"National Question" 16 Learning Lessons in Cuba

While Maori radical group Nga Tamatoa, worked with the Trotskyist, , it also had close ties to the pro-Soviet, Socialist Unity Party.


Every few years, the old Soviet Front, World Federation of Democratic Youth organises an international festival for pro-communist youth organisations.


In August 1978, the 11th World Festival of Youth and Students, took place in Havana, Cuba.

New Zealand sent a 12 strong delegation-seven members of the SUP’s youth wing the “Democratic Youth Front”, two from the Labour Party’s youth wing and Ripeka Evans, Josie Keeland and Donna Awatere from Nga Tamatoa.

Delelegate, Val Potts was later interviewed in the SUP’s “Tribune”:

An overwhelming experience – to see over 18,000 people from 149 countries, representing over 2,000 organisations – working together under the bright Cuban sun for peace, friendship and anti-imperialist solidarity – the memory will remain with us for a long time.”

Ripeka Evans, raved about the trip in the Womens Studies Journal of August 1985;

We went there for an international festival of eastern students which is an event that’s held every 4-6 years in different socialist countries. Youth and student organisations throughout the world are invited, by and large they are organisations with some socialist connections. . .

We (3 Maoris, Aborigines and other Pacific Islanders) set about boldly seeking meetings with different organisations. One of the first was the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. . . We lived with them while we were there and that opened doors to situations where we would otherwise have been spectators. . . We spent a lot of time with women who has been active in the Arab/Israel war.

Talking with the PLO women moved my political thinking on from where I thought about making piecemeal demands, like at Bastion Point, Raglan, the land march and so on, to sewing these together into a coherent political philosophy.”… “Cuba was the turning point of my life.”

Evans had also bared her socialist soul in Broadsheet of October 1982 ” Hell, all we have here in New Zealand is 3,000,000 whites, if 12(Castro’s early followers) can take on America then 400,000 Maoris can take on 3,000,000 whites. That’s the vision I learned in Cuba”.

Socialist “Democracy” in action.

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