staff. But that’s not the end of the story.
Driven by dedication to our work and mission, grassroots Witness for Peace regional organizations, former national staff and International Teams united together to push forward against the odds. In January, we launched the Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective, grounded in horizontal and participatory governance, to continue to build justice in Latin America and the Caribbean.
We are still on the ground carrying out the vital mission of Witness for Peace, and we’re building up to be stronger than ever.
Since the founding of our Solidarity Collective in January of this year, we have completed:
- 12 Delegations, impacting the lives and deepening the global understanding of over 100 US-based activists.
- 762 hours of International Accompaniment in Honduras and Colombia, responding to urgent requests from partners under a spike in death threats.
- 4 Urgent Actions for human rights defenders facing attacks and had close to 1,000 actions taken.
- A Speaker’s Tour Spanning 3 Regions, reaching over 1,500 people from Minnesotato North Carolina to Massachusetts building bridges of understanding about the roots of the Honduran migrant crisis.
- 3 showings of a Traveling Art Exhibit on Colombian human rights defenders created by a former Colombia delegate.
- 19 Congressional Meetings, 17 Direct Actions, 23 Educational Events, 25 Media Interviews, and 8 Analysis Pieces.
And we need you now more than ever. This week the Trump Administration dealt a violent blow to our Cuba Delegations program and the Cuban solidarity movement, by eliminating the people-to-people travel license. Based on preliminary research of the new restrictions, we know that Cuba travel will become more complex, but we are determined to find paths to sustain our important Cuba delegations program.
Show up for solidarity with Cuba, and join a delegation today!
Many of you have participated in delegations and Speaker Tours and know that our International Team (IT) members are the core of our organization. We need your help to maintain their critical presence accompanying our partners in Honduras, Colombia and Cuba.
$30 maintains an International Team (IT) in communication with the Collective and our partner organizations for a month
$75 keeps the lights on at one of our international offices for 1 month
$150 covers transportation (which often involves flight + bus + canoe) for a 5-day accompaniment in Honduras or Colombia
$160 buys a one-year visa renewal for IT
$300 supports a 3-day accompaniment by 2 IT members
$750 pays 1 month of rent at one of our country programs
$2000 continues the work in one of our country programs for 1 month
Or consider becoming a sustaining monthly donor.
Thank you for being part of this movement as we take this bold step forward as the WFP Solidarity Collective, rooted in Witness for Peace’s powerful legacy and driven by the movements, collaborations and creative emergent strategies of today.
WFP Solidarity Collective