The National Network on Cuba, a coalition of organizations that oppose the U.S. rulers’ economic war on Cuba, is inviting those who want to learn firsthand about the Cuban Revolution to join the U.S. delegation to the upcoming 15th International May Day Brigade of Voluntary Work and Solidarity With Cuba.
Last year 320 people from 21 countries, including 65 from the U.S., participated in the brigade, which is hosted by the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples. They worked side by side with Cuban farmers to prepare fields for planting, met leaders of mass people’s organizations, visited hospitals and schools, and met working people in their communities. A highlight of the brigade every year is participation in the million-strong international workers day march in Havana May 1.
Along with learning about the revolution, members of the U.S. delegation will have an important contribution to make by helping Cubans and brigadistas from other countries they meet learn more about the class struggle and activities of supporters of the Cuban Revolution in the U.S. This year’s brigade will take place April 26 to May 10.
Kaitlin Estill, who participated in last year’s brigade, told the Militant that going “had a really big impact on me. Before the trip, I looked to the idea of socialism as a way of organizing society and knew something about Cuba and the advances there, but I didn’t know how the revolution happened.
“There is so much anti-Cuba propaganda from the U.S. government,” said Estill, a worker at Walmart in Louisville, Kentucky. “It’s one thing to read books and talk to people here. It’s different to be in Cuba and talk to Cubans and hear about why they defend their revolution.”
Going to Cuba helped Estill decide to join the Socialist Workers Party.
“A lot of people in the U.S. don’t think life under capitalism is working,” Estill said. “I think a lot of my co-workers at Walmart would be excited to go to Cuba and get a lot out of the experience.”
This year the brigade will spend several days in Pinar del Rio province in western Cuba, where they will visit factories, farm cooperatives, universities, a day care center and health care centers. They will also visit working-class neighborhoods, meeting people where they live, along with leaders of unions and other mass organizations.
Brigade members will take part in panels on the Cuban economy, the legacy of Che Guevara and the truth about human rights in Cuba, as well as participate in an international solidarity conference, visits to museums and a dance class.
The upcoming brigade takes place in the midst of a stepped-up campaign by the U.S. rulers to use ever harsher economic sanctions to punish the Cuban people, seeking to undermine their revolution.
Washington has also unleashed a propaganda campaign slandering Cuba’s internationalist medical missions, which provide health care for hundreds of thousands of people around the world. U.S. officials and allied capitalist governments like that of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, are peddling fantastic and utterly false claims that volunteer Cuban doctors were forced into “slave labor.” Washington-backed rightists who have seized power in Bolivia have charged that Cuban medical volunteers there fomented demonstrations against them.
Answer Washington’s slanders
Meeting Cubans who have been part of these internationalist missions, seeing firsthand the gains of the revolution and understanding the challenges the Cuban people face, will put participants in a better position to answer the slanders and lies of Washington and other opponents of the revolution when they return home.
Those going on the brigade can “use it as an opportunity to go to campuses and speak about the trip and to talk to local newspapers and ask if they can write an article about why they are going to Cuba,” Cheryl LaBash, a co-chair of the National Network on Cuba, told the Militant Dec. 9.
Despite new U.S. government restrictions, many types of travel to Cuba are still legal and this trip is taking place in accordance with U.S. guidelines. Travel arrangements from the U.S. are being handled by Marazul Tours travel agency.
Total cost, not including airfare to Cuba, is $725. Applications are due by March 27. Take advantage of this unique opportunity! For more information visit: www.nnoc.info or email ICanGoToCuba@nnoc.info.