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Opinions of former presidents of Cubas Federation of University Students (FEU) on Alma Mater magazine.

Alma Mater magazine was founded on November 22, 1922. Julio Antonio Mella, founder and editor of the magazine, wanted it to be the voice of Cuban students, an objective that remains invariable today.

"We are optimistic, we trust in victory; our age and our ideas impel us to fight and triumph," wrote Julio Antonio Mella in the first edition of Alma Mater on November 22 - 85 years ago.

In this edition, entitled "Nuestro Credo" (Our Credo), the leader set out the lines of action for the new publication, and said that this new magazine had its direct precursor in Varsity Magazine, directed by Tomás R. Yanes.

"Through this magazine, Cuban students will spiritually communicate with their Spanish-speaking counterparts in both hemispheres, and we will be able to spread the culture and bravery of young Cuban intellectuals. This is beneficial for our homeland. Our homeland is the reason for our efforts; we were born to honor it," added Mella in another part of the editorial.

Mella, who was only 19, was not only founder and editor of the magazine, but also an active contributor. He clearly defined the purpose of the publication: "To work for unity and to defend the legitimate rights of the students and our homeland, as well as building a bridge to connect with students from Latin America and the Caribbean, as a necessary strategy for the triumph of a common cause of renewal and progress."

The "new magazine of Cuban students," as Mella called it, was a sword in many battles, such as that for University reform, the construction of the University Stadium and the Students Club. It also played a decisive role in rescuing national sovereignty and opposing the corruption of successive governments.

The student leader of wrote many articles on university athletes; but those in which he dealt with social problems or was showed deeply anti-imperialist views, he signed under the pen name of Zeus.

This reference to the Greek god made the denunciations evident. For example, he described a typical bourgeois politician, surrounded by mythical offerings and bootlickers, alluding to President Alfredo Zayas (1921-1925), calling him the "Great National Buddha" in satirical articles.

Zeus sharpness was also directed against imperialism in two editorials. One of them was about the suffering of Latin American peoples; the other was a sharp rejection to an invitation from the Springfield Student Association to found a Student League based in Washington.

In those works is evident his strong anti-imperialist thought. "In politics we are today the same Cuba students; those who yesterday protested against abuse and interference in our internal affairs using the force of law; they cannot change us."

"They have already squeezed us to the last drop, what more can they want? Is it not enough to have the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, the Platt Amendment, in other words, all of Cuba and its honor, most of the sugar mills, almost all the banks and control over almost all trade? Bolivars ideas should be our aspiration, Monroes are our death."
Full of History

Alma Mater treasures the memory of the struggle of the student movement and the Cuban people told by their protagonists until 1959. Since it was created, great writers at the service of the country made of this magazine their weapon and battleground. Intellectuals, professors and university students have spread from its pages the most advanced of thoughts, arts and science.

One of those writers was Cuban national poet Nicolás Guillén, who entered the University of Havana in 1922 to study law. He published in the first issue of Alma Mater a verse titled "Apart from my study books, in which he caricatured the mean-spiritedness of the life in the university; this finally caused him to abandon his studies.

The magazine, which has been closely related to the student movement, moved with the ups and downs of the pre-revolutionary period. It even stopped circulating in 1923, when Mella created the publication "Youth" instead, and some of its sections moved to this new magazine, such as "The Fief of Bustamante."

However, Alma Mater returned over and over as a monthly, a weekly and even a daily publication with national circulation. For instance, the magazine reappeared, after a period of silence, on April 12, 1952 - a month after the military coup of dictator Fulgencio Batista, to set it out and light the flame of revolution.

Today the Abril Editorial House, with a circulation of 10,000 copies, publishes the magazine. It is addressed mainly to collage students and is also available on the Internet in .

Its works deal mainly with the reality of the country, especially issues concerning life in the university. Also published is cultural, scientific and sports, and the latest news, not only from Cuba, but also from around the world.

Promote discussion and reflection among collage students is one of its main objectives, which still remains today. Its goal now is to be as young as its readers and to vibrate to the rhythm of a new and heterogeneous university that spreads today to every borough of the country.

Alma Mater devoted a special edition to the recently held Congress of Latin American Students. In the presentation of that issue there took part Tamara Roselló, the current director of the magazine, and Luis Arza Valdés, president of the Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Students.

The magazines presentation to university students is the best way to get to know the readers and to discuss different issues published in the journal.
(Juventud Rebelde)

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