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Vol. 81/No. 11      March 20, 2017


Join May Day International Brigade to Cuba

For the first time a delegation of workers and youth from the U.S. will participate in the 12th annual May Day International Brigade to Cuba this year. The brigade, organized by the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), will run from April 24-May 8.

Participants will join the big Havana May Day march and rally in the Plaza of the Revolution, as well as seminars and discussions on continuing solidarity with the revolution, including how to step up efforts to demand an end to Washington’s 56-year economic embargo against Cuba and its occupation of Guantánamo Bay.

This year’s brigade is dedicated to Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, leaders of the revolution.

“Nationally there is solid interest in the brigade,” said Steve Eckardt by phone. Eckardt is a member of the Chicago Cuba Coalition, which is sponsoring the brigade’s U.S. contingent, and national coordinator for the trip. “Right now we have 36 registrants from Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.

“There are 18 people planning to go from Chicago, including four unionists, Puerto Ricans active in defense of Oscar López, and others involved in the anti-police brutality struggle,” said Eckardt.

In Chicago, the coalition held a fundraising party March 11 to help brigade participants cover expenses. It featured the film “Guantánamo is Ours.”

For the week leading into the May Day celebration, brigadistas will do agricultural work each morning. Their afternoons will be full of meetings with Cuban groups and political field trips.

The big May Day march is followed by an international conference in solidarity with Cuba. Brigade members have two choices after that.

One contingent will attend the May 4-6 “Fifth Seminar for Peace and for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases” in Guantánamo. In 1903, in the aftermath of Cuba’s defeat in their war of independence, the U.S. occupied and set up a naval base there. Today the base is the site of the infamous U.S. military prison where so-called enemy combatants captured during U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are held indefinitely. Since the triumph of the 1959 revolution, the Cuban people and their government have demanded the return of Guantánamo along with an end to the economic embargo.

Other brigade members will travel to Cienfuegos and Villa Clara provinces to learn more about the history of the revolution there. They will meet with students from the University of Medicine and participate in discussions with members of area Committees for the Defense of the Revolution.

Madhu Tikkisetty from Baltimore first learned of the May Day Brigade at the Women’s March on Washington Jan. 21, where she met Socialist Workers Party members and signed up for a Militant newspaper subscription. “I’ve been looking for the socialist and union movement in the U.S.,” she told the Militant.

“I heard about the Obama administration establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba from a friend,” Tikkisetty said. The brigade “is the opportunity I was looking for. To educate myself, interact and talk with Cubans. How did they do it? That’s the part about the revolution I want to understand.”

To help prepare for the trip, she got several Pathfinder books, including Cuba and Angola: The War for Freedom and Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible?

A $512 fee covers expenses, including room, board and transportation inside Cuba. The round trip airfare to the island and participation in the Guantánamo seminar are additional.

Applications for the U.S. contingent are due March 30th. For information on how to apply and what you’ll need to participate, contact the Chicago Cuba Coalition at (312) 952-2618 or email: .
Related articles:
Conference on solidarity with Cuba set for NY
Cuba & Angola: the war for freedom in southern Africa
Havana event on book by ‘Pombo’ highlights Cuban Revolution’s proletarian internationalism and moral values
‘Living example of the Cuban Revolution helps explain what socialism really means’
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