National Cuba Solidarity encounter held in Buenos Aires in July 2010. Photo: Courtesy of the interviewee

Thousands of Argentines, members of Cuba solidarity organizations, continue to undertake actions this 2017 with a program of activities drawn up by 96 delegates from nine provinces during an event held November 26-27, 2016, according to Alberto Más, secretary of the Argentine Club of Journalists and Friends of Cuba (CAPAC).

The organization is headed by intellectual and author Stella Calloni, and forms part of the Argentine Cuba Solidarity Movement (MASCUBA), which organizes actions in support of Cuban causes, is composed of trade unionists, political parties and social movements, and holds a national congress every two years.

Speaking to Granma International, Alberto Mas noted that Hero of the Republic of Cuba and President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Fernando González Llort, participated in the most recent encounter which was marked by the passing of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz. Despite the painful news however, he noted that participants decided to go ahead with the event which they entitled: “Fidel Castro lives in Cuba, in Argentina, and around the world.”

During the Congress, it was decided to promote initiatives dedicated to studying the thought of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution which, coincidently, are undertaken by member organizations of the Argentine Chapter of Social Movements affiliated with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), with four events scheduled to take place in Córdoba and the Argentine-Cuban Friendship House in Buenos Aires.

Alberto Mas noted that the Argentine Cuba Solidarity movement is organizing various events on the thought of Comandatne en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz. Photo: Courtesy of the interviewee

According to Alberto Mas, who holds an undergraduate degree in Administration, and is a photographer and communicator, also recognized during the Congress was the work of Propuesta Tatu, an organization founded in 2006 by graduates from Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM). To date, members have embarked upon 19 health missions and treated some 52,000 persons, whilst also undertaking health prevention and promotion work in the country’s most vulnerable communities.

Another outcome of the event was the decision to continue supporting the Doctor Ernesto Che Guevara Ophthalmological Hospital, based in the city of Córdoba, which offers free eye surgery through the Operation Miracle program, and has benefited over 50,000 patients to date.

The CAPAC secretary also added that “The history of MASCUBA includes a number of initiatives which have been held continuously, such as public promotional actions, of which there are several examples: the Mesa Internacionalista in the district of La Matanza or the encounter held every Saturday in the Almirante Brown neighborhood, where participants discuss Cuba’s reality, share articles from the Granma newspaper, or sell books, music and audiovisuals produced on the island.”

He went on to mention the work of community radio stations; financed and maintained through the solidarity work of various members, citing for example, the “De Cuba traigo un cantar” program, broadcast for over 10 years by the 26 de Julio station, as well as “Mesa Internacionalista;” while Radio Plural, available at 103.9

FM in the city of San Justo, has aired 33 programs on Cuba. Another popular show is “Cuba y nosotros,” broadcast by Gente de Radio (90.3FM) from Bariloche since 2004.

Meanwhile the CAPAC, founded on October 12, 2010, contributes to disseminating important news regarding Cuba through a daily bulletin that goes out to over 300 journalists; an initiative which the organization is working to expand. The bulleting contains information denouncing the ideological war waged by the U.S. State Department, with CNN at the head, against Cuba and all popular and anti-imperialist movements on the continent.

Alberto Mas explained: “Various Casas de la Amistad (Friendship Houses) remain open today; the most well known being those located in Buenos Aires, the northern part of the city of Vicente López and the Casa de los Patriotas Latinoamericanos in La Plata.

“These institutions offer information on Cuba, undertake activities to demand an end to the genocidal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the Caribbean island, and organize voluntary work brigades, which travel to the country every year and stay at the Julio Antonio Mella International Camp, located in the municipality of Caimito, in the western province of Artemisa. They also support efforts to strengthen Latin American and Caribbean unity as a way for our peoples to combat the neoliberal and colonial policies imposed by right-wing factions backed by U.S. imperialism,” he noted.

The Argentine Cuba Solidarity Movement emerged after the world learned of the fight being led by the Rebel Army from the Sierra Maestra against the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship. The organization has supported the work of the Revolution since its triumph on January 1, 1959, which draws on the efforts of independence fighter José Martí who was appointed Argentine Counsel in the United States and also worked as a collaborator for Argentine newspaper La Nación.

An important moment in the organization’s history has been its efforts to secure the release of the Cuban Five, unjustly imprisoned in the U.S. for undertaking anti-terrorist activities. The group has also worked hard to disseminate the results of the UN votes in favor of lifting the blockade, and even presented Argentina’s Foreign Minister with a petition signed by thousands of citizens demanding that the Mauricio Macri government continue to support an end to the unjust policy in the 2016 vote.

Alberto Mas noted that the next national Congress will be held in 2018 in the city of Rosario, with various regional meetings set to take place this year, in the lead up to the event. These actions will focus on a variety of different issues, but will all be held in the context of Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara’s 90th birthday, set to be celebrated on June 14, 2018, as well as 50 years since his assassination on October 8, 2017.

The activist went on to highlight that the organization is currently focusing its efforts on supporting regional integration and solidarity, looking toward Cuba as an undeniable beacon of resistance against U.S. hegemonic and imperialist policies, in its efforts to build a more just and solidary world.

Finally, regarding what Alberto Mas described as the fundamental need to “defend the work of Mercosur with Venezuela as the axis and channel connecting ALBA countries…for the construction of an economically, politically and socially integrated region,” the CAPAC secretary cited Che Guevara, the heroic guerilla born in Argentina and assassinated in Bolivia in 1967: “How beautiful and how close the future would be, if we were able to unite.”