National Education Union (NEU) delegation to Cuba 2023
Over the October half term Mr Buchanan, Cheney NEU workplace representative, and Head of Economics and Business, visited Havana and Pinar Del Río as part of the NEU’s annual delegation to Cuba. During the visit the group met with representatives of SNTECD (National Union of Education, Science and Sport Workers, which is the Cuban teachers’ trade union), FMC (Federation of Cuban Women), ICAP (Institute of Friendship with the Peoples), FEU (University Student Federation), and a local CDR (Committee for the Defence of the Revolution). The group also visited La Habana Vieja (Old Havana), Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Cuba (National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana), and Museo Nacional de la Campaña de Alfabetización (National Museum of the Literacy Campaign), the 1961 campaign which led to a near 100% literacy rate in the country.
Additionally, the delegation met teachers and students when visiting seven schools, including two specialist schools for blind and visually impaired students, and were treated to performances of music and dance by Cuban students at Escuela Elemental de Música Manuel Saumell (Manuel Saumell Elementary School of Music), Escuela Especial Abel Santamaría Cuadrado, Escuela Especial José Martí, and Escuela Profesional de Arte Pedro Raúl Sánchez (Pedro Raúl Sánchez Professional Art School).
The personal highlight for me was visiting a party hosted in Pinar Del Río by a local Committee for the Defence of the Revolution (CDR). As they posted on social media “Anoche rompimos la Barrera del sonido” (Last night we broke the sound barrier), and “suscitaron enérgico pronunciamiento contra el bloqueo, contra la guerra en Palestina y muchos gestos de solidaridad. Fructífero encuentro” (provoked energetic statement against the blockade, against the war in Palestine and many gestures of solidarity. Fruitful encounter)
In the spirit of solidarity Cheney parent Ms Ions kindly donated a music stand, a number of recorders, and school supplies. These were gifted to the various schools that we visited.
You can watch a Cuban television news report on the delegation’s visit to Escuela Especial José Martí, and Escuela Profesional de Arte Pedro Raúl Sánchez here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqfblmELZ24