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Salud International is a non-charitable Trust that grew out of a campaign launched in 1998 to send a ship full of medical aid to Cuban hospitals called ‘Salud – a trade union ship for Cuba’. It was a trade union campaign whose aim was to raise solidarity aid from British trade unions and to send it on a Cuban ship to Cuba.

For example;

UNISON raised money to buy and donate 17 London Ambulances

The T&GWU donated 16 buses

Print union GPMU donated rolls of paper     

TGWU members prepare to drive buses to Liverpool for shipment to Cuba

Other unions donated items such as fire engines and safety equipment for Cuban organisations, and along with the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, raised money enabling us to buy $100,000 worth of powdered milk, $150,000 worth of food and to send other cargo including clothing, medical equipment, medicines, cars, hospital beds. The International Rescue Corps, better known for their courageous life saving work in earthquakes advised on logistics. In August 1999, the Cuban ship Luric arrived at Liverpool to collect the cargo valued by the Cubans at well over $1,000,000.

The organisers of the project learned valuable lessons about aid working, logistics and organisation, what works and what doesn’t and how to develop an enthusiastic ‘can do’ culture among trade union activists. We also learned what is useful to a country like Cuba and what isn’t without access to spare parts. Our objective had been to involve ordinary people and union members in this work, so they may learn and benefit from what turned out to be a ‘worker to worker’ experience with many making new contacts and friends in Cuba. It was a new form of solidarity.

The Cuban TUC (CTC) suggested that we constitute ourselves as a Non Governmental Organisation and, with legal advice from Thompson’s Solicitor’s the Trust was established in 2001 with the objectives of providing trade union aid in the fields of health, education, culture and sports to organisations in developing countries. The Trustees are mainly the activists from the original project.

We went on to send a second ship in 2001 with a cargo of 51 ambulances and to develop projects in Mozambique. You can read about our subsequent work in the Cuban Doctors Report.

We have attracted the support of a wide range of individuals and trade union organisations, and in 2003 the British TUC adopted Resolution 83 at the TUC Annual Conference.

We are currently developing work with Cuban Medical Brigades in Haiti and Honduras.

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For further information about Salud International or to make a contribution please contact;

Salud International, P.O. Box 673, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 1EN

or Email:  info@salud.org.uk