On Monday, the 27th of January 2014 the people of Cuba and other student organizations like Federation of University Students (Federacion de Estudiantes Universitarios or FEU), took part in the Gran March of the Torches (Gran Marcha de los Antorchas) to celebrate the 161st Anniversary of the birth of Cuba’s National Hero Jose Marti. The march was on the night before his birthday which was the 28th of January.
We departed our school, Latinamerica School of Medicine (LASM) or Escuela Latinoamerica de Medicina(ELAM) at about 6:00 pm in our school buses with the normal police escort, nine buses filled with students to show their solidarity for this celebration.
We arrived at Havana University, the starting location of the march, where thousands of persons were already with more still coming. When we arrived, we started to prepare our torches. The torches were hand-made with cans, cotton and kerosene oil. The torches symbolized our thoughts toward the great thinkers.
As we waited for the march to start we limed and as we would say in Jamaica “bill a vibes.” The wait seemed long for most persons but it was well worth it as we were in the presence of the Cuban President Raul Castro, the Venezuelan President, the President of Bolivia and Presidents from other countries who came for the Cuba-CARICOM meeting.
At 10:50 pm we lighted our torches and we were off with the Presidents leading the way. We marched from Havana University to Malecon. As we marched, we saw various Spanish phrases:
- Patria es Humanidad (Homeland is Humanity)
- Es la Hora de la Hornos y no se ha de ver mas que la Luz (It is the Hour of the Furnace and only the Light should be seen)
- De America soy hijo; a ella me debo (I am a Child of America; I am indebted to her)
- Crear Palabra de Pase de esta Generacion (To Create a Word of Freedom of this Generation)
We got back to the school at about 1:30 am, we had set out from the school in the buses after eating dinner at the school's canteen and while we were on the bus, the school administrators gave us a bag with food, fruits and drinks like they normally do when we go to any event.
The march was very calm and tranquil the students were well behaved and no one opted out of the march from what I know.
For Cubans, Jose Marti is a guide and day after day his teachings are transmitted to them by the thoughts left in his books.
Oraine Lynch attended KC from 2004-2011. He was Vice President of the Student Council and president and VP of the Interact Club. He has been in Cuba since last August on a medical scholarship, and is now doing a year of Spanish language and taking science subjects in Spanish to get the base needed for the first year of medical school in September. He plans to specialize in Surgery.