ICAP:  The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples

Founded in 1960, the lnstituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos, (The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples, ICAP) is an NGO established soon after the early successes of the Cuban revolution. Following the overthrow of the US backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, Cuba found itself isolated from the world stage and threatened by an irate military superpower, less than 100 miles off it’s shores. The purpose of ICAP therefore, was to reach out to the international community and form ties of friendship between Cuba and citizens of other countries who were either sympathetic to, or open minded about, Cuba's post-revolutionary ambitions.

After Batista's departure, a deluge of anti-Castro propaganda hit the world media, spread by exiles who had benefited under the regime of Batista and supported by a US government displeased at Cuba's unwillingness to allow foreign companies to exploit its population and natural resources.

ICAP encourages visitors from abroad to come and see the reality of post-revolutionary Cuba for themselves. ICAP works to educate visitors about the real Cuba and challenge a myriad of myths about Cuba that arise from time to time. It brings people together and shows them alternatives.

Since its founding, ICAP has coordinated work brigades comprised of volunteers from around the globe who are eager to learn about the Cuban reality and show solidarity with the Cuban people by engaging in light agricultural work and cultural activities. The work brigades give visitors the opportunity to also interact with ordinary Cubans such as farmers and other workers. ICAP also arranges visits for delegates of international solidarity groups wishing to visit the island to express support for Cuba, demonstrate their opposition to the US imposed economic blockade, and learn about the aims, successes and challenges of the Cuban revolution.

There are currently some 850 Cuba solidarity groups in 45 European countries and although Cuba is undergoing major changes, these are often misrepresented in a non-Cuban media, which postulates that Cuba is slowly moving in the direction of Capitalism. Cuba is indeed changing but not looking to adopt Capitalism, particularly at a time when a lot of the world seems to be rejecting it. The present changes are geared towards the interests of the people and were adopted to improve Cuban society and increase efficiency.