Cuba to Say Goodbye to International Year of the Youth

Next week, young people across the nation will be saying good bye to the International Year of Youth declared on August 12, 2010, with a lot of activities

María Elena Álvarez
August 4, 2011

Next week, young people across the nation will be saying goodbye to the International Year of the Youth declared on August 12, 2010.

Leira Sánchez Valdivia, member of the National Bureau of the Cuban Communist League, said that the Cuban youth is privileged to have the opportunity of enjoying festivities nationwide while millions of young people around the world struggle for their fundamental rights.

In the framework of a world in crisis, where misery, violence and exclusion affect the younger generations, the Cuban youth will celebrate with infinite joy and pride all the justice conquered by the Cuban Revolution, and the end of a year where they have worked hard in the construction of a better society, she added.

Sánchez Valdivia noted that these 12 months have been characterized by intense work and youth participation. Among the highlights over the last 12 months were the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the socialist character of the Revolution and the Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs) victory, the Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC), and the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students in South Africa.

International Youth Day was created by the United Nations and first celebrated in 1998. The event is now marked on 12 August each year, the day aims to celebrate the contribution youths make to society. The day after, the Cuban people will also be celebrating the 85th birthday of the eternal youth leader, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro, as well as the 55th birthday of Rene Gonzalez, one of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly imprisoned in US jails for close to 13 years now.

In a trial plagued with irregularities and held in a highly biased Miami court, the Cuban Five —Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, Antonio Guerrero and René González— were given harsh sentences ranging from 15 years to consecutive life terms plus 15 years. The five Cubans were working to uncover information about terrorist activities being planned and carried out against Cuba by ultra-rightwing organizations based in southern Florida with a long record of terrorist actions against Cuba and the Cuban people. When they turned their information over to authorities they were arrested and have been in jail ever since.

A United Nations Working Group reviewing the case determined that the trial did not take place in a climate of objectivity and impartiality, which is required in order to conclude on the observance of the standards of a fair trial. The UN report also charges that the Cuban Five were wrongfully held for seventeen months in solitary confinement after their arrest, and that their lawyers were deprived of the opportunity to examine all of the available evidence before the government invoked the Classified Information Protection Act.

The celebrations will be diverse and will take place in parks, squares, cultural centers, sporting courts, recreational centers, pioneer children facilities, popular councils, as well as in the streets, as in the case of the municipality of Güines, in the recently created western province of Mayabeque, where they will carry out an Olympic race on August 13, in the morning.

The program includes recreational-sports festivals, performances of the best projects of the Jose Marti Art Instructors Brigade, camps, excursions, meetings with the combatants of the Cuban independence struggle, artistic galas and the climbing the Pico Galan in the municipality of Yateras, in the easternmost province of Guantanamno.

Additionally, on August 12, there will be a cantata at the Commander Ernesto Che Guevara Revolution Square of the central province of Villa Clara, where 85 troubadours will play. The next day, there will be a concert by singer song-writers Raul Torres and Eduardo Sosa beginning early in the morning.

The principal venue of the celebrations will be the Historic Center of Old Havana, which will be opened to the younger generations to walk and learn about Cuban past and present history while enjoying the wide variety of summer programs they have been prepared, along with the socio-cultural and community projects developed by the Havana Historian Office.


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