The Young Communist League (UJC), founded on April 4, 1962, has seen its membership increase. The organization currently has 300,752 affiliates and over 33,000 grassroots committees. It continues to respond to today’s challenges by calling for increased participation in its aim to represent all Cuban youth.
April 6, 2017
Young people account for 65% of the workforce in the sugarcane sector. Photo: Juvenal Balán
As part of activities to mark the 55th anniversary of the Young Communist League (UJC) this April 4, schools across the country held special assemblies, while membership cards were presented to new affiliates of the organization and outstanding students and young workers were also recognized.
Speaking during a press conference in Havana held prior to celebrations, Susely Morfa González, first secretary of the UJC National Committee, stated that “Every activity will have the color, joy and optimism which have characterized this organization for over half a century.”
Fifty five years after its founding, the UJC is proud to be composed of the vanguard of Cuba’s youth, and of the work it continues to do in support of children across the island.
The organization, created on April 4, 1962, has 300,752 members and more than 33,000 grassroots committees. Not only has the UJC’s membership increased, but the organization has made and continues to make concerted efforts to listen and respond to proposals by young people across all sectors.
“Despite the high figures, we want to keep adding more young people and ideas. What is more, we continue to strengthen the organization and its political processes, encouraging and motivating new generations to learn more about Cuba’s history in a more inclusive, humane and creative way,” stated Morfa.
Throughout its existence the UJC has worked to foster the value of making a useful contribution to society in Cuban youth. “There are those who question whether younger generations are conscious of their social role. I believe that they are,” noted the organization’s first secretary, who is also a member of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee.
Of the almost three million young Cubans living on the island, “I dare say that the immense majority are revolutionary,” Morfa added.
Many continually put their intellect and interests toward supporting the development of Cuban society something which “the organization attests to on a daily basis, every time we interact with them. There is broad representation of young people across all sectors of our economy, from where they contribute to our country’s development.”
One example, she noted, is the sugarcane sector, where young people represent 65% of the workforce. Similar levels of participation can be found in spheres such as public health and agriculture. “We recently met with young tobacco growers in Pinar del Río, whose efforts not only contribute to boosting the economy, but also preserving a tradition,” stated the first secretary.
Over the last 55 years, the UJC has also been consolidating the way in which institutions and ministries respond to the needs of the island’s youth, who are represented and participate on governing boards and commissions responsible for making decisions which will impact the new generations.
SUPPORTING YOUNG WORKERS
Susely Morfa described as exemplary the relationship between the UJC and National Association of Small Farmers, where the organization has over 8,000 members, as well as its efforts to protect and motivate young Cubans once they enter the workplace, whether it be in the state or private sector.
In 2016, the UJC organized various activities with young non-state sector workers, “where we saw many positive results, shared, exchanged, and listened to these young people. We were accompanied by representatives from the Party, government and relevant institutions in order to respond to queries by those starting out in this form of management,” she added.
This year the UJC has proposed “to continue supporting them (young private sector workers) to combat illegalities, fortify our patriotic symbols, explain to them their rights in this sector, and which ministries and organizations to approach with their queries.”
Among its priorities, the UJC is also proposing to intensify work with secretary generals of grassroots committees. “We cannot forget that although we are an organization that represents the youth, we are also a political organization, home to the vanguard. Therefore, we must continue to strengthen the functioning of our grassroots committees and to encourage youths to take on leadership roles.”
As long as young leaders love the organization, and search for something to do to improve their surroundings every day, consolidate the UJC’s ideological work, and bring together more ideas to continue building the Revolution, members and youths will want to be like them, and will accompany them in this integrationist work, commented the first secretary.
The UJC will continue promoting historic tours, summer camps, workshops, and forum-debates, among other important activities for Cuban youth, where they will also have the opportunity to learn more about the island’s history and culture.
“We are working with the Ministry of Culture so that our youth can enjoy recreational offers which feature both our best values and are affordable,” she added.
Cuba’s youth is the continuation of the generation that founded the Revolution, not its substitute, stated Susely, who went on to note that the new generations, strongly committed to the legacy of historic leader Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro, and the support of the Communist Party of Cuba, will continue to defend socialism and participate in the economic and social transformations that the country needs.
“Those of us who wish to defend, transform, create and preserve everything that has been achieved over these last 55 years will always be with the UJC. Our aim is to increase participation in order to be an organization for all, so that every young person feels a greater attachment to it,” she concluded.