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Granma International, English Edition

2013: July 1 - July 19
- Brigade JosÚ Marti

Arnold van Wezel on television:

[January 17th, 2007]

International Workbrigade Jose Marti

The international workbrigade "Brigade Jose Marti" is being organised by the European friendshipscommunity of Cuba in association with the I.C.A.P. (Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos)

The Cuban revolution is one of the rare revolutions that really practices and publicizes Internationalism. The international workbrigades are an expression of that. Troughout the year consecutively the following brigades visit Cuba: "Jose Marti" from the European countries, "Venceremos" from the US, "Brigade Nordica" from the Scandinavian countries and "Antonio Maceo", mostly existing out of children of Cubans who left Cuba.

The Dutch brigade "Jose Marti" is being organized every year. It takes three weeks and takes place in September. The brigade takes two weeks of work and one week vacation in one of the provinces of Cuba.

The Work

Most of the work is being done in the agriculture. Mostly the work includes harvesting products like oranges, pruning trees and sowing plants. The work is done in association with a number of Cubans within the brigade. Mostly these are about fifty Cubans who get a month off from work or study to guide approximately 250 Europeans. These are Cuban students or teachers, who take these opportunities to test their language-skills in practice. It's also a benefit fot the brigadists who don't speak Spanish. The guides speak English, German or French.


On wednesdays and weekends the brigadists in small groups visit several institutions, schools, fabrics, co÷perations, hospitals, cultural organizations, labour-unions, youth- and womencommunities and more. Because of these visits the brigadists get a complete picture about how Cuban socialism works in real life. During the brigades there's also room for having discussions about several issues. Often the complete brigade has a round table conference about a certain subject.


The first two weeks the complete brigade stays in the camp 'Julio Antonio Mella' (one of the founders of the first communist party of Cuba), at a distance of 25 miles from Havana in Caimito. The camp-area is 1,25 square miles. There are barracks to sleep in, a dining-room, a conference-room and it's possible to get simultaneous translations. Also there's an open-air cinema, a sporting-field, a postoffice, a shop and a bar, a laundry, an ice-bar and a big dancingfloor with a podium.

The last week the whole brigade leaves to one of the provinces of Cuba. This is another province each year. Usual the brigade habitats a school or institute. This last week is more like a holiday, with lots of possibilities to relax. On saturday the work is being evaluated an production-figures are being notified. On these gatherings one can ask all questiones about the work and about the complete three weeks as well.

Cultural events

On saturday evening cultural events are being organized. This can be perfmorming cuban groups of ballet, drama, music or other activities. During the visits to Havana there's a lot of room to visit cultural activities as well.

The preperations

An important part of the workbrigade is the preparation. The group gathers before travelling to Cuba about three or four times. The purpose of these gatherings is to get to know eachother, because the brigades have to work intensevily together to learn about Cuba and it's revolution. The trip to Cuba costs a lot of money and most people will not make such a journey very often. Therefore a good preperation is a necessity. In the preperations a lot of attention is being given to several aspects of the Cuban community by reading books, watching films and pictures and dialogues with people who know Cuba well and visited Cuba more than once. A good preperation makes you understand Cuba more.

From Holland a maximum of 15 people can participate. There's no age-restriction, but one has to be in good physical shape to perfrom hard labour. Participants have to have a positive attitude to Cuba and it's revolution.


Each year the sum varies because of the dollar-rates and the difference in prices of the flying companies. It's wise to account for € 1000,-


More information about the brigade:

Arnold van Wezel
Chairman Cuba Vive Foundation
Madoerastraat 55
3131 ZG Vlaardingen
The Netherlands
Tel.: 0031-104358231
email :


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