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Photo: Granma

Cuba has become a member of the international organizing committee for the 19th World Festival of Youth Sochi-2017, elected during the third preparatory meeting held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The good news joins another announcement made earlier, regarding the decision to dedicate the event to Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, in recognition of his example, lasting legacy, and decisive contribution to the preservation of the tradition of these festivals and the defense of their founding principles.

In a dialogue via Internet with ACN, Cuba’s José Ángel Maury de Toro, secretary general of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), reiterated that this decision was unanimous, and is fully supported by anti-imperialist and progressive youth represented in the broad organization.

In terms of the organizing committee, Maury de Toro explained that four national preparatory committees were elected for each region; plus Ecuador which hosted the previous edition in 2013; the WFDY as the international entity; and three regional bodies, including the Organization of Continental Latin American and Caribbean Students (OCLAE).

This last group is headed by Cuba’s Federation of University Students, thus adding to Cuba’s presence on the international organizing committee, which is coordinated by the WFDY and will set up shop in Russia this coming August, to iron out details and assure the success of the event.

Maury de Toro explained that, during the meeting in Sri Lanka, the schedule of workshops and seminars was completed, and documents related to next steps in the preparatory process were approved, to guide work leading up to the Youth Festival which will take place this coming October 15-21, in the Russian city of Sochi.

The Festival’s central maxim was approved and reflects the main goals of the 19th edition: “For peace, solidarity, and social justice we struggle against imperialism. Honoring our past, we build the future.”

The event will celebrate the centenary of the triumph of the October Revolution in Russia; the 70th anniversary of the Festival movement; and the 60th of the sixth World Festival of Youth held in 1957, in Moscow, then the Soviet Union’s capital.

In addition to Fidel Castro, the Festival will be dedicated to other important figures, including Ernesto Che Guevara, on the 50th anniversary of his death in combat in Bolivia, and the recently-deceased Mohamed Abdelaziz, who devoted his life to the struggle against colonialism and for the independence of Western Sahara.