Experiences of a marvelous trip to Cuba
Brigadistas express their experiences and feelings during the brigad days:
Although this is my first time in Cuba, I´m very positive it will not be my last. Cuba is a wonderful “bonito” country filled with life. The people are amazing and so friendly. I have to admit, I was very shy in the beginning of the brigade…
I really enjoyed my stay at camp “Julio Antoino Mella” and I look forward to coming back again next year and the year after, if they are not sick of me by then.
During my visit to Cuba two very important things stood out for me. One, the idea of community was a recurrin theme throughout the trip. People all over Cuba, whether in Pina Del Rio or Havana, treated us and eachother like family. I have never come across such a friendly and loving people in my life. Wherever we went they shared with us what they had in terms of shelter, electricity, and food without restraint or regret. This was something touching since it truly showed how a group of people could practice true equality. This was important since equality is one of the main characteristics of the idea of democracy. Which leads us to the fact that the self proclaimed capitalist demoractic nations of the world claim that Cuba is a dictatorship and not a democracy. Another characteristic of a democratic nation is the idea that the people hold the power. One only has to look to the turnout of the May Day Parade to see that Cuba truly is one of the only democratic nations in the world. In what Western democratic country does over 70% of a nation turn out to support the country. In no Western country does this happen. Not even 30% will come out. These facts in particular, among many others, exemplify the fact that Cuba is truly a democratic country.
May 1st, 2010
Our brigade joined 3 million other people today for the annual International Worker´s Day march in Havana. International Worker’s Day, also known as May Day, was started in the 1800’s by the International Workingman’s Association and intended to be a one-day general strike by all workers to assert their rights. Cuba has gone above and beyond that tradition, where Cuban workers and their families celebrate their victories over 52 years of revolution.
We had to get up bright and early in order to arrive in town on time to get a good view of the parade. In the middle of Plaza de la Revolucion, we watched the sunrise with brigadistas from all over the world. After a rousing speech from members of the Cuban government and getting to see Raul Castro with our own eyes, the amazing march began. Words can’t truly describe what it was like to be a part of such an energetic crowd. Cubans of every possible background marched in the parade: The Cuban Women’s Federation, trade unionists, young workers and university students, parents carrying their kids; you name it and they were marching! It took an amazing two and a half hours for the entire parade to pass us by.
It was an inspiring day that I know I will remember for the rest of my life, and from it our bridage is more motivated than ever to fight for social justice abroad. ¡Viva Cuba! Workers of the World, Unite!
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Today the brigade visited the only museum of humour in Cuba. Situated in a small town called San Antonio de los Baños in Havana province. The small rural town which hosts the museum is named after the rivers which run throught it. Folklore tells that the waters of the river were capaple of giving good health to those who bathed in it.
The museum set in one of the largest, oldest and most beautiful buildings in the town was filled with paintings, photographs and artworks ranging from hysterical satire to thought provoking political commentary.
Many new pieces of art were commenting on the ¨help¨ provided by the U.S. government to the people of Haiti after the earthquake there. Showing that the U.S. governments interest was to send troops to Haiti not doctors as Cuba has done.
Some pieces humourized the history of the Cuban Revolution and some of its´chief instigators, while other pieces were created just to poke a little fun at life.
Brigade members stopped to laugh and to think throughout the gallery which brought humour in a very Cuban style to all of us.
5 time brigade participant