Cuba remembers worker-union leader Lázaro Peña

Cuba remembers worker-union leader Lázaro Peña
Cuba remembers worker-union leader Lázaro Peña

He was born poor, in Havana, on May 29 and like every child he had a dream: to be a violinist, which he could not achieve; Well, being the son of a tobacco destemmer and an orphan of a father, he had to work from a very early age.

When searching for biographical data about Peña, numerous anecdotes and references from those who knew him appear, which highlight the seriousness of that young active member of the clandestine Communist Party since the age of 18 and who participated in union activities, painting anti-imperialist slogans and distributing manifestos.

Later he was the mature leader who united the Cuban workers in their struggles and, after a period through labor and union organizations, assumed the leadership of the Confederation of Cuban Workers, founded on January 28, 1939.

In 1973 he assumed the leadership of the Department of Mass Organizations in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.

The prestige, the solidity of the work and the contribution of this notable union leader surpassed the borders of the Caribbean nation, hence his contribution to the founding of the Confederation of Latin American Workers and the World Federation of Trade Unions.

Regarding his ability to mobilize the masses in a simple and natural way, authority, honesty and political acuity, the leader and politician Blas Roca once related that he began many assemblies with everyone against him and when he finished he was acclaimed by everyone.

Another of his contemporaries, the intellectual Juan Marinello, spoke of the surprising counterpoint between firmness and understanding, impetus and smile.

Uncompromising in the application of principles, he highlighted, Lázaro was an exact and culminating expression of our popular genius.

The National Poet Nicolás Guillén also highlighted the fine, delicate, truly courteous sense that the union leader had to preside over a debate, clarify a concept by going to the root, without hurting susceptibilities, which allowed him to direct the discussion with an iron fist under a glove. of silk.

Almost always, when talking about Peña, references to his role within the labor and union movement emerge; However, his defense of workers covered all sectors, including musicians and singers.

His partner in life Tania Castellanos highlighted his sensitivity, the way he combined the social and political with the aesthetic, economic and artistic, and how the filin artists asked him for political guidance for their lyrics.

Those who knew them remember, among their teachings, the importance they gave to collective bargaining as a mechanism to improve working conditions, the improvement of labor leaders and the exchange with workers.

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