45th contingent of the Venceremos Brigade

The 45th contingent of the Venceremos Brigade is getting ready to travel to Cuba from July 20th to August 2nd. The group will visit places of interests and will get a first had look at the current economic transformations underway across the island. The Venceremos Brigade will receive lectures on the Cuban reality and will be able to exchange with the people and also participate in the July 26th commemorations.

In 1969, a coalition of young people formed the Venceremos (We Shall
Overcome) Brigade, as a means of showing solidarity with the Cuban Revolution by working side by side with Cuban workers and challenging U.S. policies towards Cuba, including the economic blockade and our government’s ban on travel to the island. The first Brigades participated in sugar harvests and subsequent Brigades have done agricultural and construction work in many parts of the island. Continue reading

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  Holguin, Cuba, August 2, 2013 — On Sunday, August 4, 32 members of the Venceremos Brigade will fly to Canada from Cuba, having traveled to the sanctioned island in defiance of the U.S. government’s restrictions two weeks prior.  On … Continue reading

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A new friendship bond between Cuba and US, this time made by Diana Nyad.

US endurance athlete Diana Nyad, 61, defies age in attempt to swim across Florida Straits.

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad stroked through the Florida Straits early Monday, trying to accomplish at 61 years old what she failed to do at 28: swim more than 100 miles from Havana to Key West.

If she makes it to the Florida Keys after an estimated 60-hour swim, Nyad would become the first person to traverse the strait without the aid of a shark cage, relying instead on technology and divers to fend off the finned predators.

Tanned and freckled from long hours training in the open seas of the Caribbean, she expressed confidence before starting off just before sunset Sunday. She said the still air and shimmering water flat as a plate were perfect conditions for her attempt to make a 103-mile (166-kilometer) swim.

“The adrenaline’s flowing now,” Nyad said at a jetty in western Havana as she looked at the water. “… This is what I dreamed of: a silver platter.”

She gave a heartfelt cheek-kiss to the commodore of the Hemingway Marina in Havana, who helped arrange logistics of the trip, changed into a black swimsuit and blue swim cap and showed off the goggles she planned to wear: light blue during the night for better dark vision and smoky charcoal tinted to protect her eyes from the blinding daytime sun.

After an assistant greased her shoulders and armpits to prevent chafing in the salty water, Nyad played “Reveille” on a bugle, thanked several dozen well-wishers who came to see her, then jumped feet first into the sea.

Nyad said it has been a lifelong dream and she hopes her feat, if successful, will inspire people to live vigorously during their golden years.

“Thirty-three years ago I stood on a beach close by here and looked out at a giant sea. … Now I’m almost 62 years old and I’m standing here at the prime of my life,” she said.

“I think this is my day.”

Nyad first had a go at this crossing back in 1978, when she swam inside a steel shark cage for about 42 hours before sea currents hammering her off course put an end to that attempt.

The following year she set a world record for open-water swimming without a shark cage, charting 102.5 miles (165 kilometers) from the Bahamas to Florida, then retired from competitive endurance swimming.

Still, she said the aborted Cuba attempt stuck with her all these years, and upon turning 60, she started thinking about a comeback.

“What if I went back and tried to chase that elusive dream of Cuba?” she said. “And I started training and I found it was in my heart and it was in my body. … It seems almost like a dream to me, but now it’s real.”

In preparation she made 8- to 15-hour swims over the last two years off the Caribbean island of St. Martin.

Australian swimmer Susie Maroney successfully swam the shark-filled waters from Cuba through the Straits and to the Keys in 1997, though she used a cage.

Nyad’s team is deploying an electronic boom to surround her with a current that is imperceptible to humans but is strong enough to keep most sharks at bay. Whitetip sharks are not deterred by the field, so divers will be standing by to gently discourage any of those who get curious — without harming them.

For the record to be considered valid, Nyad will have to make the swim without a wetsuit. Her crew will navigate, monitor her health and provide nourishment. But she is not allowed to touch the boat, nor can her helpers hold her, until she emerges fully onto dry land.

Five support vessels carried 45 navigators, nutritionists, doctors, shark wranglers and a film crew that has been documenting her story.

She plans to stop every 45 minutes for 20-second hydration breaks — water, juice, sports drinks. Every 90 minutes she’ll rest for 2 minutes and nibble on bread or a spoonful of peanut butter.

By day two she’ll begin drinking heated water and hot chocolate to ward off hypothermia, a threat after so many hours at sea even with water temperatures expected to be 86 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit (30 to 31 degrees Celsius).

Nyad embarked on a northwest course aiming to arrive at a point in the Keys a little east of due north, compensating for sea currents.

She called the attempt a “symbolic moment” for increasing understanding between the United States and Cuba, two nations torn by five decades of animosity and mistrust.

“I’m under no delusion that my swim is going to make any new political ramifications,” Nyad added. “But it is a human moment between the two countries.”

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Desde EE.UU. llegó a Cuba brigada solidaria Venceremos

El 42 contingente de la brigada de solidaridad Venceremos ya está en Cuba para brindar su apoyo y desafiar al bloqueo que EE.UU. ejerce contra la Isla desde hace más de cinco décadas.

En el Campamento Internacional Julio Antonio Mella, en la provincia de Artemisa, fueron recibidos sus 37 integrantes, jóvenes en su mayoría que viven por vez primera esta experiencia y la comparten con quienes llevan años de constante respaldo al proyecto socialista cubano.

En declaraciones a la AIN, Cathy Carlson, líder del contingente, dijo que sus compatriotas vienen a conocer la realidad de Cuba, la cual infelizmente no se refleja en los medios de comunicación de su país, y que al regresar piensan sumar a más personas a las labores de solidaridad con la mayor de las Antillas.

Personalmente, -subrayó-, pienso que la Isla ha sido siempre un faro de libertad y ejemplo de que se puede construir un mundo mejor.

La líder solidaria significó que este contingente expresará su apoyo a la liberación de René González, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero y Gerardo Hernández, cubanos que permanecen injustamente prisioneros en Estados Unidos por luchar contra el terrorismo.

Agregó que durante esta visita rendirán homenaje al reverendo Lucius Walker, cuyos restos descansan por voluntad propia en suelo cubano.

Lucius es un amigo entrañable que vivirá en nuestros corazones, con una vida entregada a la justicia, la amistad y la paz que no puedo describir con palabras, concluyó Carlson.

Xen Medina, joven brigadista residente en Nueva York, comentó que de sus padres aprendió a admirar a Cuba por su independencia, y agregó que estar hoy en esta tierra es la materialización de un sueño.

Igualmente su compañera Angélica Otero, destacó su deseo de saber cómo viven las personas en la ínsula, cuál es su situación social y económica, y de esta manera conocer la realidad y ver la mejor manera de contribuir a fortalecer la cooperación entre cubanos y estadounidenses.

En el acto de bienvenida, Enrique Román, vicepresidente primero del Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos (ICAP), agradeció la presencia en el país de la Venceremos, a la cual calificó como una de las brigadas más importantes y apreciadas por el pueblo cubano.

La labor que desempeñan es extraordinaria, destacó Román, ya que también en el propio territorio norteamericano desafían los obstáculos y manifiestan su amistad con Cuba.

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Program for the VB 42 Contingent

July 18-31, 2011

Brigade Director:  Andrés Morejón Ballarte
Lodging places  : “Julio Antonio Mella” International Camp (CIJAM)
Pinar del Río Hotel
Playa Girón Hotel, Matanzas
Quantity of members:  39 caravanistas

July 18, Monday:
01:30 am    Arrival at José Martí International Airport.  Welcome by ICAP.
Transfer to the Camp. Accommodation and rest.

08:30 am     Breakfast
10:00 am     Floral wreath dedicated to Julio Antonio Mella at CIJAM.
–    Welcoming activity
–    Planting of a tree
11:00 am    Exchange with the Cuban delegation and analysis of the program.
12:30 pm    Lunch at CIJAM
02:30 pm   Conference about José Martí, Cuban national heroe by a specialist from the Office of the Promotional Program of José Martí´s Work and Legacy
Place: CIJAM
05:00 pm    US/Cuba friendly volleyball game.
07:00 pm    Dinner at CIJAM
08:30 pm   Screening of the Cuban film ”José Martí, el ojo del canario”
(José Martí, the canary’s eye)

July 19, Tuesday:
05:45 am   Wake up call
06:30 am   Breakfast
06:45 hrs   Morning informative activity
07:00 hrs   Departure for agricultural labor together with Cuban young people.
11:30 am   Return to CIJAM
12:00  m    Lunch at CIJAM
02:30 pm   Conference: “Current Situation of the Cuban Economy”
Place: Camp Theater
04:00 pm   Meeting of brigadistas
07:00 pm   Dinner at CIJAM
08:30 pm   Screening of a documentary film:
–    “Will the real terrorist, please, stand up?”

July 20, Wednesday:
07:00 am   Breakfast
08:15 am   Departure to Havana City
09:30 am   Meeting with relatives of the Cuban Five.
– Place: Friendship House
12:00 m     Lunch at Friendship House
2:30 am     Meeting with the National Assembly of the People’s Power
–    Conference “The Electoral System in Cuba”
–    Place : Friendship House
04:00 pm   Visit to the Revolution Museum
05:30 pm   Return to the Camp
07:00 pm   Dinner at CIJAM
08:30 pm   Screening of the Cuban documentary: “Las razones de Cuba” (Cuba´s Reasons).

July 21, Thursday:
07:00 am    Breakfast
08:30 am    Departure to Pinar del Río province.
11:00am     Official welcome by provincial authorities.
Brief information about the main features of Pinar del Río.
01:00 pm    Lunch at hotel
02:00pm     Visit to the Ophthalmologic  Center of  “Abel Santamaría Cuadrado” Hospital
04:30pm     Visit to la Casa de Orientación a la Mujer y la Familia (House of Counseling for Women and Families). Exchange with the Cuban Women Federation (FMC)
–    Place : FMC Headquaters
06:00 pm    Accommodation in the hotel.
07:30 pm    Dinner at hotel.
09:00 pm    Recreational activities in the hotel. Welcome Cocktail.

July 22, Friday:
07:00 am   Breakfast
09:00 am   Voluntary Work at the Marti´s Forest of the Botanic Garden
12:00 pm   Lunch at hotel.
03:00 pm   Visit to a day-care center
04:30 pm   Meeting with the Veterans of the Cuban Revolution Association.
07:00 pm   Dinner at hotel.
08:30 pm  Meeting with artist-creators, organized by Hermanos Saíz Association.

July 23, Saturday:
07:00 am   Breakfast
08:00 am  Participation in the Provincial Ceremony for the 58 Anniversary of the 26 of July Actions.
12:00 p.m   Lunch in the hotel.
02:00 p.m  Tour in the city, visit to a cigar factory, House of the Habano and House of Rum
07:00 p.m  Dinner at hotel.
Evening: Free time

July 24, Sunday:
07:30 am   Breakfast
08:30 am   Departure to Viñales. Visit  to the Monument: “Malagones Memorial”,
The Indian’s Cave and the Mural of Prehistory.
01:00 pm   Lunch at the Mural of the Prehistory complex.
02:30 pm   Free time in town
05:00 pm   Return to Pinar del Río.
07:30 pm   Dinner in the hotel.
Evening: free time

July 25, Monday:
07:00 am   Breakfast
08:00 am   Departure to Matanzas province
01:30 pm   Arrival to Playa Girón
–  Welcome by the provincial authorities
–  Accommodation in the hotel and presentation of the program.
–  Lunch at hotel
–  Visit to Playa Girón Museum
07:00 pm    Dinner at hotel
08:30 pm   Visit to a Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR)
– Celebration of the anniversary of July 26th.

July 26, Tuesday:
07:30 am    Breakfast
08:00 am    National Political Activity on the anniversary of July 26. (On television)
Free time/ Time at the beach
the occasion of its 20 Anniversary.
01:00 pm    Lunch at hotel
–    Free time / beach
07:00 am    Greeting from the Venceremos Brigade to “Juan Rius Rivera” Brigade
08:00 pm    Dinner at hotel

July 27, Wednesday:
07:30 am   Breakfast
09:30 am   Meeting with the Cultural Project  “Korimacao”
11:30 am   Return to the Camp
–    Lunch at restaurant on route to the Camp
05:00 pm   Arrival at CIJAM
–    Accommodation
07:30 pm   Dinner at CIJAM
08:30 pm   Meeting with young people from the Hip Hop movement.

July 28, Thursday:
05:45 am   Wake up call
–   Breakfast
06:45 am   Morning informative activity
07:00 am   Departure for agricultural labor
– Work together with young Cuban people
11:30 am   Return to the Camp
12:00 pm   Lunch at CIJAM
02:30 pm   Conference: “Cuban Judicial System. Fight against  corruption”
Place : Camp
04:00 pm   Meeting for the preparation of the brigade´s  return.
07:00 pm   Dinner at CIJAM
08:30 pm   Collective birthday

July 29, Friday:
05:45 am   Wake up call
–   Breakfast
06:45 am    Morning informative activity
07:00 am    Departure for agricultural labor together with FMC (Federation of Cuban Women)
11:00 am    Return to the Camp
11:30 pm    Lunch at CIJAM
01:00 pm    Departure to ICAP
03:00 pm    Meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
–    Presentation “Cuba-US current relations”
04:30 pm   Conference by CENESEX (National Sexual Education Center)
06:00 pm   Return to the Camp
08:00 pm   Cuban night and farewell activity

July 30, Saturday:
05:30 am   Wake up call
06:30 am   Breakfast
07:30 am   Departure for Havana City
08:30 am   Homage to Rev. Lucius Walker
10:00 am   Transfer to ICAP. Free time in the city.
06:00 am    Return to the Camp from ICAP
01:00 pm   Lunch at CIJAM
08:30 pm   Dinner at CIJAM
09:30 pm   Brigade evaluation meeting and meeting with ICAP
–    Information about the productive results of the voluntary work
10:30 pm   Meeting of the Brigade board with ICAP for the projection of future work

Domingo, 31 de julio:
06:30 am    Wake up call
07:30 am    Breakfast
09:00 am    Departure to the “José Martí” International Airport to take the flight back to the US.


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Fidel and Raul: Delegates of Honor to the 5th School Children’s Congress of Cuba

With this decision, the Jose Marti School Children’s Association, which brings together and represents over one million 200,000 Cuban children and teenagers, honors Fidel’s tenderness, efforts, eternal youth, exemplary life and tireless struggle for the future.
The 5th School Children’s Congress, which will bring together 300 delegates and will have the Ernesto Guevara School Children’s Central Palace as its venue on April 3 and 4, will be dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution and to the Bay of Pigs victory.
A week ago, at Havana’s Martires de Regla High School, Gerardo Hernandez, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino and Rene Gonzalez –the five Cuban heroes incarcerated in the United States for fighting terrorism- were appointed Delegates of Honor to the Congress.

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