Throughout the month of July members and supporters of Sinn Féin Poblachtach visited Cuba as part of the annual José Martí European Brigade.
Every year anti-imperialists and many others simply wishing to experience the real Cuba partake in this working Brigade. Over the course of the three week program volunteers work with locals on various farm plantations, both contributing to and saving money for the Cuban economy which sadly still battles the ill effects of the ongoing unjustified US Blockade.
Various conferences and ceremonies were conducted over the three weeks.
On July 4 a commemoration was held at the Julio Antonio Mella monument, Julio was a revolutionary student of the Cuban cause, like Che Guevara he had strong Irish connections. His mother an Irish woman by the name of Cecelia McPartland.
On July 5 the Brigade visited the magnificent José Martí monument at Havana’s Revolutionary Square where a ceremony was held in his memory.
On July 6 there were visits to a community project and cooperative followed by a conference entitled, “Process of normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States. Perspectives and Challenges”.
On July 7 following the voluntary work a conference was held entitled, “Cuban economy. Updating of Cuban economic model” where a very comprehensive discussion was had.
On July 8, the conference was entitled, “Democracy and Human Rights in Cuba”.
On July 9 the annual ‘Friendship Race’, took place. Out of almost 80 participants no other than Seamus Mac Dubhghlais of Na Fianna Éireann came in first place, representing Ireland and doing us all proud. Over the next number of days various work projects took place along with visits to various destinations.
On July 11, there was a conference and exchange with Cuban internationalist doctors. Despite the US Blockade it has not stopped Cuba from developing the worlds best and entirely free healthcare system. The ethos of Cuban medical care is not limited to Cuba, they have sent thousands of doctors to various places stricken by natural and humanitarian disasters, most recently to West Africa to help tackle Ebola. In 2005 when the US struggled in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans, Cuba offered 2,000 doctors, an offer refused by the US administration.
On July 13, there were meetings with Trade Union representatives, representatives of FMC (Women) and FEMA (Students).
On July 14, the brigade visited a Psychiatric Hospital, a Community Youth Project and School for Children with mental disabilities.
On July 15, the Brigade had the honor of meeting international combatants who fought in Angola in the 1970s against the incursion of the South African Apartheid regime. A movie about this experience called, “Kangamba” was shown followed by a discussion afterwards.
On July 16 the Brigade attended a ceremony in Santa Clara where the remains of revolutionary leader and international anti-imperialist Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara rest along with other comrades who fought with him in Cuba and Bolivia. Sinn Féin Poblachtach was represented by two members of its Ard Chomhairle/National Executive.
For the remainder of the trip various cultural exchanges took place along with visits to hospitals to gain a better understanding of the healthcare system.
Such European working Brigades take place tree times a year a year, a summer Brigade in July, a May-Day brigade in May and winter Brigade in December. Anyone wishing for more information or partaking in the Brigade which is open to all individuals and groups wishing to express solidarity with Cuba can contact: Irish Solidarity with Cuba.
Republican Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin Poblachtach
Sinn Féin Poblachtach
Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill,
223 Sráid Pharnell, BÁC 1, Éire
For confirmation contact;
Des Dalton, President: 086-3291809
Seán Ó Dubhláin, PRO: +353 89 481 9514 or ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’
Ard-Oifig: 01-872 9747