This past 16th of July 2012, the Cuban Youth Movement for Democracy celebrated its 21st anniversary of having been founded and carrying out pro-freedom activities and projects for the Cuban youth.
Eriberto Liranza Romero, president of the CYMD, said he felt very satisfied upon seeing numerous youths assisting the celebration in his home in Arroyo Naranjo, Havana, where various activists highlighted some successful projects carried out by this youth organization, among them “University Students Without Frontiers” and “The Cuban Youth Forum of Democracy and Economy“. Liranza explained that political police agents were keeping a tight vigilance over the location throughout the entire event but that no arrests were reported.
The CYMD was founded on July 16th 1991 by the former political prisoner Nestor Rodriguez Lobaina in the Eastern city of Baracoa. During a sports event in that same city, a group of youths (Lobaina among them) entered the stadium and started to hand out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That is how the group was formed. After being jailed on a number of occasions and for lengthy periods of time, as well as a hunger strike which nearly cost him his life, Rodriguez Lobaina was exiled to Spain towards the end of 2010. At that moment, the activists from the Youth Movement voted for Eriberto Liranza to represent them as president.
Since then, CYMD has continued to work in favor of freedom of expression, movement and thought. The members of this youth group frequently hand out pamphlets with pro-democracy messages, offer their homes to carry out meetings, debates or other events which interest young people- such as the Video Clubs, where films and documentaries which are censured in the island are shown.
From the United States, the now exiled former political prisoner and former National Coordinator for the CYMD, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, also celebrated the anniversary, recalling that “The CYMD was the first dissident youth organization which was born from inside the country, and no less than in the extreme Eastern region, and in a very organized fashion which was well structured from East to West of the island“.
Because of this structuring and spirit of Resistance, Herrera Acosta explains that “the regime never got over the fact that we lit a Torch of Rebellion in their so-called bastion. We were always non-conformist and we demanded freedom for the Cuban people out on the street, as well as freedom for students in the House of High Studies, which had been converted into centers of indoctrination. Such demands went beyond frontiers and the world got to know of our existence. It was an entire life dedicated to saving and rescuing the values which had been lost under the indoctrination and the false idealization of a backward system which is the antithesis of freedom, democracy and human values“.
Throughout the years, the members of the mentioned Movement have suffered countless arrests, beatings and other forms of state-sponsored repression. However, the regime “has not been able to kill CYMD… we were and continue being thorns for the system which rules our nation“, according to Herrera Acosta, who adds that the slogan of CYMD has always been “God, Country, and Freedom“.
The exiled activist also pointed out names of other dissidents who have been essential in the foundation of CYMD in Guantanamo: “Heriberto Leyva Rodríguez, Radamés García de la Vega, Rafael Fonseca Ochoa, Yamila Alonso Rodríguez, Yesenia Rodríguez Aguilar, Ileana Danger Hardy, Armando Rodiles Revilla, Ernesto Lucas Corral Cabrera, Yordis García Fournier, Yaquelín Delisle Caballeros, Jorge Abad Herrera, and many others“.
For both Herrera Acosta, from exile, to Eriberto Liranza, from Havana, the CYMD will continue to stand “Firm Against Terror”
Many of the projects which CYMD has worked on and is working on can be found on their blog.