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Intellectuals and artists for peace, an unwavering commitment

PalomaSeventy years after the National Congress for Peace and Democracy was founded, Cuban artists, intellectuals, academics, and activists meeting in Havana recalled the need for permanent mobilization against increasing imperialist aggression, accentuated by the current U.S. administration, and the clear incompatibility of such actions with human progress.

On August 6, 1949, just four years after the nuclear genocide in Hiroshima, prominent figures in Cuban culture, including Fernando Ortiz and Juan Marinello from Havana, and Nicolás Guillén, then traveling through Europe, took the lead in developing civic consciousness in favor of world peace and social justice. Now, two decades into the 21st century, the imperative is to unite all possible forces to curb the arms race, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the deterioration of social conditions, and environmental degradation on a planetary scale.

Upholding these causes, a colloquium to commemorate the birth of the Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples took place in the headquarters of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists, under the auspices of these two organizations and the Nicolás Guillén Foundation.Miguel Barnet, honorary UNEAC president; Nicolás Hernández Guillén, president of the Foundation, essayist Caridad Massón, and Alina Fernández Arias, from the Movement’s executive, addressed various historical aspects of the evolution of struggles for world peace and their particular reflection in Cuba, the commitment of artists and intellectuals, and the relevance of providing messages with a deeply humanistic content, along with the defense of popular struggles for national liberation and against neoliberal attacks on the continent.

Participants thanked the contributions to the colloquium of friends from the Valencian community. Javier Parra, graphic artist and general secretary of the country’s Communist Party, donated to the Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples a series of images he created of Cuban revolutionary heroes, and recalled his countryman Josep Renau (1907-1982), a prominent artist, anti-fascist fighter committed to responsible and tenacious pacifism.

Some lines by Guillén, written in 1978, reflect the spirit of the event: The flowers burn, the laughter flies / the chorus spreads its expanding voice / from beach to beach, from sky to sky / from sea to sea … / Death hides its frightful face / no bomb flash, no salty tears / only songs of life and struggle / only songs of love and peace.


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