The VB Has Arrived to Caimito

The Venceremos Brigade, after visiting the Pearl of the south and the city of Che Guevara, has arrived to its home in Cuba, The Julio Antonio Mella International Camp. This camp, located in Caimito, is special to the Brigade because it was built by the hands of previous brigadistas. Two days ago we were welcomed to the camp with a celebration in honor of Nelson Mandela on his 92nd birthday. We also celebrated the National Children´s Day with a special performance by many youth and teens of the Alma Danza group, ¨they were awesome,¨ says Shoshana Brown, a member of the brigade. Like Shoshana, many brigadistas are happy to have arrived to this special place and would like to share some thoughts with you:

¨In a conversation with Iris Maura Menéndez Pérez it became clearer to me that Cubans are incredibly hurt by the broad scale media campaign and it is their desire that real information reaches the United States through other Americans. Therefore I’m excited to contribute to this blog to say that the social project in Cuba is one that must be seen by all those who are interested in living in a just and peaceful world. Although this trip is one in which cultural exchange is a large part, I realize even more now how important the Venceremos Brigade´s struggle is in breaking the blockade and ending the travel ban. Cuba is indeed a country that should be a model to emulate.¨

Carlos Antonio Quintana

Member of the 31st, 38th, 40th, and 41st Contingents

¨As a teacher of United States history, I feel that it is my responsibility to bring back accurate history to my students in Brooklyn, New York. History is often told through one lens, and I am committed to making sure that the perspective of the Cuban people has a place in our students´ curriculum. One of the main issues that I will bring home with me is how the Cuban embargo has hindered the daily life of el pueblo Cubano, as well as the Cuban perspective of US involvement in the so called ¨Spanish American War¨ (The War for Cuban Independence).¨

Natalia Ortiz

Member of the 39th, 40th, and 41st Contingents

¨After spending one week in Cuba, one particular thing that occurred to me after meeting with several grassroots organizations such as the CTC (Central de Trabajadores de Cuba), the FMC (Federacion de las mujeres Cubanos), and the CDR (Comite en Defens de la Revolucion) was how Cuba promotes and encourages participation in self-government. This is because members of one organization are also members of at least on more, or in the case of wombyn members of all three. These non-governmental organizations in which membership is completely voluntary creates an interconnected web of support for workers rights from the grassroots up to the higher levels of government. By organizing society in this manner Cuba serves as a model for a participatory democracy.¨

Matthew Karlson

Member of the 41st Contingent

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