Saturday, February 11, 2012

Charity, or Justice?

An online friend of mine, a social worker, recently returned from Cuba.  I told her I’m planning to travel with the 23rd Friendshipment Caravan again this summer, and she responded:

“I wonder about the impact of charity on the Cuban identity and their autonomy. I have this same concern with the work I do but do it anyways, cuz where would the people be without it?  Very hungry and cold!”

Regular Street Newz readers know that we appreciate the hard work of front line workers, but ultimately we hope to inspire change at the source.  We, along with the reputed 99%, realize that the overall situation is in serious need of an upgrade. 

I told my friend that the Caravan does function in the realm of charity, bringing donated hospital and school supplies directly to an organization of Cuban people (not the government) who distribute the aid using an application process.  In addition, though, the Caravan is working for fundamental, foundational, systemic change.  We demand a normalization of relations.  For the past 50 years, US Foreign Policy has maintained an immoral and (according to everyone at the UN General Assembly except the USA and Israel) an illegal economic blockade against the small island nation whose experiment with socialism is perceived as an ideological threat.