Maria José Silva (left) and Telma Araujo, two of the authors of the book. Both belong to the José Martí Cultural Association in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais. Photo: Courtesy of the authors

THE need to provide younger generations with knowledge regarding the Brazilian solidarity with Cuba movement motivated several intellectuals from the country to research and put together a book that would preserve the historical memory of more than 50 years of popular struggle in defense of the Cuban Revolution.

The authors, María Auxiliadora César, a retired professor from the University of Brasília, together with activists Telma Araujo and Maria José Silva, both members of the José Martí Cultural Association of the State of Minas Gerais, embarked on a search for testimonials and historic information, the result of which is the book Solidariedade Brasileira a Cuba - uma história de luta e paixão pela nossa América (Brazilian Solidarity with Cuba. A History of Struggle and Passion for Our America).

The proposal for such a text emerged from an agreement during the 16th National Convention of Solidarity with Cuba, held in Rio de Janeiro in 2008. In the following years, the authors compiled anecdotes, interviewed different personalities, and collected statistical data.

By May 2012, a preliminary text and video were presented at the 20th solidarity convention in the Brazilian city of Salvador. This initiative was repeated later in the city of Foz do Iguaçu in 2013, in order to allow as many Brazilian solidarity groups as possible to contribute to the book with their views and new information.

Given the authors’ intention of including all the activities organized by the Brazilian movement, to reflect more than five decades of solidarity with Cuba, the research process extended over several years.

The book is divided into sections according to years, and aims to be both informative and educational, presented in an enjoyable style. It includes a series of photos and documents from various key moments, to record the rich historical process of building what is today a huge solidarity movement.

In June 2017, the book was presented and distributed to participants of the 23rd National Convention, held in Belo Horizonte. There it was noted that the volume represents a valuable source of information, inviting and motivating new members of the movement to follow this path of solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and the construction of more just and supportive societies in Our America.

The Brazilian solidarity movement emerged to support the Cuban Revolution in the face of the attacks of U.S. imperialism in the 1960s, but its work was hindered following the military coup of 1964, installing a dictatorship which persecuted and repressed all kinds of social struggle.

Even in that difficult period, the Brazilian people continued to admire the Cuban Revolution and sought ways to promote trips to Cuba, with great risks to the lives of those who visited the island. They also distributed materials in defense of Cuban sovereignty. In some parts of the country, groups held cultural and political activities clandestinely.

Following the end of the military government in the mid-1980s, the solidarity movement took on renewed strength through the 90s, when Cuba suffered from a serious economic crisis, due to the intensification of the U.S. economic blockade and the collapse of the Soviet Union and disintegration of the Eastern Bloc.

During the 2000s, the struggle intensified for the release of the Five Cuban anti-terrorist heroes unjustly imprisoned in the United States, and for the return of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base.

At present, this movement continues to denounce the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade of the island, as well as campaigns that aim to discredit the Revolution, and helps increasing numbers of Brazilians visit Cuba and experience its reality for themselves.

Concluding the presentation, María Auxiliadora César thanked all those who collaborated on the book and called to continue the struggle for a better world.