*definitely!* JUVENTUD REBELDE: Can young people in Cuba and the U.S. build a better future together?

Walter Lippmann

Can young people in Cuba and the U.S. build a better future together?

This was the fruitful dialogue in Spanish and English, in the pine forest of the National Botanical Garden, during the exchangeof views in the workshops on social justice, free public access to education and health, among other topics.

Published: Sunday 27 November 2022 | 12:45:04 am.
Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
24 en el Encuentro Juvenil de Amistad Cuba-Estados Unidos

It has been a space of friendship, unity and solidarity that concluded Saturday afternoon in the idyllic setting of the National Botanical Garden. The enthusiastic youngsters had been participating in the Cuba-United States Youth Friendship Encounter "Building Our Future Today" since Thursday, November 24.

Their grain of sand for that future was achieved with mutual learning, with the knowledge of the realities, especially the Cuban one, intentionally hidden or distorted by the circles of power on the other side.

It was the fruitful dialogue in Spanish and English, in the pine forest of the National Botanical Garden, during the exchange in the workshops on social justice, public and free access to education and health, science and innovation at the service of life, the right to culture, sports, employment, unionization and the search for economic equity.

There was also discussion and debate on respect for human rights, sexual diversity, gender equality, the fight against racism, racial discrimination and all forms of discrimination and violence. The protection of the environment, the effects and possible solutions of human activity on climate change, etc., were also discussed and debated.

The defense of all this would be in the Final Declaration, applauded with the decision in the afternoon with a festive and spontaneous atmosphere in this meeting that opened doors and windows of the hearts of hosts and Americans. They applauded the excellent performance of the clarinet quartet Ébanos de La Habana and the brief and immediate documentary with photos of what has happened and where they recognized themselves.

"This has been one of the most intense and beautiful experiences that I have lived during my 25 years", confessed the delegate presenter of those who represented the organizations that had made possible this embrace of love and solidarity: Ángel Arzuaga Reyes, vice chief and coordinator of the International Relations Department of the Communist Party of Cuba; Meyvis Estévez Echevarría, Ideological of the National Bureau of the UJC; Karla Santana, president of the FEU; Leonel Puig Friedman, for the OCLAE; and Hamlet Álvarez, president of the FEEM.

The celebration became really intense when the Final Declaration was read and proclaimed. Those in charge of "the task" did it in English and Spanish, with the particularity that it was the Cuban Jonathan McKenzie Monés, who did it in the language of Shakespeare, and the American Yajaira Cuapio, from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, who used the language of Cervantes, with a remark about her feelings when her voice almost broke: "I am very excited".

"We, representatives of social, political, student organizations and community leaders," begins the document, brief and forceful, which "unequivocally reaffirms solidarity with the Cuban people, who have warmly welcomed us as friends."

They commit themselves to work together to disseminate achievements, realities and assume the challenges "we face in our struggle against U.S. imperialism".

They recognize the Cuban Revolution as a reference for their social struggles and denounce and demand the end of the blockade that impedes the development of Cuba, and deprives the American people of the medical, cultural and intellectual potential that Cuba can offer.

Fair demands: that Cuba be removed from the infamous and illegitimate list of State sponsors of terrorism and that the illegal occupation of the territory where the U.S. imposes the Guantanamo Naval Base cease. 

It speaks of the dangerous rise of the arms race when hunger is a global scourge. Therefore, the working class has the right to organize and fight against the system of capitalist exploitation; as much as the Cuban people to its decision to build an ever more prosperous socialist society, and to defend it.

An essential one closes the claims of these young Cubans and Americans: "the right to relate to each other respectfully as neighboring countries".

Americans of all colors and genders have proclaimed: "we will return to our communities re-energized".

To the question in the headline of this report, there is a categorical answer: Yes. And the invitation to repeat the meeting next year is already in place. 

Almost a century ago Julio Antonio Mella predicted it with total certainty: "Every future time must be better". These young people are not waiting, they are building it.

Seeing it with my own eyes 

Photo: Abel Rojas Barallobre.

Dennis Rutt is studying medicine in the United States, and he is curious about the Cuban health system, the development of vaccines against COVID-19 and primary care programs attracted a lot of attention. "There is a lot of talk about it, so I wanted to see it with my own eyes."

A member of the delegation participating in the meeting of young Cubans and Americans, he assures that the blockade is a crime against humanity, "to have maintained it during the pandemic and to intensify it mercilessly against the people is unforgivable," he stressed.

"It is necessary to continue fighting, from the United States itself and from all parts of the world for its elimination. In our case of us, we have many internal problems, crime, socially disadvantaged people, a pandemic that still maintains its marks on society, that is what we must deal with and let the rest of the world go on its way in peace," he assured.

The much and the little

Photo: Abel Rojas Barallobre.

Aracelyz Veloz is a member of a tenants' union, "in my country there is no consideration for people with few resources, and sometimes you have to choose between buying food, having medical assistance or paying the rent for the house.

"That's why I come to Cuba, to see how a country with a government very different from mine solves these social issues. You have security to live, it is not like that there. In the United States there is a lot of inequality and very little solidarity," he said.