Havana Night  

Dance the night away for Cuba to celebrate the 26th July 1953 spark of the Cuban Revolution.
(75 Stirling Street Perth)
Featuring Latin Band CANDELA
Food and drinks at Club prices

Entry: $20 donation to health and education projects in Cuba
Organised by the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society, ACFS WA
For more information or bookings contact 0419812872 or Email: acfsperth@gmail.com

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Appeal for the victims of Hurricane Irma & Che's commemoration  

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Santiago de Cuba Carnival 2017  

ACFS Perth commemorates the 26th July 1953 assault on the Moncada Barracks. Considered the spark of the Cuban Revolution and a national day of revelry.
A popular carnival in Santiago de Cuba brings together an entire people with music and dance.

ACFS invites you to join us on Saturday 22nd July at the Fremantle Navy Club (Level 1, 64 High Street Corner Pakenham St, Fremantle) to celebrate this great event with the sounds of local band LATIN FUSION. Doors open from 7:30pm and music starts at 8pm.
Drink and food at Club prices. Be the lucky winner of the raffle and together raise the necessary funds for our health and education projects in solidarity with Cuba.
$20 pre sale or $25 at the door. This is a public event.
Please book early. For more information email acfsperth@gmail.com or 0419812872

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May Day Brigade 2017 Report  

Mural of Camilo Cienfuegos, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara at the CIJAM

May Day International Brigade 2017.
By Kamarra, Western Australia.

"I was privileged enough to participate in the XII International May Day Brigade, from April 24 to May 8, 2017. It was an exciting brigade to join, because it was the first-time American delegates were allowed to attend this 'May Day' Brigade after travel restrictions were eased and U.S. based airlines began offering service to Cuba. The 50 Americans joined the 290 delegates/brigadistas from 26 other countries. I was the only one who represented Australia. 

The Brigade experience is unlike a typical 'Cuban tourist' experience. You spend most of your time at the International Camp "Julio Antonio Mella" (CIJAM), located in the municipality Caimito, Artemisa province, about 45 kms from Havana. The camp is beautiful, covered in natural flora and fauna, with mango trees dripping in ripe fruit every day and cows freely walking in the field across from the dormitories where you sleep. You can also hear dozens of birds chirping their sweet melodies in the trees above you, everywhere you walk. The arrangements are basic and humble. You sleep in 8 bedded dorm rooms and share a bathroom / showers with ~20 other people of your gender. Everyone eats in the main canteen together, and you're served healthy, local (and mostly organic) Cuban food cooked fresh every day. There is a shop, bar, medical clinic, money exchange office, computer room (with 6 computers - yes, you have to fight for your precious 15min of internet time each day) and some places to play sports or relax on your own if you want. The conditions allow you to bond even more closely with the others. The best part of the camp is the artwork. Every building is covered in stunning murals which all have a different message of hope, peace, solidarity, or political assertion. Every inch of the camp is a gem to discover and is always kept clean and safe by the dozens of hardworking local Cuban staff, who always have a smile on their face and a warm embrace to give to the brigadistas. 

The schedule every day is full, starting from 6am through to as late as you want, with activities ranging from political discussions to salsa lessons (and many activities involving good Cuban rum!). 

I enjoyed every last minute of every single day. Even the early morning rooster wake up call. 

The first few days consisted of farm work on various types of farms around the district. One day I planted radishes, and the next day I picked weeds. One of the days, I simply moved rocks into large piles. You were at the service of the farmers to do whatever was needed on the day, and it was humbling. The work is sometimes monotonous but always important, giving you a great appreciation for the farmers; and the farmers take a lot of pride in their work (and so they should!). 

Various lectures, discussion panels, and documentaries are offered throughout the fortnight to brigadistas who wish to learn more about the Cuban history, the revolution, socialist ideas, and current affairs. There are also excursions to local communities to demonstrate how they use socialist principles to improve the standard of living for the Cuban people. We even had the opportunity to visit Provincial Hospital Dr Gustavo Aldereguía Lima in Cienfuegos (where Fidel Castro preferred to be treated) to see the incredible work the Cuban medical team are doing to create first class health care in their country, despite the immense detriment the U.S. Blockade has on their economy. There were many historical and tourist trips to Havana, Santa Clara, and Cienfuegos, which gave us the opportunity to better understand the culture and enjoy the beauty of Cuba. 

The highlight of this Brigade is, of course, the 'Primero de Mayo' parade on May 1st, which celebrates International Workers' Day. I was able to march with ~750,000 people through the streets of Havana, past the José Martí Memorial where Raul Castro stood watching us all in solidarity, marching for the 'trabajadores y trabajadoras' in support of the revolution and socialism. 

I had goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes the entire morning. 

It was frustrating to re-learn everything I had been taught about the history of Cuba, what socialism truly represents, and how much the U.S. Blockade affects the Cuban people. 

For instance, the U.S. Government financially penalises other countries if they do business with Cuba. They also 'punish’ import boats that dock in Cuba by restricting them from coming to the U.S. for 6 months after arriving to Cuba, which deters these countries/businesses from importing goods to Cuba at all. The U.S. Blockade extends far beyond trade between the United States and Cuba. Foreign companies routinely shy away from trade with Cuba because a product produced with even a drop of Cuban materials is prohibited from U.S. markets. For example, a Japanese car company that uses Cuban nickel in production cannot sell their cars in the United States. Cuba is rich in resources, but has difficulties making significant financial profit with these ridiculous impositions. Needlessly to say, discovering these truths put a very bitter taste in my mouth.

So when the public perception of socialism is represented by the current conditions in Cuba, there needs to be an understanding that Cuba would look vastly different if they were not economically suffocated by the consequences of the Blockade. However, Cuba is so amazing in spite of this struggle. The fact that they still maintain universal, and high quality, healthcare and education for all of their citizens, produce the most amount of teachers and doctors per capita than anywhere else in the world, have extremely low rates of homelessness and crime, and can produce most of their own food (organically at that) to feed all their citizens, and so on and so forth, is a true testament to the power of socialism. 

Of course, not everything in Cuba is perfect. We were shown mostly the 'shiny' parts of the country, but the Cuban hosts were not afraid to tell us what they really thought, and what still lacked. There is still a struggle to communicate through technology and the internet, although this is exacerbated by the Blockade, as the U.S. owns many telecommunication lines through Cuba, charging an inflated rate for calls going out of Cuba. We were also informed that there are plans in place to create more Wi-Fi spots in the cities as this issue is becoming more of a priority. In addition, the wages are low, even for highly skilled workers, but this is also reflective of the economic struggle caused by the Blockade. There are a lot of people who wish to have more 'first world luxuries', but at least all of their basic human needs are met whilst they wait, and that cannot be said for nearly every other country in the world, especially the capitalist ones. 

I would highly recommend for everyone who is interested in creating positive social change to attend a Brigade in Cuba at some point in their life, if the opportunity arises, especially the May Day Brigade. It has opened my eyes to a whole new reality of what the world can be like when there is a collective shift in societal consciousness about how to look after each other and the planet so that everyone can thrive. I am now inspired to partake in more activist work to raise awareness about the reality of Cuba, the devastating impact of the Blockade, and the powerful societal benefits of socialism. Hopefully one day, in my lifetime, I can witness a revolution in my country too."

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Send off for the 34 Southern Cross Brigade to Cuba  

ACFS invites you to farewell the Perth contingent travelling to Cuba in the 34 Southern Cross brigade to Cuba at the end of the year. Saturday 3rd December 2016, from 5:30pm.
Join us for a double film about Cuba, snack and drinks,raffle and music. 
Entry is by donation to the ACFS Cuban project in Bayamo, Cuba.
5:30pm Doors open (food and drink)
6pm Documentary "All Guantanamo is Ours" 
(Todo Guantanamo es Nuestro) about the difficulties of living next to the US naval base. 
A 36 minute documentary follow by short discussion or Q & A
7pm Cuban film Havana Blues, a lovely Cuban film about all kind of Cuban music and the life of Cuban people.
9pm more food, drink and raffle draw
For more information or bookings: Email: acfsperth@gmail.com or contact 0419812872.

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Southern Cross brigade to Cuba information session. Saturday 8th October, 3-6pm at Perth Trades Hall, 80 Beaufort St Perth  

We will commemorate the 49th anniversary of death of Che Guevara with an information session on the upcoming Southern Cross brigade to Cuba.

We will screen a recently released documentary "Community Doctors" to celebrate Cuba's achievements in medicine and its solidarity with the world which is a homage to Dr Ernesto Che Guevara.

This is our last information session and it is important that all brigadistas and potential brigadistas attend. 
We will try and answer all of your questions and provide the latest report on brigadistas who are fully paid and ready to go. Feel free to invite your friends and any potential brigadista or curious about Cuba.

Saturday 8th October, 3-6pm
Venue: CFMEU WA: Trades Hall, 80 Beaufort Street Perth (entrance through Beaufort Centre 82 Beaufort St), 
parking on Beaufort St or adjacent Sts.

Feel free to circulate.

For more information call 0419812872 or email acfsperth@gmail.com

Visit: www.cubabrigade.org.au

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The birthday by Fidel Castro  

I wish to express my most profound gratitude for the shows of respect, the greetings and the gifts that I have received in recent days, which give me the strength to reciprocate through ideas that I will transmit to the militants of our Party and relevant organizations.

Tomorrow I will turn 90 years old. I was born in a territory called Birán, in the eastern region of Cuba. It’s known by that name, although it has never appeared on a map. Given its good conduct it was known for close friends and, of course, a stronghold of political representatives and inspectors who involved in any commercial or productive activity typical of the neocolonized countries of the world.

On one occasion I accompanied my father to Pinares de Mayarí. I was eight or nine years old. How he enjoyed talking when he left the house in Birán! There he was the proprietor of the land where sugar cane, pasture and other agricultural crops were planted. But in Pinares de Mayarí he was not a proprietor, but a leaseholder, like many Spaniards, who were the owners of a continent under the rights granted by a papal bull, of whose existence none of the peoples and human beings of this continent were aware. The transmitted knowledge was already largely treasures of humanity.

The altitude rises to approximately 500 meters, with inclined, rocky slopes, where the vegetation is scarce and at times hostile. Trees and rocks obstruct transit; suddenly, at a certain height, a vast plateau begins which I estimate extends over approximately 200 square kilometers, with rich deposits of nickel, chromium, manganese and other minerals of great economic value. From that plateau dozens of trucks of pines of great size and quality were extracted daily.

Note that I have not mentioned the gold, platinum, palladium, diamonds, copper, tin, and others that at the same time have become symbols of the economic values that human society, in its present stage of development, requires.

A few years before the triumph of the Revolution my father died. Beforehand, he suffered a lot.
Of his three sons, the second and third were absent and distant. In revolutionary activities both fulfilled their duty. I had said that I knew who could replace me if the adversary was successful in its elimination plans. I almost laughed about the Machiavellian plans of the presidents of the United States.

On January 27, 1953, after the treacherous coup by Batista in 1952, a page of the history of our Revolution was written: university students and youth organizations, alongside the people, carried out the first March of the Torches to commemorate the centenary of the birth of José Martí.

I had already reached the conviction that no organization was prepared for the fight we were organizing. There was complete disorientation from the political parties that mobilized the masses of citizens, from the left to the right and the center, sickened by the politicking that reigned in the country.

At the age of 6 a teacher full of ambitions, who taught in the small public school of Birán, convinced my family that I should travel to Santiago de Cuba to accompany my older sister who would enter a highly prestigious convent school. Including me was a skill of that very teacher from the little school in Birán. She, splendidly treated in the house in Birán, where she ate at the same table with the family, was convinced of the necessity of my presence. Certainly, I was in better health than my brother Ramón – who passed away in recent months – and for a long time was a classmate. I do not want to be extensive, only that the years of that period of hunger were very tough for the majority of the population.

I was sent, after three years, to the Colegio La Salle in Santiago de Cuba, where I was enrolled in the first grade. Almost three years past without them ever taking me to the cinema.

Thus began my life. Maybe I will write, if I have time, about this. Excuse me for not having done so before now, it’s just I have ideas of what a child can and should be taught. I believe that a lack of education is the greatest harm that can be done.

Humankind today faces the greatest risk of its history. Specialists in these areas can do the most for the inhabitants of this planet, whose number rose, from one billion at the end of 1800, to seven billion at the beginning of 2016. How many will our planet have within a few years?
The brightest scientists, who now number several thousand, are those who can answer this question and many others of great consequence.

I wish to express my most profound gratitude for the shows of respect, the greetings and the gifts that I have received in recent days, which give me the strength to reciprocate through ideas that I will transmit to the militants of our Party and relevant organizations.

Modern technical means have allowed for scrutiny of the universe. Great powers such as China and Russia cannot be subject to threats to impose the use of nuclear weapons. They are peoples of great courage and intelligence. I believe that the speech by the President of the United States when he visited Japan lacked stature, and it lacked an apology for the killing of hundreds of thousands of people in Hiroshima, in spite of the fact that they knew the effects of the bomb. The attack on Nagasaki was equally criminal, a city that the masters of life and death chose at random. It is for that reason that we must hammer on about the necessity of preserving peace, and that no power has the right to kill millions of human beings.

Fidel Castro Ruz
August 12, 2016
10:34 p.m

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