top of page
  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Hundreds of Cuban students and youth rally in Havana in solidarity with US students and Palestine

All images via the PCC

By Katherin Hormigó Rubio, translated from the Spanish

The iconic staircase of the University of Havana, which has witnessed countless student demonstrations over the years, was again the scene of a large rally on Friday (April 3). Hundreds of students and young people gathered to firmly and forcefully declare the position of Cuban students in the face of the genocide committed by Israel against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

Samar Al-Khul is a young woman from the Gaza Strip who is studying medicine. She, like other young Palestinians studying in Cuba, has suffered the horrors of war. "I have lost more than 200 members of my family," she told us minutes before the start of the rally on the steps of the University of Havana to oppose the genocide -- which is taking place today in the world's largest open-air prison -- and in support of American university students who suffer repression at the hands of the police in their country.

Since the strikes began at Columbia University, the protests have escalated in a short time and by April 30 there were actions at no less than 89 higher education establishments in at least 31 states in the United States, including the federal capital, making it the largest student revolt in the last 50 years. They also spread to Europe and Australia, totaling more than 100 campuses.

Regarding what happened in the American universities and Israel's military aggression, Ricardo Rodríguez, national president of the Federación Estudiantil Universitaria (FEU), pointed out that "in this space, the youth came together to firmly denounce the genocide that the Zionist State of Israel perpetrates against the peoples of Gaza. We also denounce the hypocritical and criminal attitude of the U.S. government in the face of this genocide."

"We count on the tremendous solidarity of Cuban university students with the students of the United States -- who are much more ashamed than the Biden administration -- to call for and demand the cessation of the genocide against the families of the Palestinian people," Rodriguez said.

In his speech, he said that Cuba knows well about solidarity and that the steps of the University of Havana (UH) know well about solidarity and student struggle. "On this staircase, the blood of our martyrs, of our heroes in the student movement, was not shed in vain. I am sure that in the United States and in the rest of the oppressed peoples, a Mella will also be born, a Fidel will be born to bring that freedom that they need so much. To my Palestinian brothers and sisters who are sitting today in our FEU Brigade, I say with complete certainty that you can condemn us if you want. History will absolve the cause of the Palestinian people!"

Amid cheers of ¡Viva Palestina Libre!, more than a hundred young people expressed their feelings, such as Jose Alberto Almeida, President of the FEU at the UH who explained why they met there.

"In the first place because the people want it that way and that in socialist Cuba is enough and in the second place because we can't stand one more minute of genocide."

Jose Alberto made it clear that in the Gaza Strip, since October 7, there have already been 41,500 dead and missing. "Sometimes we don't understand the figures in depth, we are talking about the population of the municipality of Regla in Havana. There are already 15,000 dead children, that is the same as missing a child in every classroom in Havana with at least twenty students, but in addition to that there are already 75,000 tons of bombs dropped, equivalent to 6 times the volume of the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima."

Hamlet Álvarez, a Cuban university student, told us that once again this is a demonstration of the double standards of American politics. "The U.S. Government proclaims democracy and freedom of expression to the rest of the world when they are violated in its own towns, and also in the universities themselves where the students who are the vanguard of all the movements are."

In his interview, the young Cuban acknowledged that the university students of the US have been very heroic in their resistance, "from here we send them a message of solidarity, because their cause is noble, it is very just and we defend it as well. Today we are here for Palestine, but also for all those American university students who are being subjugated by a government that has more dictatorial features than any that exists in the rest of the world," he said.

The rector of the University of Havana, Miriam Nicado, expressed her solidarity with the people of Palestine, especially with the students who are studying in Cuba today. "Palestinian students, Cuban students, American students, count on this university leadership, we will always support you in your struggles against genocide, against war, against murderers, no more dead children in Palestine, no more dead mothers in Palestine, no more war, Long Live Free Palestine," she said.

The Israeli government's growing aggression against the Gaza Strip has led university students in several countries into protests, and what happened in the US is just the beginning of an era where young people have shown that they are not indifferent to suffering.

In Cuba, solidarity has been a fundamental pillar in the formation of our youth. Cuban universities have always been a guide and beacon in every struggle, which is why our students stand in solidarity with the cause of the Palestinian people, because they have felt their pain and have made it their own.

Free Palestine! Long live Free Palestine! These are not just slogans, they have become the purest representation of what the Palestinian people need and demand today.

This work and the photos were translated and shared via a License CC-BY-NC


bottom of page