American Youth in the Venceremos Brigade
In the late 1960s members of the Students for a Democratic Society founded the Venceremos Brigade with assistance from Cuban officials. The SDS formed the Brigade to show solidarity between the American left and the Cuban Revolution. Its main purpose was to challenge the United States government’s policies towards Cuba, especially the embargo emplaced after the 1953 revolution. This played out at a time when the Soviet Union was competing with China for who would be the locus of authority for the Communistic world. (1) The loss of the Soviet Union’s prestige as the world’s “vanguard of international socialism, decolonization, and the struggle for the emancipation of nations under Western imperialism” was due to the rise of the People’s Republic of China. (2) However, with the success of the Cuban Revolution came a new challenger to the title. It was due to Cuba’s success in stopping United States intervention that drew many Socialists to their cause. Many of these socialists came from the United States. It is by looking at diaries and interviews from the earliest American activists transported to Cuba that we will judge how effective they were as revolutionary instruments in Cuba. We will also look at how their pride, prejudice, and ignorance affected their group dynamics.
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