The Revolution since its inception has made the training and protection of new generations a real priority, which has been taking shape in so far as the process of institutionalization deepened, which led to a constitution and a socialist state.
Regardless of the limitations nobody can deny that since 1959 the youth sectors not only were massively involved in the radical transformations experienced by the country, but enjoy extensive guarantees, from programs and projects that ensure their access to decision-making, education, employment, culture and others.
This was stated by Yuniasky Crespo Baquero, first secretary of the National Committee of the Young Communists League (UJC), who in an interview with this newspaper said that the options of free education for all levels of education and access to a health system are the Rights most recognized by young people as full guarantee in Cuba, being the most visible to them and to the general population, although these are by no means the only ones.
"From these there are others which, to a greater or lesser extent, are valued in different segments of the youth sphere: access to employment, social security and participation in the different bodies and elected political leadership, both undergraduates and governance mechanisms in the country. In this latter respect, she noted, for example, that of all our deputies to the National Assembly, 18 per cent are young people up to 25 years, and so are 15 percent of the constituency delegates. "
What opportunities for participation in political life exist for youth? What is their effectiveness?
´As I referred to earlier, the participation of youth in decision-making mechanisms that are structured in our political life is one of their rights. This process begins in primary education and is extended throughout the studies of the young, a stage in which three student organizations take part: José Martí Pioneer Organization (OPJM) and federations of High School Students (FEEM) and University Students (FEU).
"By integrating these groups they enjoy the democratic choice to elect and be elected to positions of leadership and assume active responsibilities on the boards of directors at different levels, represent the interests of their peers and issue opinions which in most cases are considered.
"It is vital to note that these organizations play a more active role in society and systematically perform processes that culminate in the development of congresses, in which its members are heard and address their proposals by the top leadership of the country, which is a boost to their participation in the political life of the nation.
"All this has allowed the degree of political and civic maturity in the youth to strengthen and are taken into account in young people for important missions. Expression of this was what happened in April this year, during the elections for delegates to the Municipal Assemblies of People´s Power, when about 20,000 students of the FEU served as observers of the process, as they now do the same in the assembly for the delegate to give account to their constituents.
"It should be noted that this is a preamble to the opportunities which the youth then has of joining other mechanisms of management, both institutionally and in the organs of government."
To what extent does the UJC, in compliance with a constitutional mandate, ensure the enjoyment of the rights not only of its members but also the rest of the youth?
-Within the priorities of work of the UJC is how to make the constitutional mandate more effective, which means becoming more involved in the projects and aspirations of young people, their concerns and dissatisfactions. In the recently concluded Tenth Congress of the organization that was one of the themes to which we paid most attention, and a third of the 59 agreements that were derived from this are linked to the issue.
"This agreement establishes the need to improve the system for attention to approaches and concerns of young people, from the grassroots to the national level to ensure greater effectiveness in the management carried out by the organization. The proposal was motivated by our continued focus to channel the dissatisfaction of young people in employment, recreation, continuing studies and, in general, their future life projects, committed to the development of the country ".
How is the enjoyment of those rights promoted from the student organizations and youth movements? To what extent has the non-state sector benefited?
´There are elements that respond to this question, and we stated some before, when we referred to participation in elected steering mechanisms and student organizations, which is also extended to youth movements. Now it is important to know that a priority component of the Statutes of these organizations and movements aims to represent the interests of its members, to provide them with mechanisms that enable them to channel their concerns, their proposals and their demands to institutions and ministries.
"The question about what the youth of the non-state sector is important, as the UJC has the same duty with them as active members of society. In this direction we have taken steps, both those who have already become grassroots activists, as with the rest who are not and make their valuable contribution to the economy. In the 10th Congress two of its 59 agreements underscore our concern for treating them and ensure opportunities for improvement and development.
"They are part of our daily life and we must accompany each space. To cite just two examples, I remember the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students, held in Ecuador in 2013, was attended by three self-employed, one delegate directly to that event, and more recently, in our Congress, five participated of whom one represents the sector in the National Committee elected at the meeting. "
-Despite the achievements, there is a part of youth that does not value them in their proper perspective. What is done by the UJC for young people to identify the importance and extent of these benefits?
It´s a real phenomenon that has been going on for generations. We can never get all young people to have a valid comparison pattern that allows them to know the reality of student and youth movement in the world, its shortcomings and struggles, assess what has been achieved by the Revolution in the protection and rights of youth.
"Logically, this makes the dissatisfactions that we know exist in certain areas, reaching for that sector of youth is a better hierarchy of the benefits that the socialist social system ensures for training professionals and the personal development of most young people.
"Before all this we are challenged to direct talks and arguments in student and work spaces. We have to insist that they read, study and know what is done in our country and the guarantees for us, those which are still just a dream for colleges or youth communities of Latin America itself.
"It is also true that sometimes, ministries and institutions have public policies to benefit young people which are not sufficiently known, they are not very visible or adequately disclosed, and this generates unnecessary dissatisfaction. It´s something you cannot achieve with empty talk, not with simple slogans, we must seek the answers, sit down and listen and discuss concerns with transparency, using audiovisual media in that effort. "
Can we be fully satisfied with the ways in which such rights in fact take? Should we conquer others?
-Precisely those rights which the Revolution proposed from the beginning conquering all those which entail benefits for the people. Then reality itself, coloured by many limitations, has not allowed that all could achieve the same results, and today there is greater satisfaction in some and increased demand in others. Of the latter, within the youth universe we have identified in the current context of housing, recreation, use of new technologies and salary.
"Complete satisfaction is not real, we would have already finished the work and take a rest, and there is nothing further from that reality these days. If it were so we would not have provoked debate across the country as part of the organic process of the Tenth Congress and have thousands of proposals and dissatisfactions, which focused primarily on improving the rights already conquered. "
Translated by ESTI