A presentation given by Mary-Alice Waters, president of Pathfinder Press, on the Spanish-language edition of Lenins Final Fight: Speeches and Writings, 1922-23 was followed by a lively peñaa social and cultural eventorganized by the universitys committee to defend the five Cuban revolutionaries held in U.S. prisons.
The peña, an event that is held at this university on the third Thursday of every month, took place on the shaded outdoor patio next to the university student center. The student center was once the mansion of the owner of a nearby sugar mill who fled the country with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. The event, which drew 100 people, featured poetry readings, music and video presentations, and other performances by students and faculty.
Andrei Dibauko, a civil engineering student from the central African country of Gabon, was one of a dozen students speaking or performing as part of the program. He read a short composition he had written titled Humanism in the Engineering Profession. Dibauko compared the writings of José Martí, the central leader of Cubas struggle for independence against Spain in the final years of the 19th century, with the life and writings of Antonio Guerrero, one of five Cuban political prisoners held in U.S. jails, who is himself a civil engineer.
There cant be solidarity with greed, said Dibauko. You cant be an engineer and build shoddy works. You cant be a son of the revolution and not defend it. And these are the qualities Guerrero shows us.
Guerrero, along with René González, Fernando González, Gerardo Hernández, and Ramón Labañino are known as the Cuban Five. They have now served more than 11 years of draconian sentences in U.S. prisons on frame-up charges, including conspiracy to commit espionage and conspiracy to commit murder. When the five were arrested in 1998, they were living and working in the United States to monitor the activities of right-wing Cuban American groups, operating with impunity on U.S. soil, that for years have carried out murderous attacks inside Cuba.
Musical performances at the peña included a song featuring a poem by Antonio Guerrero titled Regresaré (I Will Return) and a student performing Son Los Sueños Todavía (These Are Still the Dreams), written by Gerardo Alfonso.
Born with 1917 Revolution
Julián Gutiérrez, the director of international relations at CUJAE, chaired the presentation on the new 2010 edition of Lenins Final Fight.
We often say that Pathfinder was born with the October Revolution, Waters told the 40 students and faculty members in attendance.
From 1917 to today, Pathfinder and its predecessors have sought to defend a course that is true to Lenins leadership of the Russian Revolution and the Communist International in its early years, said Waters. Lenins political trajectory was the opposite of the course followed by the bureaucratic caste that dominated the Soviet Union under Stalin, she explained.
Pointing to the importance of the new edition of Lenins Final Fight in Spanish and English, as well as other Pathfinder books available at the meeting, Waters said the production, use, and distribution of such books, pamphlets, and magazines was necessary to build communist parties in the United States and elsewhere. Those of us who work with Pathfindermostly volunteersare not primarily writers or editors but young communists and workers. We produce and use these books because they are needed as weapons in the class struggle.
Citing the special responsibility of those living in the United States to fight for the freedom of the Cuban Five, Waters read from the dedication of the book Cuba and the Coming American Revolution by Jack Barnes. For Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando, and RenéFive exemplary products of the Cuban Revolution who today, even if against their will, serve with honor in the front lines of the class struggle in the United States.
The five Cubans, Waters said, are being held hostage in U.S. prisons as part of the five-decade-long effort by the U.S. ruling class to punish the Cuban people for making a socialist revolution.
Patricia García Placeres, international relations secretary of the Federation of University Students (FEU) and a member of its national secretariat, helped organize the presentation by Pathfinder at the university. We arrange events like this one, she said, so that students can get to know Pathfinder Press, a defender of the Cuban Revolution that publishes books of interest to students herebooks on capitalisms crisis and the works of leaders such as Lenin.
At the University of Havana the Department of Philosophy and History and FEU have invited Waters to make a similar presentation there on February 22.
Through this book we can understand what Lenin fought for on the national question, on increasing the proletarian composition of the leadership of the Russian Communist Party, and other questions, said Orlando Carraz, a professor of civil engineering, during the discussion.
Following the program, Carraz and mathematics professor Carlos Cepero made a point of thanking Pathfinder for coming to the university and making Lenins Final Fight and other books available to students there.
Often the technical university gets overlooked when political events of such interest are arranged, they said. There is a tendency, they pointed out, to think that students of basic sciences and engineering are less interested in these questions than students of history, philosophy, and the humanities. But that is not true.
Books bought by students and faculty included nine copies of Lenins Final Fight; Is Socialist Revolution in the U.S. Possible? by Waters; issues of Nueva Internacional, the Spanish-language magazine of Marxist politics and theory; Pathfinders newly published Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power by Jack Barnes; and Cuba and the Coming American Revolution.
Faculty and students from around the world studying at CUJAE showed the visitors the reading room they had established on campus with a library of materials on the Cuban Five as well as the international campaign on their behalf.
Gutiérrez described the efforts to develop similar centers in universities across Cuba and link up with schools in other countries to win support for the Cuban Five. Groups and individuals from universities in more than 50 countries have joined this network, he said.
Reaching out to schools and students in the United States to involve them in the program is one of our top priorities, said Gutiérrez. He explained there are 40,000 international students studying in Cuba today. They are learning about the case of the five and will bring the truth about the case back to their countries.
Students and faculty are encouraged to visit the Web site, 5heroes.cujae.edu.cu and to contact the program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artwork by Cuban Five prisoner on tour in U.S.
A joining of class politics and scientific training
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