Above Photo: Members of the NNOC May Day Brigade. NNOC.
Days after members of a youth delegation were detained when returning to the US from Cuba, another batch of activists who were also part of the May Day Brigade, faced similar harassment.
On May 7, several members of the US-based National Network on Cuba (NNOC) who had participated in the May Day Brigade, were detained and harassed by US Customs and Border Patrol upon arrival to the United States from Cuba.
The NNOC released a public statement on the evening of May 7, emphasizing that “In face of persecution, we reaffirm our right to travel to Cuba. Solidarity is not a crime – the US blockade is!” They added that several of the people who were detained by CBP also had their electronics seized and some were even threatened with jail time.
The harassment of their brigade members comes just days after over a dozen members of the International Peoples’ Assembly delegation to Cuba were similarly detained and questioned at the Miami International Airport and the Newark Liberty International Airport. Other organizations that traveled to Cuba for the May Day activities such as LA US Hands Off Cuba, faced similar treatment by border officials.
NNOC in its statement called this “an onslaught against Cuba solidarity activism.”
Shaquille Fontenot, NNOC Co-Chair, told Peoples Dispatch, “It’s jarring to be immediately subjected to violence as soon as you step foot in a country that claims to support personal freedoms. Despite being subjected to increased state violence and repression, we continue to stand unwaveringly in support of the Cuban people, and we stand in everlasting solidarity with those who are fighting against the criminal US economic blockade.”
The solidarity group highlighted that despite harassment from authorities and threat of jail time, their trip was “completely licensed and legal.”
They affirmed that the attitude of US government officials “is a reminder of why our work is so important. United together, we’ll never back down! Join us in calling on Biden to LIFT the Blockade, take Cuba OFF the list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism,” and give Guantánamo BACK to Cuba.”