Youths, workers challenge U.S. ban on travel to Cuba

By Larry Hales
Buffalo, N.Y. Published Aug 6, 2007 10:09 PM

Activists from the United States who support the Cuban people and the Cuban Revolution marched across the Peace Bridge from Fort Erie, Ont., to Buffalo, N.Y. on July 28 to protest the U.S. travel ban against Cuba and the over 40 years of U.S.-imposed blockade of the island.

Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST)<br>youth delegation before the magnificent statue<br>of Commandante Che Guevara, a hero of the<br>Cuban revolution, executed by CIA puppets<br>in 1967 in Bolivia. Inscribed on the base<br>of the statue—part of the Che memorial in<br>Santa Clara, Cuba—are the words,<br>‘Until the final victory’ in Spanish.<br>FIST, the Venceremos Brigade,<br>Pastors for Peace and the U.S./Cuba Labor<br>Exchange jointly challenged U.S. travel<br>restrictions to Cuba.

Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST)
youth delegation before the magnificent statue
of Commandante Che Guevara, a hero of the
Cuban revolution, executed by CIA puppets
in 1967 in Bolivia. Inscribed on the base
of the statue—part of the Che memorial in
Santa Clara, Cuba—are the words,
‘Until the final victory’ in Spanish.
FIST, the Venceremos Brigade,
Pastors for Peace and the U.S./Cuba Labor
Exchange jointly challenged U.S. travel
restrictions to Cuba.

WW photo: Monica Moorehead

The action was led by the Venceremos Brigade, a group that has been traveling to Cuba since 1969, openly challenging the U.S. blockade and travel restrictions imposed on the country. Members of the U.S. Cuba Labor Exchange and the youth group FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together) were also among the nearly 80 people who defied the travel ban.

Deciding to actively challenge U.S. travel restrictions is a serious matter, as potential fines can be heavy. Just this year the reactionary Bush administration announced a new task force whose goal is to intensify the harassment of supporters of the Cuban revolution, and even people simply going to the island for a vacation.

The protests on the walk across the mile-long Peace Bridge were lively, with up to 15 people crossing at one time, with their luggage, and shouting chants such as, “Cuba Sí! Bloqueo No!” and other chants in support of the Cuban Five, five political prisoners here in the U.S. whom Cubans consider heroes for providing information about terrorist anti-socialist groups of Cuban exiles in Miami.

As the protesters went through U.S. customs, some of them were harassed by customs agents and in some cases were even insulted. Then dozens of supporters on the U.S. side greeted the weary travelers with cheers and chants and regaled them with a cookout.

FIST, which is the youth organization of Workers World Party (WWP), had a contingent of 17 people, one an infant. A representative of the League of Young Communists (UJC) in Cuba told the FIST contingent that it was the first pro-socialist youth group in a long time to travel to the island from the U.S.

While on the island, the FIST youth, along with veteran WWP members, visited with leadership of the UJC, with Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), with a professor at the Communist Party’s school on Marxism and Socialism, with U.S. graduates of the Latin American School of Medicine and with the director of the medical school. These visits were just a few of the highlights of the trip, which included a visit to the memorial in Santa Clara for the Argentine-born hero of the Cuban Revolution, Che Guevara.


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