Public Meeting: Cuba after Elections 2008

7pm, Tuesday, 8 April 2008

TLC Building, 16 Peel Street South Brisbane.

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imageRecently there has been a lot of discussion about the Cuban economy — especially in the Murdoch press — mainly negative comment about agricultural production.

For a discussion on what has been happening in Cuban agriculture see the video below where Roberto Perez, a Cuban biologist and permaculturalist gives a talk about food production in Cuba after the fall of the Soviet Union to students in Auckland. He will be speaking at Brisbane City Hall, Ithaca room, Wednesday 16 April 2008, 7pm.

The Power of Community: how Cuba survived peak oil

for the rest of the video see The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

5 thoughts on “Public Meeting: Cuba after Elections 2008

  1. Greetings Ian,

    Djanbung Gardens Ecommunity News Nov 08

    2008 has been an exceptionally eventful year with the Roberto Perez Oz-NZ Tour, Robyn’s reciprocal visit to Cuba, presentations at APC9, Climate Change|Social Change Conference in Sydney, Climate Change Emergency Conference, Adelaide, and Sustainability Expo in Lismore, PDC’s in NZ and Taiwan, and another wonderful group of students undertaking the full-time APT training at Djanbung Gardens.

    Web master, Paul Joseph, has been kept busy with unravelling 3 attacks on the website earlier in the year and a full site upgrade in recent months, with works still in progress. New site features include enabling comments on news items.

    We apologise for any inconvenience to members during the upgrade process. Unfortunately member info and photos were lost during the upgrade so please refresh your profile. There are still a few glitches to be resolved so we will appreciate notice of any problems and will endeavour to sort them asap.

    Technical support with Joomla would be appreciated for finalising some site features, please contact us if you can help.

    Dont miss the Summer Solstice Celebration, Saturday December 20, starting 7pm with food & music with Healing Earth, Sunset ceremony and live music to late with The Brazil Nuts, Robyn Francis and Pagan Love Cult $10/$7, food & refreshments for sale, proceeds to CAPE Hurricane Appeal for Permaculture Projects in Cuba.

    Cuba Presentation: Living within our Footprint

    Robyn Francis reports from her 2008 study tour of Cuba with a thought-provoking presentation: Target One Earth, Living within our Footprint – What we can learn from Cuba.

    Robyn gave this presentation at the Climate Emergency Conference in Adelaide Oct 10 to 290 people.

    Robyn asserts that Climate Change, Peak Oil and all the other peaks and crises we face are symptoms of living beyond our ecological footprint, of irresponsible economic growth fuelled by over-consumption, greed and speculation.

    Cuba is the only nation living within its ecological footprint, come and find out how Cuba does it and what we can learn from Cuba’s experience

    Thursday 20th November:

    Dinner & Images of Cuba slide show 6-7pm,

    Presentation 7-8pm followed by discussion.

    By donation (food for sale) proceeds to CAPE Cuba Hurricane Appeal
    Venue: Djanbung Gardens 74 Cecil St, Nimbin
    http://www.permaculture.com.au/central/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=112&Itemid=65

    Vocational Permaculture Training Information Days for 2009 Studies

    A series of free information days will be conducted at Djanbung Gardens every Saturday for 4 weeks starting Saturday November 15.

    The information session will begin at 10am with a presentation by Robyn Francis introducing the Accredited Permaculture Training™, qualifications and study options for 2009. The talk will be folowed by morning tea (by donation) and a guided tour of the facilities and living classroom. Erda Institute is the APT training provider in partnership with RTO Eltham College Education Services. Course information and enrolment forms are now available.

    http://www.permaculture.com.au/central/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=111&Itemid=65

    Cuba Post Hurricane Report: Finding Opportunity in Adversity

    CAPE received a report from Roberto Sanchez of FANJ re Permaculture projects affected by Hurricane Gustav and Ike.
    First funds from CAPE hurricane appeal sent to Cuba

    The recovery process is well underway, though there are still many damaged places and much restoration work to complete.

    The loss of crops, soil and organic matter from the torrential rains and flooding, damage and loss of trees that provided fruit, shade, microclimate and soil water retention have created major setbacks. Many have also suffered the collapse and destruction of vital water tanks, loss and damage of shade structures, nurseries, roofs, animal yards and housing, storage facilities, warehouses and fences.

    In many respects the Permaculture projects survived better than other neighbouring systems. This has clearly demonstrated both the resilience and reduced risk vulnerability of Permaculture systems based on diversity of crops, production and cultivation systems.

    Permaculture people had reserves of seed to exchange and give to each other to re-establish annual crops for food production. While all growers lamented loss of soil and organic matter, the Permaculturists were immediately busy salvaging damaged vegetation for composting in the aftermath to remedy these losses. Finding opportunity in adversity they also recognise a unique opportunity to redesign their systems for more resilience in the future, drawing on the lessons learnt from the disaster as well as from previous years of experience and experimentation.

    While the supply and availability of tools and material resources for purchase has improved somewhat, prices have increased considerably and resources are seriously stretched due to the scale of the damage. The national priority is focussed on restoring housing and services, so these small projects are struggling to access the resources required to restore productivity and operations.

    The Foundation has received some assistance from counterparts in some project areas but further support is urgently needed to provide numerous projects with tools and materials for the recovery and restoration of essential infrastructure.

    The support from the CAPE appeal will be of enormous assistance and go a long way in improving the support for these projects, which in turn are supporting their neighbourhoods and local communities.

    As Roberto Sanchez stated in his update “In a situation like this the solidarity actions such as you are undertaking through CAPE are very helpful and deeply appreciated”

    CAPE APPEAL

    On behalf of the Permaculture community in Cuba, CAPE extends thanks to Permaculture Melbourne for their generous donation of $1000 from the Apple festival at Petty’s Orchard, which together with individual donations and the residual funds raised from Roberto’s tour, will provide an initial sum of $1500 in support.

    We hope that this inspires other to raise funds for further support as the full recovery process will take both time and more substantial resource input.

    Upcoming fundraising events:

    Target One Earth – Living within our Footprint – what we can learn from Cuba, Thurs 20th November at Djanbung Gardens, Nimbin starts 6am with dinner and slides followed by presentation 7pm – by donation

    Summer Solstice Celebration, December 20 food, ceremony & live music with Healing Earth, the BrazilNuts, Robyn Francis, Pagan Love Cult.

    From 7pm to late

  2. I wouldn’t say that the DSP’s support for the Cuban revolution is “embarassing”. A letter to Fidel Castro, stepping aside after years of dedication to socialism and justice, is quite appropriate, to my mind.

    As for the DSP and Cuba, well they’re hardly sycophantic adulators. They carry the text of a debate with another socialist group about Cuba on their website:
    http://www.dsp.org.au/site/?q=node/9
    http://www.dsp.org.au/site/?q=node/10
    http://www.dsp.org.au/site/?q=node/8

    More importantly, a few years ago they published an analysis of some of the challenges and problems of Cuba:
    http://www.dsp.org.au/site/?q=node/110

    And they just published a pretty good pamphlet on how the revolution was made that gets away from the myth that it was made by guerrilla forces alone. I just read it about 3 days ago.

    As for Roberto Perez, it total, it looks like over 5000 people saw him all over the country. An excellent effort from all involved! Roberto is off home to Cuba on Sunday, and Robyn Francis is going with him to complete the other half of the exchange.

    Finally, I’m gonna stick a link to this blog from the Wombat Hole. Thanks again for the report from Brissie.

  3. Comment on how Cuba survived Peak Oil says:

    There was a well attended public meeting titled “The Cuban Experience: Survival, Sustainability and Building Community” at the Brisbane City Hall on 16 April 2008.

    This public forum demonstrated yet again that Cuba has made some pretty tough decisions since the fall of the Soviet union in 1991 and since the tougher restrictions applied under the US blockade [See the above post “Cuba after the elections”].

    One person at the meeting actually asked if the Cuban embrace of permaculture as a response to the loss of oil supplies in the 1990s would have been tolerated in a democratic country like Australia.

    The behaviour of the Australian speakers on the panel gave an impression of the way people in Australia think about the Cuban revolution.

    All panelists distanced themselves from the Cuban speaker and his support for Cuban socialism; in particular, the representative from the Environmental Protection agency saw the market as resolving the problems posed by ‘peak oil’.

    The Cuban agricultural scientist, Roberto Peres, took the bulk of the questions and made a principled defence of Cuban resistance to the US government and critics on the panel.

    The other panelists painted rosy pictures of state and local government departments attempts to respond to ‘peak oil’ effectively. The Brisbane City Council rep. seemed to ignore the car culture that our council is promoting with its zeal for building more and more tunnels. The EPA representative said that the market would find a solution to peak oil. The farmer seemed to think the counter culture in northern new south wales had the right approach. However he pointed out that the average age of Australian farmers is 57 years old compared with 25 years old in Cuba.

    Many of the questions and answers at the public meeting implied support for the efforts of the Cuban people to overcome loss of oil supplies in the 1990s but implied criticism of the Cuban government.

    Some socialist groups in Australia are overly critical of the Cuban government [International Socialist Organisation and its derivatives who say that Cuba is an example of ‘bureaucratic state capitalism’] while others are embarrassing in their adulation [See http://www.dsp.org.au/site/?q=node/191]

    Some (many?) people in Australia seem to think that the people of Cuba do not play a democratic role in and support for the decisions taken by their government to survive lack of oil after the collapse of the Soviet Union and lack of important farm machinery under the US blockade.

    There appears to be a general ignorance by Australians of the recent elections in that country.

    Particularly, how strongly the Cuban people support the revolution despite the economic crisis and how determined they are to resist US attempts to bring back ‘plantation’ capitalism to the island nation.

    On a positive note one engineer for sustainable living in the audience said that he was inspired by the efforts made by the cuban people with its ‘permaculture’ solution to ‘peak oil’.

    Congratulations to the many grass roots organisations [Cuba Australia Permaculture Exchange (CAPE), Erda Institute Inc • Permaculture Education, Food Connect, Green Left Weekly and others] for putting together such an interesting public forum.

    Ian Curr
    April 2008

  4. My point is BT is advertising a public meeting held in Brisbane to hear a visiting Cuban speak on the recent elections there and what they mean for that country.

    BT wishes also to highlight that what we read in the mainstream media in Australia about Cuba lacks credibility.

    Our mainstream media, like the Murdoch Press, gets a lot of its information from CIA-funded pro-US government sources.

    Also the internet is also full of such misinformation about Cuba, see http://cubaindependiente.blogspot.com/

    Such sources talk about “freedom” but they have not said a word against the US government when it sponsored military dictatorships in Palestine, Iraq, Indonesia, Burma, and the Latin American countries.

    Today these sources target Cuba, Venezuela, Palestine, and China.

    Viva Cuba!

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