Oven, forge... that has been the years of study in Higher Education and, in particular, the University Student Federation (FEU) for Dayron Martínez Rodríguez. When, in 2019, he assumed the leadership of the organization in the local Alma Mater, he possessed "a vision, never a total dimension" of what it would mean to work at the head of the entity founded by Julio Antonio Mella, in the distant 1922.
"The first difficulty was the complex situation with the fuel, the persecution of oil tankers that reached Cuban ports, the tightening of the blockade by the presidency of Donald Trump, and then came the covid-19 that was transforming the daily life of the University and the work system of the FEU,". He recalls now when he reviews each step taken in those moments in which he had to "unite a work team, redesign the organic processes and maintain the link with the student community".
"It was a total learning" and that has been, perhaps, the greatest opportunity of those three mandates at the head of this structure that has given him so much growth in the personal, social, intellectual, and human order. "The FEU has meant much more than militancy. It taught me to be a better person and planted in my values and a sense of belonging that, although I will soon cease to be an active member, I will be a member for the rest of my life. Here I gained sensitivity, humanism, and dedication... at the same time it gave me leadership skills and an awareness of the need for teamwork and consensus.
"It gave me a family, friendships, love, shoulders to lay my head on in difficult moments, hands that helped me to get up, and teachings in the face of any criticism, always an opportune aspect to learn."
Dayron maintains that the challenges posed by SARS-CoV-2 were unparalleled, and he returns to the itinerary after the request of the rector of the institution to be the representation of the house of high studies in the isolation center that would be formed at the Pepito Tey headquarters; he felt fear, for several and logical reasons.
"I can contribute. I can be useful and I will be. This is our opportunity it is now. We have today the possibility of better experiences, of exploiting the values that form us as Cubans, of reviving essences, of saying: 'There is no fear and go ahead'." When some of the thoughts that overwhelmed him in those fateful days, but of much improvement and personal and collective growth, when he witnessed the heroism of these times and the explosion of the extraordinary reserves of values in our youth, those that emerge in times of adversity and when they are appealed to properly.
With this precedent, he returns to the current work in the communities and returns, once again, to the eternal Manicato, founder of the Federation and the José Martí Popular University. "I return to Mella because we are a century into the history of our organization and we cannot lose sight of that founding horizon that led then to leave the walls of the University and mingle with the people; that is how I conceive the FEU.
"In this Tenth Congress we had the experience of holding the conclave in the communities and of inserting ourselves in the working groups of each neighborhood and working together with the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, the Federation of Cuban Women, the combatants, the delegates... and the gear was so harmonious that we were able to hold our meetings in all the municipalities and several popular councils. It was great!"
Dayron is certain that the country he dreams of is built with the participation and that the youth must necessarily weave the future to which he aspires. "The future is in us, it is not utopia or a label for social networks, but a reality.
"Something that I transmit to my classmates is to live intensely the University, a unique and unrepeatable stage, the youth is called to build the new and there is no better way than to be and do today, what we want for tomorrow. All time is short to do, there will be generations that will continue the work and will be the protagonists, but our historical moment has to look like us and the FEU is a stage for it. Let's be part of what we are part of."
"Live, participate, promote, propose", are invocations he makes to the membership. "The FEU was born for all times, it is an organization that renews itself daily, despite the difficulties and apathies that, at times, we also face. The best of our society survives in our universities and there is a lot of responsibility for the future of the nation. It is a privilege to have such valuable young people, but for the valuable young people we have, it is a privilege to have the FEU; these are things that come together in pursuit of a common defense and the construction of the country's project."
He is certain that at the University, like Fidel, he has become a revolutionary, because there he has forged, first, principles and values, as well as commitments. He says that he will feel part of the Federation even when he no longer steps on the premises of the Alma Mater, perhaps because "those who have truly passed are always back to that station of notes and kisses", perhaps because the University ends up being a state of spirituality.
"I owe her so much, and leaving gives me enormous nostalgia. It tightens the chest to know that a new reality will come, other tasks and responsibilities. It is hard not to get emotional when talking about this transition. I feel that I gave little to the FEU and that I could have done and given more to the organization. I have the satisfaction of feeling part of a deeply human and revolutionary project, which is priceless; if I were to monetize it, there would be nothing capable of repaying me or equaling what this stage represents for me. I am indebted to it for life."