Attachment: 45th Contingent VB Application.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document
- The Venceremos Brigade: Come with us to Cuba!, benjamin ramos, 12/19/2013
The Venceremos Brigade
Who we are and what we doIn 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.
Now, in 2004, the VB is celebrating its 35th Anniversary. Over the last 35 years, the VB has given over 8,000 people from U.S. the opportunity for a life-changing experience. While the trip has evolved over time, the Venceremos Brigade has always kept its format of work, educational activities, and travel. In addition, we remain committed to organizing the most diverse contingents possible; Brigadistas are young and older, of many races, nationalities, socioeconomic classes, and sexual orientations. The oldest Cuba solidarity organization in the world, the VB has never requested permission from the U.S. government to go to Cuba - and we never will! We believe it is our right as U.S. citizens to travel free of U.S. government obstacles. We also believe that we have much to learn from Cuba and the best way to do that is to travel there and see for ourselves.
Our Travel Challenge was extremely successful. After spending 2 weeks in Cuba (during which we painted aneighborhood health clinic and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Garrison), 80 Brigadistas and many supporters walked over the International Peace Bridge from Canada into Buffalo, New York. Customs officials were expecting as was a large rally of supporters who welcomed us on the U.S. side of the border. When faced with this organized political resistance, the U.S. government backed down. The Bush Administration is well aware that there is little support among the U.S. people for its policies towards Cuba. Not one Brigadista was harassed while crossing and to date no one from the last contingent has been fined or threatened by the U.S. government.
However, since our return to the U.S., the Bush administration has increased its attacks on travel to Cuba. After both Houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly against the enforcement of the travel restrictions in November, a special joint congressional committee stripped the Cuba provision from the bill and left the travel restrictions in place! For the first time in history, judges have now begun to hold hearings in order to fine people who have allegedly made “illegal” trips to Cuba ! The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, charged with the responsibility of enforcing the travel restrictions, has already scheduled many hearings and has several thousand cases pending.
In October 2003, Bush formed a new “transition commission” headed by Secretary of State Powell to study further ways to overthrow the Cuban Revolution. Bush ordered hundreds of Homeland Security agents to interrogate and harass more than 44,000 legal travelers on their way to Cuba. Several organizational religious licenses have been suspended. Criminal investigations against unnamed organizations have been ordered. Top Administration flunkies have made slanderous attacks on Cuba with no evidence whatsoever. Candidates for office in Florida speak openly of favoring an invasion of Cuba and millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars continue to be appropriated for the subversion of the Cuban government.
The Venceremos Brigade is completely opposed to all these policies. In July 2004, the VB will again join with IFCO-Pastors for Peace in what will be an even bigger, more successful Travel Challenge. Now, more than ever, is the time to join a VB contingent as we exercise our constitutional right to travel and our right as human beings to learn about Cuban society and to create friendships with Cuban people. The 35th Anniversary Contingent will spend time in Cuba’s two most important cities--Santiago de Cuba and Havana. Our trip will have a special concentration on the African roots of Cuban history and contemporary society. We expect this to be one of the best Venceremos Brigade trips ever!
Over the last four and half decades, the V.B. has given over 8,000 people from the U.S. the opportunity for a life-changing experience. While the trip has evolved over time, the Venceremos Brigade has always kept its format of work, educational activities, and travel. In addition, we remain committed to organizing the most diverse contingents possible; Brigadistas are young and older, of many races, nationalities, socio-economic classes, and sexual orientations.
The oldest Cuba solidarity organization in the world, the V.B. has never requested permission from the U.S. government to go to Cuba–and we never will! We believe it is our right as U.S. citizens to travel free of U.S. government obstacles. We also believe that we have much to learn from Cuba and the best way to do that is to travel there and see for ourselves!
An Overview of the Brigade Experience
The ProgramWhile in Cuba, the Venceremos Brigade is hosted by the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the People(ICAP).
Every year, our friends at ICAP develop a program for our two-week visit to Cuba. Our Cuban hosts work very hard to ensure that Brigadistas can seize the opportunity of their visit to Cuba- seeing and learning as much as possible, and hearing from as many voices as possible- so that we return to the US with a wealth of knowledge and a dynamic perspective, enabling us to educate people about Cuba, replacing myths with realities.
The program typically includes:
The WorkThe character of the Venceremos Brigade is inseparable from the work component of the program. Over the years, Brigadistas have harvested sugar cane, painted buildings, repaired structures, hauled construction materials, and much more. No matter what work projects are planned for a given year, there is always a valuable contribution for every Brigadista to make, regardless of skill, experience or ability.
The organizers of the Brigade will inform Brigadistas of the type of work that will be performed as soon as it is known, and will provide suggestions as to how to prepare and what tools (if any) to bring.
The CampWhile in Cuba as part of the Venceremos Brigade you will experience living conditions familiar to the majority of people in the world, but unfamiliar to most in the United States.
The Brigade often stays in camps that were built to host solidarity and other groups. Bunk beds in rooms for 6-10 people ensure rapid bonding among Brigadistas. While in Cuba we will experience the impacts of the US economic blockade- economic warfare- against Cuba. Supply shortages make for simple facilities that are often compromised by the rigor of large groups; and water shortages & simple systems necessitate conservation and care.
The organizers of the Brigade will provide suggestions as to how to prepare and what supplies to bring to make the camp experience comfortable.
The Travel ChallengeThe travel challenge occurs when we cross the border on our return to the United States.
Simply put, the travel restrictions imposed upon citizens and residents of the United States forbid us fromspending money in Cuba, or from spending money through transactions that would put that money into the hands of Cuban nationals. Technically speaking, the travel restrictions are not restrictions on “travel,” they are restrictions on “trading with the enemy.”
By traveling to Cuba openly, we affirm our Constitutional rights to free speech and free assembly, cultural exchange, and to see Cuba with our own eyes.
Brigadistas will receive more detail on the travel challenge, including in depth legal training before and during our visit to Cuba, preparing us individually and - most importantly - as a collective to exercise our “duty to disobey unjust laws.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Attachment: 45th Contingent VB Application.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document
You need to be a member of TheBlackList Pub to add comments!