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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