Photo: Hackwell, Bill

A standing-room only crowd at Howard University broke into prolonged and enthusiastic applause Wednesday evening when Miguel Fraga, second secretary at the Cuban embassy in Washington, delivered an impassioned defense of Cuba's sovereignty and its right to self-determination.

He was responding to an audience question during a lively two-hour panel discussion and exchange of ideas at the Ralph Bunche Center. It was the latest in a week of actions and events in Washington to mark the third annual Days of Action Against the U.S. Blockade of Cuba.

The Howard University event was moderated by Netfa Freeman, host of Voices With Vision on WPFW 89.3 FM. Panelists included Dr. Jesus Reno, the head of pediatrics at the National Institute of Oncology and Radiology in Havana, Yoandrys Ruiz, First Secretary of the Communist Youth Union from the Cuban province of Camaguey, and two U.S. doctors - Dr. Mercedes Charles and Dr. Abraham Vela - both recent graduates from Cuba's Latin American School of Medicine, the world's largest medical school.

The Days of Action Against the Blockade kicked off Monday night with presentations by Cuban pediatric oncologist Dr. Jesus Reno and two recent U.S. graduates of Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM). Photo: Hackwell, Bill

Earlier in the day, Reps Barbara Lee and Karen Bass co-hosted a health briefing for members of Congress featuring Dr. Renó and five Cuban-trained American doctors. Meanwhile Days of Action activists continued to advocate in Congress for an end to the blockade.

Today Thursday September 14, at 7 pm there will be a special public event featuring José Ramón Cabañas, Cuban Ambassador to the United States, at the Calvary Baptist Church (Woodward Hall, 755 8th St NW, Washington, D.C.

Other speakers include: Cuban doctor Dr. Jesus Renó, recent U.S. graduates of the Latin American School of Medicine, Margaret Flowers, Co-director, Popular Resistance, and candidate for US Senate, and a representative from National Nurses United. Stephen Kimber, author of What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five, will moderate.