BY NICK RAWSON
The 21st Australia-New Zealand Work/Study Brigade will travel to Cuba in December. Organised annually by the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society, the brigade provides an opportunity for people to express solidarity with Cuba's struggle for an independent and socialist society. It is an opportunity to see the country from the Cuban people's point of view.
Cuba is unique in the Third World for its social achievements. Cuba's free and universal health care and education systems are widely studied. Cuba has eliminated homelessness and unemployment is amongst the lowest in the world. Great strides have been made in eliminating racial and sexual inequality. These and many other achievements have been made despite almost 45 years of economic embargo imposed by the US government.
There will be tours of farms, factories, clinics, schools, research centres and other sites. Visitors take part in seminars on politics, history, culture and the economy. The group will also participate in voluntary work, usually picking fruit with Cubans and other foreign brigades. This is a symbolic contribution to Cuba's economy, and distinguishes brigade members from mere tourists.
Cuba is a country with outstanding natural and architectural beauty, so there is also plenty of sightseeing. Of course, no tour to Cuba would be complete without experiencing the fabulous music and dancing.
More than 800 Australians and New Zealanders have been to Cuba with the brigades since 1982. The brigade leaves Australia on December 27 and returns on January 23. It costs $4800 (all inclusive). Seats on the plane are limited so be quick. For more details, phone contact Nick Rawson on 0414 691 732 or Flora Osorio on (03) 9470 5300.
From Green Left Weekly, October 22, 2003.
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