The brigade will offer solidarity with the Cuban people’s struggle to end the decadeslong U.S. embargo. It is also an opportunity to learn directly about Cuba’s socialist revolution. Similar brigades from the United Kingdom and Canada will travel to Cuba around the same time.
“The highlight will be joining the Cuban people to celebrate May Day in Havana at a march and rally in the Plaza of the Revolution,” Ramírez said. ICAP is hosting the brigade.
This year’s May Day march comes just months after millions of working people across the island came into the streets to salute the life of Fidel Castro, the revolution’s central leader, following his death last November. Millions also signed a pledge to uphold Cuba’s revolutionary course, expressed by Castro in a May Day speech in 2000. “This year’s brigade will honor the legacy of Castro and revolutionary leader Che Guevara,” Ramírez said.
“This is the first time there has been a U.S. contingent on the brigade and 50 have already signed up to go,” she noted. “Following May Day, participants will join others at an International Meeting in Solidarity with Cuba in Havana, to discuss and debate how to deepen solidarity with the Cuban Revolution,” Ramírez said.
After the conference, most of the U.S. contingent will visit health centers, schools and historic sites and meet with members of mass organizations in the provinces of Villa Clara and Cienfuegos.
Some will attend the Fifth Seminar for Peace and for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases, in Guantánamo May 4-6. “They will visit the border and see the affect of the illegal U.S. Navy base on Cuban sovereignty,” said Ramírez.
Occupied against the will of the Cuban people since 1903, the Guantánamo base has been used as a military toehold against the revolution since 1959. Washington continues to use the base to detain prisoners captured during U.S. wars, indefinitely and without charge.
Participants in the U.S. contingent are using fundraising efforts to help cover expenses and increase knowledge of the Cuban Revolution at the same time. “All Guantánamo is Ours,” a film about Cuba’s struggle to end the U.S. Navy’s occupation of Guantánamo Bay, is being screened in Los Angeles April 1.
There are now 34 people registered to go on the Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade organized by the Canadian Network on Cuba. It will visit Holguín, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo April 28–May 12. Brigade member Angela Milivojevic, 18, said she was interested in going to Guantánamo “to see the effects of U.S. imperialism there.”
The Cuba Solidarity Campaign from the U.K. is organizing a Young Trade Unionists May Day Brigade from April 27 to May 9. In addition to participating in the Havana May Day march it will meet Cuban trade unionists, visit hospitals, schools and workplaces.
Osborne Hart, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for New York mayor, is one of those on the U.S. contingent. “The revolution workers and farmers made in Cuba is an example we can emulate. They faced a dictatorship that was backed by the unparalleled might of U.S. imperialism and they fought and won,” he said. “When I return I’ll continue helping to build actions demanding an end to the embargo and the immediate U.S withdrawal from Guantánamo.”
The Chicago Cuba Coalition is organizing arrangements for U.S. brigade participants. For more information, contact the coalition at (312) 952-2618 or email: ICanGoToCuba@gmail.com.
For information about the brigade from Canada contact email@example.com or call (647) 787-5207.
Joe Young in Calgary contributed to this article.
NY meeting: ‘End US embargo of Cuba! Get out of Guantánamo!’
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