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Australia—Cuba Friendship Society (Brisbane)


Southern Cross Brigade

    Since 1983 the ACFS has organised a work/study brigade to Cuba. The brigade travel to Cuba for around 20 days leaving Australia shortly after Christmas, and returning in late January.

Dates for 2022-23: The 38th Southern Cross Brigade will start on 29 December 2022 and finish on 17 January 2023.
The program is packed with visits travelling to various parts of Cuba, visits to hospitals, schools, cultural activities, meetings with trade unions, women's and youth organisations, as well as contributing solidarity to Cuba by working on agricultural or construction projects. See the proposed itinerary below.
The cost of the Cuban component of the brigade is approximately 1,500 AUD, including a 250 AUD deposit upon registration. The airfares are the responsibility of the traveller, however the Brigade coordinator can give some advice on this.


29 Dec: This is the first day of the Brigade. If you arrive on this day precisely, you will be met at the airport by ICAP. If you are already in Cuba by the 29th, we will organise a time to meet at the ICAP offices on the day. We will all travel to the Julio Antonio Mella International Camp together. Given how tired many of us will be, this will be a day of rest and preparation.

30 Dec: Official inauguration. ICAP and other provincial organisations likely to be in attendance to welcome us. The history of Cuba and the Brigade, as well as some recent information on the circumstances in the country, will be provided to us. Recreational and cultural activities in the afternoon.

31 Dec: Sporting and cultural activities at the Camp. Interchange with other brigadistas from around the world (e.g. the Nordic Brigade) as well as locals. Dinner celebrating the triumph of the Revolution (January 1, 1959 and celebrating the New Year) – a likely late finish.

1 Jan: Morning off (recovering from celebrating a Revolutionary New Year!). After lunch, travel on a tour to Havana. We will attend a cultural gala at the National Ballet of Cuba – semi-formal dress (no shorts, button-up shirts, dresses, enclosed shoes etc) required. Will also visit other historical locations in Havana. Return to the Camp for the evening.

2 – 5 Jan: Travel to Matanzas (Korimakao). We will visit "Australia" along the way. The village of Australia was the coordination hub for Fidel Castro and other senior members of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces during the Bay of Pigs invasion. We will then finish our journey at Korimakao. Here we will undertake a cultural interchange with young artists and workers from this locality. We will spend four days here undertaking social and community work, as well as recreational activities. We will visit the Bay of Pigs Museum.

6 – 7 Jan: Travel in the afternoon to Villa Clara. Here we will stay in the Friendship House. We will exchange with survivors of the Cuban Revolution and visit the Che Guevara Mausoleum. We will also visit a number of locations relating to Che's part of the Revolutionary campaign in the region. We will also exchange with a local LGBTIQ social project; there will be a presentation on their work from the Director of the program, including an update on LGBTIQ rights and the new Family Code.

8 – 11 Jan: Voluntary work with local workers and cultural activities with young people from student and political organisations. May try and link this work with a local educational centre. Presentation on the challenges of the Cuban economy and an update on changes to the economic model. A focus on local development with functionaries from local government. Homage to Julio Antonio Mella (founder of the Cuban Communist Party, martyred in 1929 by the government of Gerardo Machado). Visit to a local university to interchange with students and staff. This will include international students studying in Cuba. We will also exchange with local health workers to discuss the health system in Cuba and the challenges of the pandemic (including creating and distributing Cuba's homegrown vaccines). Voluntary work in a factory or workshop. Discuss common causes of the working class in Cuba and Australia. Trade union exchanges. Exchange with the Federation of Cuban Women.

12 – 16 Jan: Return to Havana. Travel to Fidel Castro Centre, with an exchange on US-Cuba relations. Visit a local cooperative (small or middle sized enterprise). Cultural activities and traditional music; salsa classes. Visit an environmental conservation project and cooperatives undertaking positive developmental work. PCR testing (if required for return travel). Visit Finlay Institute (which helped produce Cuba's COVID-19 vaccines). Exchange with professionals from the Institute. Australia/New Zealand night. Conference on media and propaganda against Cuba.

17 Jan: Closure of the Brigade.

For more information

Visit the Brigade Website

Email the National Coordinator, Adam Mayers

Email the Brisbane Brigade coordinator, Debra McLoughlin


Brigade information booklet