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Workshop

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									Workshop on Cuba in Quebec's Alternative Days
By Arnold August

QUEBEC, Canada, Aug 26 (acn) A workshop on Cuba was held last week as
part of the yearly Alternative Days Meeting, sponsored by the
Alternatives ONG. The event, held in the countryside near Montreal was
attended by nearly 380 activists from Quebec and other parts of the
world, who gathered in workshops, like the one on Cuba, and plenary
sessions to address several domestic and international issues.

A report by the Table de Concertation de Solidarité Québec-Cuba
explains that Victor Hugo Carranza, from Alternatives, introduced the
discussion by saying that he had visited Cuba on several occasions and
always came back impressed with the island's numerous achievements. He
recalled Cuba´s successful performance in the recent Beijing 2008
Olympic Games.

Canadian author Arnold August, provided the historical context of the
50-years old revolution and some of the reasons explaining its capacity
to overcome all the political pressures and the US economic blockade in
order to survive and thrive. With participatory democracy as one of the
fortresses of the Cuban system, he related his experience in the
Municipal Assemblies (municipal governments), the People's Councils
within the Municipal Assembles as the basic grass-roots level of the
state, as well as the National Assembly (parliament) and the upcoming
consultations to take place on the new draft bill on social security.

Meanwhile, Marcela Escribano, from the Brazilian Partido de Trabajo
(Labor Party), who had also spent time in Cuba as an Alternative
activist, related some of the changes taking place in the economic
field, such as access to markets, some commodities available to Cubans
for the first time, as well as new policies with regards to the
countryside and small farmers and an increase in international
investments.

A very lively debate and exchange followed. Some questions were asked of
the panellists while others gave their own experience based on their
visits to Cuba and on what they had read.

								
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