WE Chileans have stood in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution since its triumph, on January 1, 1959, stated Leandro Lanfranco Leverton, director of the national commission responsible for organizing Cuba solidarity brigades from his country.
Speaking to Granma International, Lanfranco expressed his deep love for the country, marked by countless experiences accumulated over 50 years struggling for Latin American liberation, looking to Cuban socialism as a key example.
He explained that the solidarity efforts of Chileans were only interrupted following the coup against the constitutional government of President Salvador Allende in 1973 by a military junta led by General Augusto Pinochet. As the period of dictatorship came to an end in the 1980s, solidarity efforts resumed and have been maintained to date.
“Our main demands,” stated the Chilean activist, “are the same as those expressed by the revolutionary government in the international arena, such as demanding an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States; the return of the territory occupied in Guantánamo, where an illegal U.S prison is based; spreading the truth about Cuba; refuting misleading media campaigns; and promoting visits to the island.”
The group organizes contingents to visit the country, invited by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), and which normally travel with the South American Cuba Solidarity Brigade in January, the May Day group visiting during celebrations for International Workers' Day, or Latin American and Caribbean delegations, among others. He noted that Chilean solidarity contingents have their own independent directorates who organize activities across the country's 15 provinces, all tailored to the area where they are based.
Also a member of the National Ex-Political Prisoners Association's Tatty Allende group, Lanfranco added, “This 2017 we are mobilizing to carry forward the thought of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz. We will also be participating in a national encounter in the month of June to organize work strategies and activities.
“As such we will be thinking about how to work together to resist the imperialist policies dictated by the White House and remain alert to the evolution of Donald Trump's government.”
As a young man Lanfranco was an active member of Chile's Communist Youth, later joining the country's Communist Party in the 1960s, which is why he has visited Cuba on six occasions, most recently to participate in the posthumous tribute to Fidel Castro Ruz; accompanying the caravan which transported the Comandante en Jefe's ashes to Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, where they were laid to rest on December 4, 2016.
“This year I want to bring a group of Chileans to enroll in a course given by the Federation of Cuban Women. Another delegation will also visit the island to participate in the May Day parade in Santiago de Cuba's Antonio Maceo Plaza de la Revolución. These delegates will also attend the Romerías de Mayo celebrations in the city of Holguín.”
According to Lanfranco, Chileans will also take advantage of these exchanges to pay tribute to José Martí, Simón Bolívar, Fidel Castro, and other Latin American predecessors, which is why delegations will adopt the name of former socialist President Salvador Allende or Gladys Marín, ex-secretary-general of the Communist Party of Chile.
The activist from Latin America concluded by noting that Cuba will continue to be an example of a moral, fraternal, and solidary attitude, with an international commitment to building the type of society to which it aspires: one of greater justice for the people. “Cuba is a beacon which lights and guides all of us who are fighting for a different world.”