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November Sunday

Retrato de una época, a book about the exploits of Cuban youth in the 1960s and 70s



HAVANA, Cuba, Nov 18 (ACN) The book Retrato de una época (Portrait of an Era), by Luis Enrique Colomé Dagnesses, a graduate in social sciences, is a valuable contribution to the history of role that tens of thousands of young Cubans played in the 1960s and 70s.

Published by the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT), the books is a collection of anecdotes, stories and experiences of the process leading up to the creation of the Young Communist League (UJC) after the triumph of the Revolution, and the internationalist aid to the people of Angola.

Luis Manuel Miyares Gómez, now retired and a member of the UJN National Board, pointed out that Retrato… is poetry sprouted from the heart of the author, undisputed protagonist—along with other comrades—of the feats described in the text.

“It’s an accurate title, since during the 60s and 70s tens of thousands of young people kept constantly joining the efforts to strengthen the Revolution, first as members of the Association of Young Rebels (AJR) and then in the UJC,” he said.

“As children,” he remarked to the audience, “since we could not take part in the fight against the dictator Fulgencio Batista, we felt the need to help the country and be part of the epic campaign of the bearded soldiers led by Fidel Castro.”

Colomé organized the stories in three parts. The first one, La construcción de la UJC en las sierras de Oriente (The creation of the UJC in the eastern mountains), is about the first members and leaders, many of them very young poor peasants; the second part—Los guerreros de Carlota (Carlota's Warriors)—covers testimonies of the mission assigned to a group of UJC leaders in the northern front of the Angola war in 1976; and the third one, called El yipi y la metralleta, nostalgias vivas de tiempos juveniles (The jeep and the machine gun, living nostalgia of youthful times), he compiles facts about many historical events that involved plenty of young people then and, in most instances, the author himself.

The former leader of the UJC said that today's youth will learn from these texts that the greatest aspiration of those of that time was to march to fight in other lands, following Che Guevara, or to be sent to the Armed Forces, especially to the then called "strategic weapons", or to any place where they could wear a uniform and a gun.

Colomé Dagnesses stressed the importance of knowing Cuban history as an instrument and a vehicle of the Revolution and made an appeal to put in writing the history of the Movimiento Juvenil Martiano and go deeper into some of its key stages. He also advocated the study the October Crisis and young people’s role in the fight against bandits, in the ascent of the Turquino Peak and the history of the Columna Juvenil del Centetario, among other milestones.

Born in Santiago de Cuba in 1943, the author was a leader of the AJR and the UJC for 16 years. Then he worked as a Party official and, later, at the Department of General Affairs of the Central Committee until 1990.
He has also worked in the area of advertising and publicity of the Ministry of Tourism and in the Communications Division of the DGTVC.

He has earned many commendations, mainly the medals for the 50th anniversary of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), for the Victory Cuba-Angola in 1990, and a distinction as Internationalist Combatant (First Class) in 1982.

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