Fourteen brigadistas are making their final preparations for this year's Brigade, with a number already in Cuba. The group is a fantastic mix of young and old, male and female and experienced and inexperienced. For some, this will be their first solo trip overseas, for others their fifteenth adventure to the revolutionary island. All are connected by a willingness to learn more about the situation in Cuba and to express their solidarity with its unique national project.
Our Brigade merchandise has arrived and will be distributed to our members upon arrival at ICAP in Havana. Our participants are also carrying a wide array of other items for donation to workshops, schools and other institutions across the island. As you likely know, the genocidal sixty-year US blockade makes it incredibly difficult to source many basic items and parts.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be providing updates on the blog and Instagram (internet access and VPN permitting).
Hasta la proxima vez,
We've confirmed with our friends at ICAP (Cuban Institute for Friendship Amongst the Peoples) that the next iteration of the Southern Cross Brigade will run from 29 December 2022 to 17 January 2023. Though pricing and the itinerary are yet to be confirmed, we do expect that the Brigade will take us to Havana, Matanzas and Villa Clara. As always, our base will be located at CIJAM, near Caimito (less than an hour from Havana).
The programme will include our traditional educational, political, cultural and work exchange activities, but also - as with all things 2020s - include a COVID-19 focus. We will visit the vaccine manufacture and distribution facilities associated with Cuba's multiple homegrown COVID-19 vaccines, speak to young volunteer workers assisting Cubans in overcoming infection and, in visiting Matanzas, explore localities most hit by infection during 2021.
We promise it won't all be pandemic-related, though! Both myself and Iván from ICAP have a strong interest and passion for the works of Che Guevara, particularly his lesser-known (though incredibly prescient and important) economic works. Our time in Villa Clara will include some reflections on Che's life work, as well as its impact on Cubans today.
Outside of all of this, expect to visit museums such as the Fidel Castro Centre, Che's mausoleum and the Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) museum, undertake agricultural work activities, be engaged in talks and lectures from a range of Cuban experts, and sing and dance with our local hosts and comrades. For those with an interest in the topics of the environment, gender inequality, socialism, imperialism, pedagogy, healthcare and much more, the Southern Cross Brigade is certainly for you.
Adam (National Coordinator)