Cuba and Fiji for West Papua

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Laura Canet Mulén, Raúl Roa García Higher Institute of International Relations

Laura was born in Havana on 6 September 1999, her father is a military retiree and her mother is a doctor. She has represented Cuba twice in international swimming competitions, enjoys good music, dancing, and going to the theatre. She is grateful for the support of Dr. Abel Perdomo and Msc. Juan Miguel González Peña who are supervising her research of Cuba’s relations with South Pacific Islands. “The South Pacific island-states have not been studied as centres of geostrategic importance since World War Two, and deserve special attention in terms of multilateralism and resilience”. She regards her invitation from the Federal Republic of West Papua (Docklands) as “an honour and an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences on the close ties of cooperation and friendship between Cuba and the Pacific islands”.

Laura Canet Mulén’s address (20-min video)

African Caribbean Pacific Group of States motion on West Papua, 7 December 2019 (PDF)

Fiji’s Dr Robert Wolfgramm

Robert was born in Fiji of German, Tongan, Jewish, Australian and Fijian ancestry; after arriving in Sydney in 1963, he moved to Melbourne in 1968. He is the nephew of the iconic Tongan pedal steel guitarist Bill Wolfgramm, and the father of the popular Wolfgramm Sisters. In the 1970s he was a pioneer songwriter and record producer of contemporary Christian music in Melbourne when that genre was still produced in other countries by other people.”Bob brought it home, and gave it depth” claimed a reviewer of his Galilee album.

Robert is a true Renaissance man. Currently he is Editor-in-Chief of a new translation of the Fiji Bible (Nai Vola Tabu). He lectured at Monash University for twenty-four years where he earned the respect and loyalty of sociology and political science students. He and wife Lupe co-founded AFL Fiji with the Australian Football League’s Andrew Cadzow and footy stars David Rodan and Alipate Carlile (Richmond, Port Adelaide), training thousands of kids around the island-nation, and in 2011 bringing the first ever Fijian team to the AFL International Cup. (The young team, which had never played in football boots, dominated France in the Grand Final and took home the 2nd Division prize. In 2014, under Lupe’s inspiration and with training and coaching from sons Max and Dylan, the first Fijian AFL Women’s team participated in the AFL International Cup.

Robert was also Editor-in-Chief of the Fiji Daily Post newspaper during 2006 when after years of threats, Naval Commander Frank Bainimarama ousted the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and led a brutal authoritarian regime for the next sixteen years. Suffering the combined effects of life threats, bullying, falling staff morale, shrinking circulation, censorship demands, and weighty unresolved court cases, the Fiji Daily Post was forced to suspend publication in 2010. Robert and his family returned to Australia in 2014.

Robert’s informed writings and presentations have jolted many Australians into remembering that West Papua is still the western border of Melanesia-Pacific, despite the UN General Assembly vote in 1969 that relegated it a far-flung colony of the Indonesian Republic.

Dr Robert Wolfgramm, Sampari Art Festival (Australian Catholic University, December 2016).

20 Fiji Daily Post articles about West Papua between 2005 and 2006 (PDF)

Fiji Daily Post articles about West Papua, 2005-2006

Interview with Robert Wolfgramm, 3CR, Radical Australia, 6 Sept 2023 (60-min audio)

More about Robert Wolfgramm
(i) 2012, Interview with Robert Wolfgramm,
(ii) 1978 recording of Robert’s ‘Refugee’,

Memorial for Dag Hammarskjöld, Nieuw Guinea RAAD, Helena Grunfeld

The memorial, led by Rev. Dr Robert Stringer, honoured the work of Dag Hammarskjöld (1961), the New Guinea RAAD (1962), and Helena Grunsfeld (2023). Mr Hammarskjöld was the Swedish UN Secretary-General assassinated on 18 September 1961, three days before the UN General Assembly where he planned to introduce the Decolonisation Program he had drafted for West Papua. The memorial also recalled the Nieuw Guinea RAAD, the elected parliament of the West Papuans’ Non-Self-Governing Territory, launched in Hollandia on 5 April 1961 and abolished the following year after the United Nations transferred the administration of the territory to Indonesia. The memorial also illuminated the wonderful activism of holocaust survivor Helena Grunsfeld, the Swedish-Australian academic who worked in the West Papua Womens Office in Docklands. The candle for Helena was lit by Ms Ruth Leonards from the Melbourne City Synagogue, for the UN Secretary-General by Mr Clovis Mwamba from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and for the Nieuw Guinea RAAD by Mrs Nely Baransano from West Papua.

The memorial concluded with a reading of ‘Death of a Herdsman’ by Yvette Ripplinger, a young French bureaucrat who wrote the poem in her office on the 27th floor of the UN Building in New York after the murder of her boss UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld on 18 September 1961. The poem was read by Monique Westmore from Holy Trinity Church in Port Melbourne, and introduced by Muhammad Alsomalia, whose father’s brother was, during his term as Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, President of the UN Security Council in 1972.
Death of a Herdsman, Yvette Ripplinger, 18 Sept 1961

‘West Papua & Dag Hammarskjöld’ (9-min film)

The short film ‘West Papua & Dag Hammarskjöld’, with a gloriously contemplative jazz score by Galliano Sommavilla recorded by Nick Huggins, was produced by the West Papua Womens Office in 2023. The film begins at Dag Hammarskjöld’s tombstone in Sweden and the chapel in Uppsala Cathedral dedicated to him; and ends with the West Papuans Green State mission announced at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. The ‘cast’ includes Napoléon, Jacob Rumbiak, Bishop Huggins, Dag Hammarskjöld, UN Sec-General Guterres, Dr Greg Poulgrain, Sweden’s Princess Victoria, Professor Henning Melber, Ned Byrne, General Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte (Napoléon’s general who became the Swedish King Karl XIV Johan), and the Aramaic-speaking Özel family from the Turi Abdin (Holy Mountain) region of southern Turkey who live in exile in Sweden.

[click to watch film]

Susan Bissett, David McKenzie: artists in Dr Joe’s Auction for West Papua Rent

(i) Visual artist Susan Zela Bissett from Queensland redefines the meaning of botanical art with her unique work composed of plant fibre and fragments and inks brewed from bark, berries and fruit. More about this amazing artist at

(ii) David McKenzie donates yet another one of the glorious works that he sculptures from pieces of timber that he finds in the bush around his home in the hills outside Melbourne.

The Trogan, Cuba’s national bird (;
The Kuli, Fiji’s national bird (;
The Victoria Crowned Pigeon, West Papua’s national bird (

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