Wisconsin Peace and Justice Committee Chairman John Gilman was decorated with the Cuban Medal of Friendship, Nov. 12, in Havana. Sergio Corrieri, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and member of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee, presented the prestigious award to Gilman.

ICAP’s First Vice President Enrique Román told the audience Gilman deserves not only the medal, but “all the affection and recognition of the Cuban people” for his extensive work for peace, friendship and solidarity.

Gilman, a steadfast supporter of the Cuban Revolution since 1959, has worked to end the criminal U.S. blockade against Cuba. He has organized support for numerous Cuba solidarity struggles, including the current campaign to free the five Cuban political prisoners now in U.S. jails.

A decorated World War II veteran, Gilman told the Havana audience, “I’m a Cuban.”

Later he told the World, “When [President] John Kennedy flew to West Berlin in 1960, he proudly acclaimed, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ (I am a Berliner). If Kennedy can claim to be a German in support of capitalism, exploitation and super-profits for the imperialists, I can claim to be Cuban in support of free health care, free higher education and a socialist society. For that reason, I now proclaim, ‘Soy Cubano.’”

Gilman is a supporter of the People’s Weekly World newspaper and writes regular opinion pieces. In 2001, the PWW honored Gilman with its “Courage Award” for his lifelong commitment to working-class struggles.