Colloquium on Fidel at the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students. Photo: Rodríguez Guerrero, Lissy

Sochi, Russia.–The legacy of Fidel and the Revolution he built, his wisdom and example, were the focus of a panel dedicated to him in Sochi’s Main Media Center, as part of the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students.

From a Bolivian student who appreciates the friendship between the Cuban leader and President Evo Morales, to a member of the Socialist Workers Party in the United States, for whom imperialism is experiencing a crisis, and “today the example is the Cuban Revolution,” Fidel represents a common leader, a friend, a guide.

Artem Lepeshkin, a student at Moscow State University, noted that the Comandante “does not belong to Cuba, he belongs to the whole world. The Cuban Revolution is due to the figure of Fidel Castro, its great success is in having chosen that leader.”

Yailin Orta, one of the panelists and editor of the Cuban daily Juventud Rebelde, stressed that Fidel made Martí’s idea of the homeland being equal to humanity his own, and spoke of him in the present tense, as if he were a restless, astute contemporary, who always defended the Revolution, and stressed the importance of the human being, and the struggle to solve humanity’s problems.

“One feels proud on hearing just how alive he is among the delegations from other countries. It’s down to that example of his ideas, and what he always warned, that men can die, but not their legacy, their example. The Cuban Revolution was a watershed for Latin America, for the world, and that influence is due to the undisputed leadership of Fidel,” historian Elier Ramírez stressed, in what was a dignified tribute to the Cuban leader, to whom this year’s World Festival is also dedicated.

Yusuam Palacio, president of the Martí Youth Movement, noted that Fidel taught us to challenge dogmas, and above all how necessary it is to understand the moment in which we live, where to direct struggles and channel the revolutionary process. He understood the value of history, knowing where we come from, our traditions, and the role of the people in the Revolution, he added.

Fidel’s self defense plea, later published as History Will Absolve Me, and marking the revolutionary program of the July 26 Movement, is perhaps the first synthesis of these characteristics of his thought and action; that led the Cuban Revolution to triumph, to resist and to overcome, and to always be at the front line, alongside the poor of the world, fighting against injustice.

Delegates to the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students condemned the U.S. blockade of Cuba. Photo: Rodríguez Guerrero, Lissy

As such, Fidel is present in many ways at the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students. He can be found in the emotive response to members of the Cuban artistic delegation, Aramís Padilla and Héctor Gutiérrez, improvising décimas; or when a young Cuban man recited the poem “Canto a Fidel,” by Carilda Oliver Labra. He is in the driving force which compels the young people of the world to continue fighting for the ideals of freedom and world peace.


Just a few days before a report on the impact of the U.S. blockade of Cuba is set to be presented before the UN General Assembly, participants to a Cuba solidarity forum in Sochi, October 16, condemned the political, economic and human damages caused by this hostile policy.

Youth from all over the world attended the forum, held in the city’s Main Media Center, where many of the Festival activities are taking place, to demand the return to Cuba of territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base. One of those to speak up in this regard was Jacobo Perasso, representing the socialist youth and U.S. Socialist Workers Party, who demanded an end to subversive programs by his country’s government and highlighted Cuba’s solidarity and internationalism.

Meanwhile, Executive Secretary of the Continental Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Students (OCLAE), Rafael Bogonin, noted that Cuba has seen important victories, including securing the return of the Cuban Five; and stressed that “despite threats, the (Cuban) people continue to resist.” At a time when Latin American countries are facing a resurgence of hegemonic capitalism, the student leader noted that Cuba stands out as a beacon and example for the world.

In this regard, President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Fernando González Llort, described the blockade as an economic war against Cuba, which affects all sectors of its economy and society, and allows the United States to harass countries which decide to pursue trade relations with the island.

The decorated Hero of the Republic of Cuba spoke about the extraterritorial impact of this policy, as well as the increased cost of acquiring goods, as Cuba is forced to make purchases in distant markets.

In a moving speech, Che’s daughter Aleida Guevara stressed that the fact that she is a “socially useful woman” today is thanks to the Cuban Revolution. She talked about the impact of the blockade on the island’s healthcare system, describing the pain one feels on being unable to obtain a certain medicine to treat a patient. “Of ten new medicines, eight have U.S. patents. In order to acquire them, Cuba must go through five or six intermediaries. This is the unquantifiable harm caused by the blockade,” she stated.

Various youth also took the opportunity to congratulate the Venezuelan people and government on their recent electoral victory this past October 15, and express solidarity with the sister nation and other peoples around the world.

The solidarity forum concluded with a performance from musical duo Buena Fe, Eduardo Sosa, Annie Garcés and repentistas Aramís Padilla and Héctor González, before which Suselys Morfa González, first secretary of Cuba’s Young Communist League, expressed the importance of the love and commitment of those gathered for the Cuban people, and their history. “We are the heirs of Martí, anti-imperialists by nature,” she stated.