Yenia Matos Henríquez
PRESIDENT Raúl Castro Ruz headed up the official cultural gala yesterday, August 23, for the 50th Anniversary of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), where the role of women in the creative work of the Revolution was recognized.
At the event, José Ramón Machado Ventura, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party and first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, emphasized women’s participation in the economic, social and political sectors as well as those of a scientific, cultural and sporting nature.
Machado Ventura recalled the discrimination that women suffered before the revolutionary triumph, and said that because of that situation, necessary changes were put in place to enable their total equality and integration, which constitutes a task of the whole society, of institutions and of organizations. The atmosphere of equality and respect created by the Revolution, allowed women to develop their potential as human beings and, in this way, to achieve their position of dignity in society, he emphasized.
In order to achieve this objective, a half century ago today, the Federation of Cuban Women was founded in which Vilma Espín Guillois, who faithfully and creatively developed Fidel’s ideas concerning social justice and gender equality, played a decisive leadership role, Machado Ventura affirmed.
The first vice president of the Council of State and of Ministers pointed out that more than 4,237,383 federation members currently belong to the FMC, the largest membership in its history.
He also highlighted the hard battle that took place in the 80s to enable a half million women to complete the sixth and ninth grade levels of education, the result of 330,000 housewives taking adult classes, and 140,000 studying in Worker-Campesino Faculties.
Women currently constitute 46.7% of the workforce in the civil state sector, while 65.1% are technical and professional staff: they are teachers, doctors, nurses, researchers, scientists, architects, engineers and technicians, he noted.
He also referred to the definition given by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, when he stated: “It is also the duty of the Federation to be alert to all questions that concern women, in which they are interested, and to defend those interests in the heart of the Party, in the heart of the state.”
He recalled that the principal mission of federation members is to defend the Revolution in all fields, even more so when our historic enemy is maintaining its tendency to promote political disconnection, frivolity and a lack of interest, particularly among youth and women.
He also acknowledged the FMC’s contribution to developing an internationalist spirit in Cuban woman, which has made it possible for them to bring health, education and hope to those in greatest need. One example of this is to be found in the medical brigades in countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, where they have undertaken an important groundbreaking psycho-social and clinical-genetic research study.
“The role played by the FMC has allowed the expression in many different forms of our support for just causes and, moreover, to reveal our realities, condemn campaigns against the Revolution and contribute to the growth of solidarity toward Cuba, her women and all of her people,” he affirmed.
At the beginning of the celebration, Yolanda Ferrer, general secretary of the FMC, read the pledge of federation members on the occasion of their 50th anniversary and stated: “We are aware of the insufficiencies and deficiencies which we need to eliminate, the directional change which we need to make at the grassroots level with innovative, efficient and attractive ways of working that would make the organization’s labors more effective everywhere, in line with the times in which we are living.”
Ferrer Gómez also referred to the revolutionary thought of Vilma Espín Guillois, whose example, daring, creative and consistent political strategy, constitute a guide for Cuban FMC members. “We will forever to be faithful to her legacy in order for it to live on eternally in the new generations who will continue her work,” she highlighted.
Likewise, she emphasized the commitment to Fidel and Raúl to make the FMC’s political and ideological work broader and deeper every day. “We know that the changes that we have to make are complex and difficult, but when we Cuban women embrace a cause and make it ours, nothing and nobody can make us turn back.”
At the event, attended by a representation of our most distinguished federation members, messages of greeting from Gerardo Hernández and Antonio Guerrero, on behalf of the five Cuban heroes were read out.
Yolanda Ferrer also presented Raúl with a picture containing the complete text of the pledge of commitment on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the FMC.
Similarly, at the beginning of the gala, the documentary “Sentirse Mujer,” (“Feeling Oneself a Woman”), by producer and journalist Eva Maura Díaz was screened, and in which the work of women and their social involvement were the central themes.
The evening ended with an excellent performance by the Camerata Romeu which, conducted by Zenaida Castro Romeu, delighted everyone with music by Cuban composers such as Ernesto Lecuona’s La comparsa; Almendra, by Abelardo Valdés; La bella cubana, by José White; and Camerata en Guaguancó, a piece by Guido López Gavilán.
Leading figures of the Communist Party, government and political and mass organizations also took part in the event, which was also attended by family members of our five compatriots incarcerated in U.S. jails.
Translated by Granma International