38th Venceremos Brigade

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38th Venceremos Brigade


On July 2007, members of the Young Communist League USA joined 58 other Americans on the 38th Venceremos Brigade to Cuba.

Carlo Gentile of the DC Club of the YCL[1]told Dynamic. “There is a huge emphasis on education, health, culture, and caring for others. It proves that socialism can really advance humanity’s perspective on developing the human race for a better world.”

On July 2007, members of the Young Communist League USA, including Konrad Cukla[2]joined 58 other Americans on the 38th Venceremos Brigade to Cuba.

In 2007, Sixty Americans have just returned from a Venceremos Brigade trip to Cuba, challenging the U.S. ban on travel to the socialist nation. No such ban exists for travel to any other country.

On July 2007, members of the Young Communist League USA, including Katie Castellano. of the Harlem Club, joined 58 other Americans on the 38th Venceremos Brigade to Cuba. [3]

The delegation of 60 included 10 members of the Young Communist League USA. Before leaving, YCL members expressed great enthusiasm about their two-week trip. Adam Tenney, YCL educational coordinator, looked forward to “a good mixture of hard work and sightseeing.”

The brigade met not only with teachers but also trade unionists, Che Guevara’s daughter and leaders of the National Center for Sex Education, fighting homophobia. They worked on painting a school and visited local cultural institutions.

In a press release, Ann Sparanese, a brigade member from Englewood, N.J., commented, “The U.S. is investigating Michael Moore for his travel to Cuba when he was making ‘Sicko,’ but, in addition to our work, we’re investigating how Cuba, a developing country with few natural resources, can provide free universal health care to all its citizens.” She added, “They’ve got it, and we need it.”

On their return home July 28, the “Travel Challengers” planned to make their way on foot, with baggage and backpacks, over the one-mile-long International Peace Bridge from Fort Erie, Canada, into Buffalo, N.Y., declaring to U.S. Customs and Immigrations that they had visited Cuba.

After an early morning send-off by supporters on the Canadian side, U.S. supporters planned to welcome the brigade home in Buffalo. “We’re going to be there with other like-minded folks to show our support for the travel challengers against this unconstitutional ban,” Libero Della Piana, New York State Communist Party chair, told the World. [4]

Fifty eight members of the 38th Venceremos ("We Shall Overcome") Brigade to Cuba defiantly returned to the United States Saturday, July 28. They marched across the “Peace Bridge” that links Fort Erie in Canada and Buffalo New York. On the US side they were greeted by supporters and welcomed with a picnic. Three of the members of this year’s brigade are from Fresno (see the photo below).

Vanessa Rhodes, from Oakland, one of this year’s brigade participants, said “the Venceremos Brigade wants an end to the travel ban to Cuba, we want an end to the embargo, to stop Bush’s plan to further undermine Cuba, we demand freedom for the Cuban Five, and we want to encourage more people to people exchanges.”

Cody Iyall, one of the brigadistas from Fresno, said he enjoyed his free time in Havana and was particularly excited to run into a group of Hip Hop musicians. There is an active Hip Hop music scene in Cuba which seems to create the same generational gap as we have in the US. Older Cubans prefer more traditional music and many of the youth enjoy Hip Hop, which they say can be just as revolutionary as folk or salsa music. Cody is a musician and this was his second trip to Cuba.

Several Brigadistas mentioned a children’s play as the highlight of their trip. Cinderella, which was performed to the background of Beatles music, was an opportunity for brigadistas to learn about theater and culture in Cuba. [5]