During an interactive dialogue, more than 500 students, campesinos, intellectuals, artists and community leaders participated in the debate ‘Youth and the Americas we want,’ experiences to be taken to Panama, where the Youth Forum and Seventh Summit of the Americas will take place simultaneously, April 8-10.
Commemorating the 112th anniversary of the birth of communist leader, Julio Antonio Mella, the President of the Federation of University Students (FEU) at the University of Havana, Randy Perdomo, called for critical reflection as the region “is in need of the creativity, shared realities and innovative proposals from each one of its young people.”
The call for more just, equitable and prosperous societies in the region was the central topic of discussions held at the University of Havana and Pabellón Cuba, where panel debates on citizen security; environment and energy; education and health; and democratic governance and citizen participation, took place.
During the latter, the dialogue slipped between calm theoretical reasoning and lively discussion about experiences, demonstrating that participation means creating and implementing collective opinion derived from popular consultation, in addition to the potential for mobilization, decision making, implementing policies, and regulating laws, in a complex process measured by consensus, which implies that those who govern have the support of the governed.
Tempered by the reflections of political scientist, Rafael Hernández, director of the magazine Temas, speakers insisted that Cuba could be taken as an example of popular consultation and mobilization, but that work remains to be done in regards to decision making and the evaluation and control of society’s economic base - profound and complex issues for any political system.
Thus, necessary support from all social actors in the process of the updating of Cuba’s economic model, as well as emphasis on local development, decentralization and a change in mentality, feature as objectives to be achieved in the construction of our nation, which has already seen accomplishments in regards to equity, democracy, social justice, participation, governance and equality of opportunities and rights.
The panel proposed to argue, at the Panama event, the importance of peace to governance, and reject pressure and sanctions imposed by the U.S. government on Venezuela, a crude interventionist maneuver aimed at promoting destabilization.
CITIZEN SECURITY DEBATED
The young Yusuam Palacio, president of the Martí Youth Movement, on introducing the topic of citizen security, warned that without forgetting the hostile context in which the Revolution has evolved, it has guaranteed health, education and employment to millions of Cubans, and highlighted that the country’s institutions ensure the fulfillment of citizens’ rights.
He noted the importance of strengthening legal culture among the population with an emphasis on the Constitution which reflects the will of the state to protect children, the family and women. “Cuban society can’t progress in various constitutional challenges if the Constitution is unknown.”
After warning of the depth and seriousness of analysis the issue requires, he stated that in regards to the economy Cuba is vulnerable given that the genocidal imperialist blockade, principle obstacle to the country’s development and the quality of life of its people, has deprived the nation of necessary resources for a more prosperous existence.
He proposed to take to Panama, Cuban examples with visible results in this sphere and argue that material scarcities have made a significant impact on the breakdown of values associated with identity, as individualism, selfishness, consumerism and putting oneself above all else proliferate, as they are promoted in media campaigns of cultural colonization.
Other participants spoke about the mechanisms Cuba has to guarantee employment, salaries, education, health and social security, among other benefits. They also referred to actions implemented by regional organizations such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (Alba), the Caribbean Communityand Common Market (Caricom), and others, to try to eradicate extreme poverty, hunger and illiteracy.
CARE OF THE ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH AND EDUCATION
Dr. Bárbara Grajea, dean of the Higher Institute of Applied Sciences and Technologies, spoke about the consequences of humankind’s damaging actions on nature and the exploitation of energy and natural resources, which cause the negative effects of climate change, during the Environment and Energy panel discussion.
She proposed to bring to the event in Panama policies and strategies which could be applied in the region in order to combat the impact of environmental problems, and concurrently develop greater social consciousness around the issue, led by the youth and aimed at demanding that governments adhere to international agreements on the matter.
Opinions were focused on consumerist patters exacerbated by capitalism, the need for specialized information and literature on agro-ecology, as well as the role of education and the utilization of scientific research to create greater collective consciousness in the struggle to combat ecological problems.
Similarly, during the Education and Health panel, discussed were the challenges of providing free, quality education, with guaranteed medical services to all sectors of the population.
In this sense she reported that Cuba allocates 9.1% of its GDP to human resource training and offers solidarity assistance to more than 60 countries in these important social areas, highlighting achievements in the sphere of primary healthcare, combating epidemics and maternal-infant and family care.
During the session, young professors, doctors and students agreed on the need to promote scientific exchanges and the transfer of technologies on the basis of defending national sovereignty, as excellent health achievements can only be realized with the necessary qualified professionals.
They proposed to take to the Final Declaration to be presented in Panama, the need to encourage the creation of genuine Latin American knowledge to be used for the benefit of society and not as a tool for powerful groups and imperialist elites.
A summary of the discussions served to create the document which will be presented by the Cuban delegation to the Youth Forum, and which was read at the end of the event by Ricardo Guardia Lugo, president of the Latin American and Caribbean Continental Organization of Students (OCLAE).
Previously, the digital forum ‘Adolescents and Young People in the Americas we want’ was opened on the site Soy Cuba (www.soycuba.cu), featuring issues relating to educati
Organized by the Center for Youth Research, and taking place from the Havana Computation Center, intellectuals, experts and artists will be exchanging with national and international internet users until the end of April, about strengthening political will in order to resolve problems afflicting the Latin American region.
Noteworthy among the topics are free, quality higher education; employment guarantees; cultural development; having a social healthcare system which responds to the legitimate needs of the country, issues being resolved by the Cuban Revolution.
A number of points were agreed upon to form part of the proposals to be presented by the Cuban delegation at the 4th Young People of the Americas Forum, to demonstrate Cuba’s encouraging achievements and guarantee humanity’s survival.
YOUTH FORUM FINAL DECLARATION
We, the Cuban youth, convened in the Forum entitled, ‘Youth and the Americas we want,’ with the participation of more than 500 representatives from student organizations, youth movements, associations and diverse sectors of our society, declare:
To demand more just, equitable and prosperous societies for the Americas, which address the sovereign demands of our peoples and guarantee all human rights for all citizens, including universal and free access to quality education and healthcare.
To reaffirm the historic importance of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, which was ratified during the 2nd CELAC Summit held in Havana, together with the profound conviction that without peace, cooperation and mutual respect between nations, it will be impossible to advance toward sustainable development.
To defend our country’s sovereignty and independence, and demand that the right to self-determination exercised by our people and the political, economic and social system which we have freely decided to construct, be respected.
To demand an end to the illegal economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba for more than five decades, which constitutes the principle obstacle to the country’s development and which directly affects Cuban youth.
To condemn the absurd inclusion of Cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
To express our solidarity with the progressive causes of the peoples of the Americas and reject interventionist actions and media manipulation campaigns being carried out against various democratic governments of our region, in particular against our sister nation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
To defend the legitimacy of our revolutionary, participative, civil society and youth - representative of the vast majority of our people, committed to building a country where fundamental laws are based on absolute dignity for humankind.
To contribute to the Youth Forum, which will take place in Panama this coming April, as part of the 7th Summit of the Americas, through our experiences, realities and results of the debates which took place in the Cuban Youth Forum.