46th Venceremos Brigade

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46th Venceremos Brigade

Cuba greetings

Cuba, Jul 20 (acn) The 29 members of the 46th contingent of the Venceremos Brigade arrived in Cuba over the last few hours, and were officially welcomed at the Julio Antonio Mella International Camp in the province of Artemisa.

The group consists of young U.S. citizens or Latinos living in the United States and will work for 15 days in agriculture.

During the reception, Osmany Peña, member of the Municipal Bureau of the Cuban Communist Party in Caimito, explained the achievements of the territory in health, education, and social assistance, among other aspects, and invited them to the cultural evening to be held for the 62nd anniversary of the attack on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes garrisons.

Sandra Ramirez, an official of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), thankedd the solidarity of the brigade and called to continue the struggle for the lifting of the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.

Ramirez added that although today the two countries re-established diplomatic relations the policy of supporting internal subversion remains intact, the radio and television war, the illegal occupation of Guantanamo and the economic war.

Cuba managed to re-establish these diplomatic bonds thanks to the strength and tenacity of its people and to the solidarity and support of forces such as the Venceremos Brigade, among many others, she concluded.

Chris Canik, one of the brigade members, said he joined the contingent because he wanted to challenge the blockade and exercise his constitutional right of traveling to the island, while Jonathan Montero, another member of the group, said he was admired by the spirit of resistance of the Cuban people.

The Venceremos Brigade came to Cuba for the first time in 1969 to participate in the sugar harvest, and following the express wish of U.S. groups to promote solidarity through physical work.

Since then, every year, on this date, a group of U.S. citizens maintains alive a tradition that has enabled more than 10,000 of them travel to Cuba without requesting permission, defying the blockade imposed by the United States.[1]

Participants

Chanting this year’s central demand, “Black Lives Matter!” the 46th Venceremos Brigade marched across the Peace Bridge from Canada into the United States on August 2, 2015, and proudly declared that they had been to Cuba in defiance of the still-continuing U.S. blockade and travel restrictions.

In their press release, the Venceremos Brigade explained:

“Although the recent negotiations towards normalizing relations between the two countries were announced by both President Raul Castro and President Barack Obama on December 17, 2014, the travel ban and U.S. blockade against Cuba are still in place. The Venceremos Brigade, along with its sister organization IFCO/Pastors for Peace, continues to claim the importance of engaging in civil disobedience through public Travel Challenges as one of the most effective means of mounting pressure on the U.S. government to change these policies. The Brigade will continue to do so until both the travel ban and blockade have been eradicated, Guantánamo military base is returned to Cuba, U.S. government funding ceases to programs of USAID and other organizations attempting to create political unrest in the country, and the U.S. respects Cuba’s right to national sovereignty and self-determination.”

When asked by Time Warner Cable News what she had learned from her trip to Cuba, Brigadista Latoya Strong responded, “When you put people over profits … you get a better quality of life than we have in the U.S. … where it’s based on your skin color, based on how much money you have”.[2]

Jonathan Montana from the Bronx, New York said that they are in Cuba to learn about the people and social achievements and take back those examplesto the US in order to educate the American people about the realities of the Revolution. He pointed out that people in the US are at their “peak of frustration of how things are done in the states”.

Stephanie Nunez from Washington Heights in New York said that she came to Cuba to learn for herself about the realities on the island since all news in the US about the Caribbean island are distorted. The brigadista of Dominican origin said that she chose the Venceremos Brigade because it was a way of challenging the travel ban imposed by the US government against its own citizens and because it’s a way of representing all the oppressed in the US. [3]

It is time to put an end to the blockade; we need to end that policy which does not favor the Cuban people, Ana Miledys Rosales told Prensa Latina at the end of the official welcoming ceremony of the contingent at the Julio ntonio Mella international camp, in Caimito, in Artemisa province, west of Havana.

Other members of the brigade, like Malcolm Sack, agreed with Rosales that this rapprochement between Havana and Washington will have more sense when this White House' stand is removed.[4]

Josmar Rojas told ACN that he was really looking forward to come to Cuba to see how its people and work are, because in the United States lies are told in some media outlets as well as by circles of persons who have a real aversion to the island.

My mother always tells me that what some people comment about the extreme poverty and anguish experienced in Cuba is not true, and she's right, because these days I have corroborated it is a lie, asserted Rojas.[5]

References