Camila Perassolo, from Argentina spoke to Granma International about her recent visit to the island, as a member of the 2017 South American Solidarity with Cuba brigade, to learn about the history and reality of the country, support agricultural work, and participate in other tasks of economic and social importance.
She mentioned the conferences on a variety of issues which members attended, especially those regarding bilateral relations between Cuba and the United States, José Martí, youth and student organizations, and the updating of the island’s economic model.
Perassolo was also happy to exchange with brigadistas from her country, Brazil, and Chile, as well as Cubans she met while visiting the local Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (neighborhood organization), paying tribute to Ernesto Ché Guevara at his mausoleum in Santa Clara, in Villa Clara, and on a visit to the province of Sancti Spíritus.
Her best memory is that of the March of the Torches which took place on January 27, in honor of the birth of Cuban National Hero José Martí and led for the first time by Fidel Castro Ruz and a group of revolutionaries in 1953, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the man who led Cuba’s war of independence to free the island from the yoke of colonial Spain in the late 19th century.
The march set-off from the University of Havana, after which participants made their way down San Lázaro Street, then on to Infanta until they reached 25th Street and the Fragua Martiana Museum, an institution dedicated to remembering the cruel imprisonment of José Martí, at only 16 years of age, accused of treason and sentenced to six years of hard labor.
Camila, together with over 150 comrades from the brigade, gathered hours before with thousands of young Cubans at that University's Grand Stairway. There, as participants laughed, chatted and sang, the march set- off at 9pm.
Among the crowd, Camila was surprised to see Kenia Serrano Puig, President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP); who she had met days earlier when the Cuban official visited the brigade at the Julio Antonio Mella International Camp, in the municipality of Caimito, Artemisa Province, to welcome the contingent to the island.
Camila approached Kenia to complement her on her T-shirt which featured the phrase “Como Martí” (like Martí) above an image of Comandante Fidel’s rank epaulettes on a 26th of July Movement flag. In response, Kenia, also a deputy to the Cuban Parliament, promised to give the young Argentine her T-shirt.
Despite the kind gesture, Camila believed that the issue would be forgotten, given the official’s busy schedule.
At the end of the trip, the Argentine brigadista was selected from among her comrades to read the Final Declaration; after which she was approached by, decorated Hero of the Republic of Cuba and ICAP Vice President, Fernando González, who was also one of the five Cuban anti-terrorists unjustly imprisoned in the United States. Fernando gave Camila a small package, which he told her was from Kenia. Inside, was the T-shirt.