Fiaz Rashid, international solidarity officer for the NEU, with the organisation’s president Daniel Kebede

A Yorkshire member of the National Education Union (NEU) has beaten off stiff competition to be selected for the union’s annual delegation to Cuba.

Fiaz Rashid is the international solidarity officer for the Kirklees district branch of the NEU, and has been a long term campaigner for greater understanding, cooperation, and support for workers in education across the globe.

Fiaz was particularly active in the anti apartheid campaign in the 70s and 80s which brought an end to the racist administration in South Africa.

Although he is the first to admit that much work is still needed to bring real equality to those who were structurally and systematically disadvantaged by that particularly pernicious regime, and he acknowledges that the dismantling of the apartheid state was merely the first phase in bringing dignity and equality to the wider population.

In recent years, Fiaz’s attention has turned more towards the situation in the Palestinian territories, where he has sought to raise awareness of the plight of the dispossessed, marginalised and oppressed.

Fiaz spent three months in occupied Palestine in early 2020, acting as an international observer with a respected international multi-faith organisation, where his role was to bear witness to the plight of the people of Palestine.

Building upon this internationalist experience, Fiaz sees his role as a union delegate to Cuba primarily as bearing witness to the impact on ordinary Cubans of the decades-long USA led sanctions regime, which has since 1958 sought to bring down the Castro government by depriving the people of Cuba of medicines, trade, and technology.

Numerous UN resolutions have condemned the trade blockade and have formally opposed its use as a blunt tool of political coercion.

Fiaz aims to take the message to ordinary Cubans that many ordinary citizens across the globe oppose the bullyboy tactics of the trade blockade, and support the right of all Cubans to determine their own future as sovereign people.

On his return, Fiaz will share his observations and findings and will strive to maintain and grow links with peace-loving Cubans he meets on his travels.