The Southern Cross Brigade is organised by friendship societies in Australia and New Zealand, in collaboration with the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, which is an organisation that maintains links with hundreds of organisations around the world with the aim of strengthening international friendship and solidarity.
The first brigade from Australia to Cuba was named the Eureka Brigade and left Australia in December 1983, returning in January of 1984. After this, New Zealanders were also invited and the brigade became known as the Southern Cross Brigade, or Brigada Cruz del Sur in Spanish. The 2016-17 Southern Cross Brigade will mark 34 continuously running annual brigades from Australia and New Zealand to Cuba.
The Southern Cross Brigade is attended by Australians and New Zealanders of all ages and backgrounds. Age is no barrier, as we have had brigadistas as young as 6 and as old as 88!
Many countries around the world have friendship societies that run similar brigades. Every year, brigadistas visit Cuba from Canada, the US, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, the UK, South Korea, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, and other South American nations. These brigades aim to encourage international solidarity with Cuba and to give non-Cubans a personal connection to the Cuban Revolution.