Media and Press

50th Anniversary Contingent

SINCE 1969, THE VENCEREMOS BRIGADE SUPPORTS CUBA’S RIGHT TO SOVEREIGNTY AND SELF-DETERMINATION:

We demand:

  • END THE US BLOCKADE OF CUBA & ALL RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL!
  • CLOSE THE US NAVAL BASE AT GUANTÁNAMO BAY AND FREE THE LAND!

Stand in solidarity with Cuba. See the real Cuba for yourself.

Join the historic 50th Anniversary Contingent, July-August 2019!

SAVE THE DATE:  JOIN THE 47TH VENCEREMOS BRIGADE  FOR OUR ANNUAL REPORT BACK

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WHEN?

Friday December 9th @ 7pm

WHERE?  

The Graduate Center, CUNY

365 Fifth Avenue (btw. 34th & 35th Streets)

New York, NY 10016 USA

Room 5414

 

WHAT IS THE VENCEREMOS BRIGADE (VB)?

  •  The Venceremos Brigade (VB) is the oldest Cuba solidarity organization in the world and has traveled to Cuba from the United States for the past 47 summers.  You can join us next summer!!!
  • The VB works to challenge U.S. policies towards Cuba, including the economic blockade and our government’s ban on travel to the island.
  • We show our solidarity when we are in Cuba through talking with and learning from the Cuban people and engaging in volunteer work.

 

WHAT IS THE ANNUAL REPORT BACK?

Members of the 47th VB will share their insights learned from their experience in Cuba this past summer. There will also be:

  •   FOOD!!!
  •   Presentations and short films regarding current US/Cuba relations 
  •   Slide show of pictures of the VB
  •   Raffles and fundraisers to raise money for scholarships for future VB members

 

WHY ATTEND THE VB’S REPORT BACK?

  • To learn how you can travel to Cuba with the VB, a group committed to social justice and learning from the Cuban way of life
  • To gain a better understanding of current US/Cuban relations
  • Help us raise money for scholarships for future VB members
  • If you went on past VB’s and want to spend time with your extended VB family
  • Yummy food!

 

WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU?

  • THE EVENT IS FREE, but we suggest bringing cash for the bar and raffle tickets
  • A form of identification in order to get into the building
  • $10 suggested donation (no one turned away)

 

WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR JOINING  THE VB FAMILY!

VB statement: Hasta Siempre Comandante

It is with great sadness that we send this message of condolence and solidarity to our friends and comrades in Cuba and wherever else they may be found. The death of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, is a loss that is felt deeply by all of those engaged in the fight to create a better world.

Fidel was a revolutionary of the highest order: visionary, heroic, honest, disciplined, and critical; his life truly spent in commitment and service to the liberation, peace, and dignity of all people. There are no words that can capture the immense contributions made over his lifetime to human history and to the future of humanity, or that can express the love for him felt by the millions whose lives improved under his leadership and the many millions more inspired to struggle by his example.

Indeed, the examples set by Fidel, of unity and internationalism, of sacrifice and solidarity, have shaped and guided the work and the workers of the Venceremos Brigade for 47 years, and his memory will continue to motivate our efforts to defend Cuba’s sovereign right to self-determination against any enemy for years to come.

We join the Cuban people and people of conscience all over the world in mourning this great loss, and we commit to continue fighting alongside you. History will absolve us as it has Fidel.

Comandante Fidel, Presente!

Venceremos Brigade

47th Contingent of the Venceremos Brigade

Today, for the 47th time since 1969, the Venceremos Brigade leaves the United States for Cuba. This group of US citizens, embarking on their 14th Travel Challenge, is taking a public stand against the policies of blockade and restricted travel that the US government has maintained against Cuba and against its own people since 1962.

The 47th Contingent of the Venceremos Brigade will return to the US via Canada on August 8 and be met by members of the 27th Friendshipment Caravan of Pastors for Peace, an interfaith group that will have also traveled to Cuba in defiance of the travel restrictions and returned to the U.S. via Mexico.

At their joint rally in Buffalo on August 8, members and supporters of the Venceremos Brigade and Pastors for Peace will reaffirm their commitment to defending Cuba’s national sovereignty and right to self-determination through continued civil disobedience until the blockade and travel ban are lifted, the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay is closed and the illegally occupied land is returned to Cuba, and the US government ceases funding for regime change programs in Cuba.

The VB has won great victories in recent years. While the liberation of the Cuban 5 and the policy changes and bilateral negotiations that are already underway do indeed make this a time for celebration, it is critical today more than ever that all those in favor of real normalization of relations between the US and Cuba unite and are persistent in advocating for an end to the aggressive policies that curtail our rights and seek to restrain Cuba’s ability to develop independently. As the energy around movement building in the US surges for racial, economic, and social justice, we must look to Cuba as a role model. Cuba has shown us that another world is possible. In the words of the late Reverend Lucius Walker, founder of IFCO/Pastors for Peace: “We act not just in defiance of our government, but in obedience to our conscience.”

 

45 U.S. CITIZENS TRAVEL TO CUBA IN PUBLIC DEFIANCE OF TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

VB 46 Press Release Photo

On Sunday, July 19, 2015, 29 U.S. citizens, followed by 16 additional on Friday, July 24, 2015, will defy the United States [U.S.] government’s travel restrictions by going to Cuba with the 46th contingent of the Venceremos Brigade. Members of the Brigade will participate in what they call a Travel Challenge, protesting U.S. government policy toward Cuba by traveling to the sanctioned island without a license and publicly confronting U.S. Customs officials on their way back into the U.S. Among this year’s contingent will be members from the Black Lives Matter movement.

Since 1962, the U.S. government has restricted travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens and residents as part of its blockade of the island, only allowing travel for those licensed by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control [OFAC]. Despite these restrictions and facing threats from OFAC, as well as FBI intimidation, the Brigade proudly travels to Cuba without government permission, sure in its stance that travel is a constitutional right, as recognized by Supreme Court Justice William Douglas in 1965 with his statement, “The right to know, to converse with others, to consult with them, to observe social, physical, political and other phenomena abroad, as well as at home, gives meaning and substance to freedom of expression and freedom of the press.”

Brigade members, known as brigadistas, will deliver over 1,000 pounds of material aid to the island, volunteer on civic projects and participate in celebrations for the 62nd anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Barracks. Brigadistas will also interact with experts and citizens from various sectors of Cuban society to be informed about Cuba’s healthcare, educational and political systems, as well as visit important cultural and historical sites to learn about Cuban history.

Returning to the U.S. on Sunday, August 2, 2015, the Venceremos Brigade will march across the International Peace Bridge from Canada into Buffalo, New York, holding rallies and/or press conferences on each side of the border. Although the recent negotiations towards normalizing relations between the two countries were announced by both President Raul Castro and President Barack Obama on December 17, 2014, the travel ban and U.S. blockade against Cuba are still in place and the Brigade asserts the importance of engaging in civil disobedience through public Travel Challenges as one of the most effective means of mounting pressure on the U.S. government to change these policies. The Brigade will continue to do so until both the travel ban and blockade have been eradicated, Guantanamo military base is returned to Cuba, funding ceases to USAID and other organizations attempting to create political chaos and unrest in the country and the U.S. respects Cuba’s right to national sovereignty and self-determination.

The Pastors for Peace Caravan, and interfaith group traveling to Cuba and returning to the U.S. via Mexico, will also be engaging in civil disobedience along with the Venceremos Brigade. There will be also be a contingent traveling to Canada to meet the Brigade to march across the International Peace Bridge and engage in the Travel Challenge, but whom will not have traveled to Cuba.

BRIGADISTAS ARE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS BEFORE THEIR DEPARTURES ON JULY 19 or 24, 2015 AND AFTER THEIR RETURN ON AUGUST 2, 2015.

The Venceremos Brigade is a U.S.-based anti-imperialist educational work project that has traveled to Cuba annually since 1969 and has provided over 9,000 U.S citizens the opportunity to see Cuba for themselves. The Brigade asserts that the travel ban is unconstitutional and that the blockade is inhumane, immoral and contrary to the principle of national sovereignty and stands in solidarity with the Cuban People and their right to self-determination. It remains firmly against the U.S. government’s failed policies toward Cuba, calling for the immediate lifting of the travel ban and blockade.

 

 

Statement on the Release of the Cuban 5 and Changes in U.S. Policy Towards Cuba

December 22, 2014

 

December 17, 2014 will be remembered as a joyful day in the history of Cuba–U.S. relations.

The Cuban 5, their families, and Raúl Castro. Photo: www.cubaminrex.cu

On this day, our three brothers, Gerardo, Antonio, and Ramón, were released from US prisons after more than 16 years of unjust incarceration. They were reunited in their homeland with their families, with their comrades, René and Fernando, and with the people of Cuba, who have been engaged in an unwavering struggle for their freedom since 1998.

On this day, too, President Obama announced some of the most significant changes in US policy toward Cuba since diplomatic ties were broken in 1961, two years after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. These changes are to include the restoration of diplomatic relations between our two countries, further loosening of the ban on travel to Cuba from the US, easing of trade and financial restrictions, and increased cooperation in the fields of health care, disaster response, and telecommunications, among others.

Celebrating the return of the Five at the Concert of Silvio Rodriguez in the Estadio Latinoamericano, Habana, Cuba. Photo by Hector Planes.

The release of the remaining members of the Cuban 5 is a testament to the heroic strength of each one of these men and to the collective resistance of the Cuban people and their government. It affirms what we have maintained since our brothers were arrested: that theirs was a political case determined by political factors; that they were political prisoners; and that a solution would only be motivated by political calculations. Indeed, this is, above all, apolitical victory, won through years of tireless struggle in all corners of the globe—a victory made possible by solidarity.

Likewise, the move toward normalization of relations between the US and Cuba represents a momentous political victory for the Cuban people, their revolution, and their allies. Over more than 50 years, Cuba has built and successfully defended its revolution against relentless aggression from the US government. Facing the most powerful enemy on the planet, the people of Cuba have waged a battle of ideas and demonstrated through unity, discipline, and sacrifice that even a poor country burdened by an inhumane blockade can feed, clothe, and house all its people, provide them with an adequate and equitable education, and share their resources with those in need around the world. The policy changes announced by Obama, though not framed this way in the US media, must be seen as an admission of Cuba’s success and proof that another world is not only possible, but exists.

On December 17, alongside our Cuban friends, vencimos—we overcame. But our work is not done. While we applaud President Obama’s decision, we know there is still much to overcome. The travel ban and blockade are still in place. Obama may do all that he can to relax travel and trade restrictions, but Congress must be made to act in order to fully normalize US-Cuba relations. This is a time for celebration, but also a time for analysis, vigilance, and action. We must not be complacent in our success; rather, we must use the energy from this victory to redouble our efforts toward the complete lifting of the criminal blockade and unconstitutional travel restrictions. As members in the vanguard of the international movement in solidarity with Cuba, it is our duty to keep the pressure on—to continue, as we have for 45 years, to defend Cuba’s national sovereignty and right to self-determination, and to trust that the Cuban people will do the rest.

Today, this mission is as important as ever. As masses of people are rising up against racist state terror and proclaiming that Black Lives Matter, it is imperative that we lift up Cuba as an alternative model of social development based on the principles of equality and solidarity. We must draw the connections between the struggle to affirm the value of black life and the struggle to defend a revolutionary society from attack by the same forces responsible for the deaths of Mike Brown, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Eric Garner, Tarika Wilson, and many, many more. We must understand and learn from Cuba’s great victory not only in terms of its overcoming US imperialism, but also — and especially in this moment — in terms of its historic commitment to racial justice and international unity. We must remember Cuba’s decisive contributions to the movements for African liberation, Cuba’s leading role in battling Ebola in West Africa, and Cuba’s principled decision to grant political asylum to Assata Shakur. Now more than ever, when we assert Cuba’s sovereignty and right to national self-determination, we defend this past, present, and future.

We urge you to join the Venceremos Brigade in this historic moment by:

  • Calling (202-456-1111) or emailing President Obama to thank him and let him know you support full normalization of relations with Cuba.
  • Calling or emailing your Senators and Congressional Representatives to let them know you support the repeal of the Helms-Burton and Torricelli Acts and an end to the blockade and travel restrictions in their entirety.
  • Donating by check to the VB Education Fund, Ansonia Station, P.O. Box 230527, New York, New York 10023
  • Joining the 46th Contingent of the VB to celebrate the release of the Cuban 5, to raise your voice against the continued attack on Cuba’s sovereignty, and to see the Cuban reality with your own eyes. Email vbrigade@gmail.com for more info.

Venceremos!