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      Commemorate the Life & Legacy of Che Guevara!
      Join The Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade to Cuba

      By Janine Solanki

      Revolutionary leader Che Guevara once said, “volunteer work is a school for building consciousness.” These words have inspired Cubans and people around the world, and in this spirit, the Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade is named for him.

      The Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade has traveled to Cuba 27 times annually, bringing brigadistas from Canada to Cuba. This unique trip is a project of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) in Canada and the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) in Cuba. The two-week program is an opportunity to experience the Cuban Revolution and its accomplishments. There is no better way to get to know the Cuban people than working alongside them, sharing meals, and leisure time - including going to the beach! The Che Brigade’s vibrant program also includes visiting cultural sites, health and educational institutions, historical sites, workshops, concerts, dance classes, and more!

      This year we are all living in the unprecedented situation of the Covid-19 pandemic. As international travel has come to a halt around the world, this has included travel to Cuba, where the focus has been on keeping people safe and effectively containing the outbreak in Cuba. Therefore our Cuban hosts at ICAP have announced that all international brigades will not be taking place in 2020. However, the 2021 Che Guevara Brigade to Cuba is on the not too distant horizon, and we are looking forward to a muchanticipated return to Cuba in Spring 2021!

      Commemorate the Life & Legacy of Che Guevara!

      June 14, 2020 marked what would have been the 92nd birthday of revolutionary leader Ernesto Che Guevara - an Argentinian doctor who became a leader of the Cuban revolution and was killed by the CIA in a revolutionary struggle in Bolivia in 1967. To commemorate the life and legacy of Che Guevara, the Che Brigade Organizing Committee and the Canadian Network on Cuba held an online webinar, bringing together over 150 people from around the world!

      The webinar MC was Janine Solanki, the National Coordinator of the Che Guevara Brigade, speaking from Vancouver, Canada. The webinar program included speakers from Cuba, starting with Giuvel Orozco Ortega, the Deputy Head of Mission and Counsellor at the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, and David Aldama Pando, the Third Secretary of the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa. Joining direct from Cuba was Yamil Martínez Marrero from the Canada desk of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples. Ike Nahem joined from the US, where he is a founder and organizer of the New York-New Jersey Cuba Si Coalition and a member of the National Network on Cuba. The program then discussed the Che Guevara Brigade, starting with Claudia Peralta. She is the coordinator of the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association – Calgary, a former Che Brigade Brigadista, a Che Brigade Committee member, and an organizer with the Calixto Garcia Brigade. The next speaker, Haily Fox, traveled to Cuba for the first time on the 2018 Che Guevara Brigade and shared how the experience influenced her to become a pre-medical student at York University in Toronto. The next speaker, Bronwyn Cragg, was a participant at the 2019 Anti-Imperialist Solidarity Conference in Cuba, is an executive member of the Canadian Network on Cuba, and a University of Toronto student. The final speaker was Che Brigade National Coordinator Janine Solanki, who shared her own experiences from the Che Brigade, complete with a photo slideshow.

      How Can I Join the Next Che Guevara Brigade to Cuba?

      The next Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade is scheduled for Spring 2021, details to be released soon! The Che Brigade is open to people of all ages and abilities, and although we are based in Canada, we welcome those wanting to join from other countries too! For more information, check out www.canadiannetworkoncuba.ca/brigade, and for any questions to receive updates on the date, price, and program, you can call or email the National Coordinator Janine Solanki at 778-881-6156 or chevolbrigade@gmail.com.

      Stay tuned to your social media accounts for news and updates on the Che Brigade too! You can follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ CheVolBrigade on Twitter @CheVolBrigade, or Instagram @cdnntwrkoncuba

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