Friday, July 19, 2013

Ending the Cuban Embargo and Building an Africa Town on 52nd Str from Baltimore to Lancaster Avenues

July 24th, 2013, Wednesday.

An Open Letter to Philadelphia’s City Council. Regarding the lifting of the economic embargo Against Cuba and Expanding Economic Opportunities to African Americans Through the Positive Development of Africa Town on 52nd Str....

From Community Activist Brother Tracy Gibson...

Dear City Council of Philadelphia and Other Friends:

As A Black Philadelphia Progressive Person, an educator, an Editor, a Writer, a Philanthropist, an activist and an advocate, especially for Black People, Black issues, Black children, Black families, and Black concerns and issues, I’m especially and specifically concerned with the rescinding and abolition of the economic embargo against Cuba and relating that issue to our own economic advances here in Philadelphia...  The U.S. led, economic embargo against Cuba—instituted by the U.S. in the early 1960’s [See Information below] has been a thorn in the side of Progress for international commerce and has plagued international understanding, cross-cultural, and positive cross-ideological interplay between the U.S. and Cuba and the U.S. and other Socialist and Communist countries for generations.

According to Wikipedia, and I quote Directly:

``The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, economic, and financial embargo partially imposed on Cuba in October 1960 (almost two years after the Batista regime was deposed by the Cuban Revolution). It was enacted after Cuba nationalized the properties of United States citizens and corporations and it was strengthened to a near-total embargo on February 7, 1962.[1]
Titled the Cuban Democracy Act, the embargo was codified into law in 1993 with the stated purpose of maintaining sanctions on Cuba so long as the Cuban government continues to refuse to move toward "democratization and greater respect for human rights."[2] In 1996, Congress passed the Helms-Burton Act, which further restricted United States citizens from doing business in or with Cuba, and mandated restrictions on giving public or private assistance to any successor government in Havana unless and until certain claims against the Cuban government are met. In 1999, U.S. President Bill Clinton expanded the trade embargo even further by also disallowing foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies to trade with Cuba. In 2000, Clinton authorized the sale of certain "humanitarian" US products to Cuba.''

  It has also confounded and made it more difficult for countries and people with different ideas about how people and countries are to be run politically and economically to sit down and talk reasonably and peacefully without financial and economic coercion. 

At the same time, many inner city governments, community activists and business interests like those in Philadelphia have large Black communities that feel put upon economically as they are NOT allowed, encouraged and supported in their efforts to move forward economically for the BLack community.  These two ideas seem unrelated and disconnected, but give me a chance and I will tell you how they are related, connected and crucial to each other.

Cuba is 50 % of about African decent in population.  They have a Revolutionary government that seems to cater to their basic needs for education, cultural enrichment and medical care, housing and food.  Some of these things are lacking in the inner cities of the U.S.--even though we supposedly have a ``better'' political and economic system.

We as a nation of North Americans, have full and thriving trade with Russia and China and other socialist societies, yet when it comes to helping the Revolutionary Government of Cuba get a better foothold on openness and democratic economic and social principals through a more open trade policy, freer travel and freer cultural exchanges, we balk and refuse to face the music.

This is racist, counter-productive, reactionary, backwards, financially devastating and economically constricting to both governments. The embargo MUST be lifted, and free trade, increased tourism, free travel and the exchange of ideas must ensue even if it takes a Presidential Executive Order to start the ball rolling in a Progressive Way.

I say this NOT as some 1960's radical, but as a man who is deeply concerned about the U.S. and Cuban people first of all and the cultural exchanges and the healthy cultural interactions we have been missing low these past 40 years.

I am requesting a special binding proclamation from the City of Philadelphia requesting a National vote or plebiscite on this issue from Philadelphia’s City Council to our President, Barack Obama..  This proclamation MUST also list reasons why it is a better policy to follow if we dismantle the Cuban economic embargo, and mention that the City of Philadelphia can and Will benefit culturally and economically from the lifting of the embargo as free trade, free travel and other positive economic considerations will benefit our City which is presently so economically strapped that we can’t meet budgets and are involved in draconian cuts in the City’s School Budget.  These budget cuts have stepped up the process of cutting back on important and vital programs for our School Children and the actual closing of Public Schools such as my Ar ma Martyr West Philadelphia University City High School at 36th and Filbert Str..

A current policy of lifting the Cuban Embargo and travel restrictions will have a very positive impact on us getting along better with our Cuban neighbors and dramatically increase both economic and cultural ties and exchanges as well as exchanges along the lines of medical care, health care and create a more meaningful, open, honest and fair policy towards the People of Cuba and the Revolutionary Government of Cuba as well as create a positive flow of trade and information for the People of the U.S..... Don't forget Cuba sits right 70 miles off of the Florida Coast.  

The City of Philadelphia, the State of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Government Will reap obvious benefits by being good friends with the country of Cuba as opposed to being their sworn enemies for no reason.

What is even more important than the ties being rekindled with Cuba is the fact that we also need economic expansion right here in Philadelphia.  That is why I'm proposing that we enlist our financial Fathers and Financial Mothers, City Fathers and City Mothers, Civil Leaders, Political Leaders of all stripe, Elected Officials, and our community advocates and activists to take on the enormous job of designating ALL COMMERCIAL AREAS ALONG 52nd Str. from Baltimore Avenue in the South to Lancaster Avenue in the North  as an official ``Africa Town'' in Philadelphia and designate shopping there and the establishment of many, many established Black and African businesses.  Why is it that in Philadelphia we can accept all sorts of other businesses in our neighborhoods and communities such as--Asian, Jewish, White, Arab, Latin, etc.--but we can't accept and support an organized Way to build a Black economic base right here in our own neighborhoods? I will be establishing a petition to get thousands of signatures to support this idea and I will be advocating the idea among many members of City Council; The Mayor and other elected officials as well as other people with Power and Money in the Philadelphia area.  I don't care what colour the people who want to help are, what I care about is that this get done and offer our Black citizens a fair slice of the economic pie that we have been denied for decades.

Please let me know how I get a formal Proclamation drawn up for City Council and who I should send the Petitions to once they are drawn up and signed.  Please follow up with me to make sure this project gets full consideration and acceptance by our City Council.  You can reach me at: 1.215.471.64.94. or at BLockBoi75@Yahoo.Com..

One thing I want to warn our elected officials about is the idea that when Detroit Michigan's city council voted down a bill to designate a part of the city's business district as ``Africa TOwn'' in a few short years, that city went bankrupt.  You can argue with me, but I think the two events are related and I will work on proving that in a separate document.........

CC: Doctor Keith Hunter and Mrs. Claudia Aziza Gibson Hunter; Senator Vincent Hughes; Senator Shirley Kitchen; Members of the Philadelphia City Council [Including Curtis Jones, Blondell Reynolds Brown, Darrell Clark, Kenney, Jannie Blackwell and Sanchez,]; Congressman Chaka Fattah; Congressman Bob Brady; U.S. Senators Pat Toomey and U.S. Senator Bob Casey; The President of the United States and the First lady; Seeing Black; The Philadelphia Tribune; The Head of the State Department; The Friends Center of Philadelphia; The National Congress of Black Women Inc.; The Black World Project; The Human Rights Campaign; Workers World Party and The International Action Center Chair Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark; The White House; and other significant organizations and People who are concerned.  


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