Elián Gonzalez Calls for Unity at the World Youth Festival

By Luis Mario Rodríguez Suñol on October 20, 2017

Photo: Roberto Suarez

Yesterday was the last day of the remarkable World Youth Festival being held in Sochi Russia.  More than 20,000 young people from 150 countries are attended the event. The theme of the festival was’ “For Peace, Solidarity, and Social Justice We will Struggle against Imperialism. Honoring our Past We Build the Future!”  The Cuban delegation was 200 strong and it included Elian Gonzalez – Resumen editorial

What can happen to the mind of a five-year-old boy who floats alone in the middle of the sea after losing his mother in a shipwreck? They say that he prayed to the Guardian Angel and that some dolphins dragged his raft towards the shore, the opposite way from his father and his true family in Cuba.

Little Elián González became a victim of the blockade against Cuba. And at the same time, the key figure in the battle of a whole country for his return. The shipwrecked child has now become a 24-year-old revolutionary. He shared his story on Wednesday at the Anti-imperialist Tribunal, one of the core areas of the XIX World Festival of Youth and Students.

His history and the images of his return, in June of 2000, shook those present. Their voices united against imperialism. When he remembered his experiences, Elián could not contain his tears. Neither did the audience who heard his heartbreaking testimony in person.

Elián recalled how, as a victim of the Cuban Adjustment Act, he and his mother left Cuba illegally for the United States and the ship sank in the middle of the voyage. He maintained that the pain of losing his mother and being away from his father and his land, added to the violation of his rights and identity while he was on American soil.

“They violated everything that is my country, my feelings and everything that was my culture,” Elian said, continuing he declared that these abuses happened with the approval of the United States government. He added: “Our crime is we have re-claimed our sovereignty in January of 1959. Our crime has been our choosing a path towards socialism! ”

González pointed out other aspects in condemning imperialism, such as the 60 years of blockade against Cuba, the main obstacle for the country’s development. He traced the history of Cuba, stating in facts what should have been prosecuted and condemned, such as the mercenary invasion of Playa Girón, orchestrated by the Central Intelligence Agency, the illegal presence on Cuban territory of the Naval Base at Guantanamo and the crime of Barbados when 73 people were blown up in a terrorist attack on a Cuban Airliner.

He concluded his talk by saying that he would prefer to disappear before he would fall on his knees before the empire because of all the human and economic damage it has inflicted on the heroic Cuban people.

In the tribunal, other voices of the world spoke out about the struggles of their countries like the young Saharaui Omar Hanesa, who maintained that in 1975 his country was under the dominion and occupation of Morocco, after two years of Spanish colonization. He demanded justice for the crimes committed and demanded the release of political prisoners, sentenced to more than 20 years for organizing peaceful marches to defend the cause of his people.

Korean President Ri Cho Liu also spoke. He listed the damage caused by the US government’s economic blockade of Democratic Korea (DPRK) for more than 60 years in order to subdue his country.

The Tribunal became a space of unity to fight against imperialism by denouncing its crimes and proving that the young people of the world are willing to realize the axiom that a better world is possible.


Source: CUBADEBATE – translation Walter Lippmann