19 de junio de 2024

Radio 26 – Matanzas, Cuba

Emisora provincial de Matanzas, Cuba, La Radio de tu Corazón

Sports and Physical Education Council of the CTC, an initiative of Lázaro Peña.


For these days of workers’ holiday, it is necessary to remember these events to pay tribute to the unforgettable Lázaro Peña and those workers who in difficult times put Cuba’s name high in the world sport.

When the Confederation of Cuban Workers was founded in 1939, at the initiative of its undisputed leader, Lázaro Peña, among the first proposals was a plan for the unions to carry out physical exercises in workplaces.

One of the first to be incorporated to this task was Professor Troadio Hernández, a lithographic worker and brilliant athlete, who was champion in the hammer throw at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mexico in 1926.

One year later, in 1940, the Sports and Physical Education Council of the CTC was created which, by coincidence, had a slogan that years later would be taken by INDER: «More sports and less vices».

The first major competition organized by this Council was the First Workers’ Baseball Championship, in the capital, with the attendance of 15 teams. This initial competition was won by the Partagás cigar and tobacco factory.

The following year it was active in other provinces, until 1947, due to the political situation prevailing in the country and in which mujalist groups of divisive tendency, supported by government forces, occupied the CTC and that same year closed the Mil Diez radio station, an organ of the Cuban communists.

In an article published by journalist Elio Menéndez, on June 1, 1997, we find this fact in which Lázaro Peña had to intervene: «Those first contests were so well received that the president of the elitist Amateur Baseball League, Laureano Prado Clark, insinuated that the players of that circuit who played in the workers’ championship would be declared ineligible».

Lázaro, far from flinching, limited himself to declare publicly with his characteristic sharpness, that if this were the case, by agreement of the Executive Committee of the Central de Trabajadores, its affiliates would be forbidden to take part in the competitions of the Amateur Athletic Union, which prompted Prado Clark to take advice.

Whites and blacks could play in those championships, something that in those years was limited by racial discrimination in sports.

In addition to baseball, the CTC organized some isolated tournaments in other sports, mostly internal to the work centers, from which emerged outstanding competitors.

After January 1st, 1959, also thanks to Lázaro Peña, these workers’ tournaments were reactivated under the name of Workers’ Games, in which there was a greater organization with the support of INDER and the Unions, and even matches with other countries were held.

From that period we cannot forget the National Plan of Fisminutos, in which workers exercised before starting their workday as part of acquiring a better state of health and greater work performance.

For these days of workers’ celebration, it is necessary to remember these events to pay tribute, not only to the unforgettable Lázaro Peña, but also to all those workers who in difficult times lived by our country, put Cuba’s name high in the world sport.

Sources consulted: Pablo Amay Álvarez, lithographer and historian …; Béisbol en la CTC, by journalist Elio Menéndez.

Written by Francisco Soriano.




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