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Celebrating Cuba's Moncada Day Across Canada Print E-mail
Celebrating Cuba's July 26th Movement & The Gains of the Cuban Revolution
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Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Calgary

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Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba

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Every year July 26 or “Moncada day” is celebrated in Cuba and around the world by supporters of the Cuban Revolution. On July 27 this year, Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) held a community BBQ to celebrate Cuba’s Moncada Day and the gains of the Cuban socialist revolution.

A sunny afternoon at Vancouver’s Trout Lake Park was the perfect setting for the VCSC Moncada Day, with Cuban flags, banners and the smell of delicious food on the BBQ to welcome over 85 people who joined to support and celebrate Cuba. Alongside the cultural program, kids were excited to take part in the piñata, and adults had their own prizes to win in the raffle draw!

VCSC organizers Azza Rojbi and Janine Solanki opened the event with brief history of July 26th, and the significance of the ongoing Cuban Revolution in today’s world. Cuba’s example and support has also been a vital part of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. VCSC coordinator Tamara Hansen and organizer Alison Bodine happened to be in Venezuela participating in the Foro de Sao Paulo solidarity conference and sent a message of greetings from Venezuela which was played at the event!

The program continued with poets Alejandro Mujica-Olea and Macarena Cataldo Hernandez, representing the group Proyecto Cultural Sur Vancouver. Mayra Climaco, a Nicaraguan poet, activist and former Sandinista fighter also shared her moving poetry.

Azza Rojbi took a moment to introduce an important petition campaign demanding that Canada reopen its visa services and IRCC offices in Havana, Cuba. The government of Canada’s unprecedented move closes the doors to Cuban family members, students, academics, artists and athletes traveling to Canada. Attendees were encouraged to sign on to the petition, an initiative of the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) which VCSC is a member of. Everyone was then treated to the music of Maju Maju, a South African born singer and performer, now living in Vancouver.

While the event brings a bit of Cuba to Vancouver, Janine then spoke about experiencing Cuba firsthand, on the Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade in May 2020, or the Calixto Garcia Brigade in December 2019. Janine, as the CNC’s national coordinator for the Che Guevara Brigade, encouraged attendees to consider joining this unique opportunity to visit Cuba.

As twilight set in, it was time to warm up the evening with salsa dancing! An enthusiastic crowd joined a salsa lesson led by Janine. After learning a few new steps, the event came to a close with dancing to the beat of Cuban salsa under the canopy of trees!


Ottawa Cuba Connections

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Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Vancouver

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The event was on the Sunday, July 28. Greetings were presented by Stephen von Sychowski, President of the Vancouver and District Labour Council who spoke of the struggles of both the Cuban and Venezuelan people against external warfare. There was a presentation by Agrologist and a specialist on Cuban Agricultural Cooperatives, Wendy Holm. Those present listened to live music followed by dinner.


Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Toronto

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MC, Julio Fonseca welcoming guests. Photo: David M.

On July 26th, 1953, Fidel Castro and a small band of revolutionary rebels, attacked the Moncada Military Barracks in the city of Santiago de Cuba. This armed event, regarded as the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, was adopted by Castro as the name for his revolutionary movement (Movimiento 26 Julio or M 26-7) which eventually over-threw the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista on January 1, 1959.

In Cuba, July 26 is a national holiday and is celebrated as the National Revolutionary Festival. The CCFA Toronto also commemorates this day annually, and this year did so by showing the documentary film “Cuban Women in the Revolution” (Mujeres de Revolución by Argentinian journalist Maria Torrellas and produced by Resumen Latinoamericano). It was clear that many GTA Cuba-files wanted to see the film, as the Friends House, where the event was held, was full to capacity.

As MC, Julio Fonseca welcomed guests and introduced Cuban Consul Yoslaidy Clement Lopez and CCFA Toronto President, Elizabeth Hill. Yoslaidy Clement Lopez greeted the audience and thanked everyone for their continued support of Cuba. Elizabeth Hill introduced the film.

The film features interviews with and stories of Cuban women (some deceased, such as Celia Sanchez and Vilma Espin) who were involved with the early days of the Revolution as well contemporary women who continue to support the spirit and ideals of the Revolution.

 
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