A huge thank you to all of the 36 delegates from 18 CNC member organizations, and the special guests of the successful CNC 11th Biennial Convention, held in Toronto on June 8th and 9th.

This brief summary of the Convention was prepared by Co-Chairs Julio Fonseca and Samantha Hislop for your information.

Unfortunately, Víctor Gaute López, the Vice President of ICAP, was unable to attend the Convention nor able to participate in the ICAP tour, because Canada did not grant him a visa. Leima Martinez Freire, Director of the North American Bureau of ICAP, has a multiple-entry visa and participated throughout the Convention.

Other Special Guests in attendance included His Excellency Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, Ambassador of Cuba to Canada, Aileen Carmenaty Sanchez, Press and Cultural Attaché of the Cuban Embassy, Jorge Yanier Castellanos Orta, Consul General of Cuba in Toronto, and Tania Valenzuela Veiga of the Cuban Consulate in Toronto.

Ambassador Malmierca Díaz, Leima Martinez Freire, and Jorge Yanier Castellanos Orta gave special addresses to our Convention.

We also had Cheryl Labash and César Omar Sánchez from the National Network on Cuba, and from La Table de Concertation de Solidarité Québec Cuba, Colette Lavergne and Fernand Deschamps, as observers and to bring greetings from their Cuba solidarity organizations. A wonderful bilingual solidarity greeting from Deborah Berman Santana of the Cuba Solidarity Committee of Puerto Rico was also received.

Co-Chairs Samantha Hislop and Julio Fonseca presented an overview of the CNC’s work over the past two years.

This was followed with specific reports: The 29th and 30th Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigades by Brigade National Co-Coordinator, Tess Stuber; CNC fundraising campaigns reported by Julio Fonseca; the Treasurer’s Report by Chris Shelton; and the Webmaster’s Report by Rob Crooks.

The CNC delegates gave thorough reports on their groups’ activities over the past 2 years. There was general consensus on the necessity of growing our organizations’ memberships and expanding the Canadian Network on Cuba by adding new member organizations, increasing international cooperation in our solidarity work, urgently lobbying the Canadian government to do more to pressure the United States to remove Cuba from the SSOT list and end the blockade, cultivating a stronger relationship with the Canada-Cuba Interparliamentary Group, and educating the public on Cuba’s achievements and combatting the disinformation against Cuba.

The following resolutions were passed at this CNC Convention:

  • Action Resolution to Remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List & Expand Monthly Rallies
  • Resolution on Latin America and the Caribbean a Zone of Peace
  • Resolution Condemning Genocide in Gaza
  • Resolution on Returning Guantánamo to Cuba
  • Action Resolution on Supporting the U.S. “From Our Hearts to Cuba” Saving Lives Campaign

An action resolution on Supporting the Launch of a Parliamentary Petition was referred to the incoming Executive Committee, as the Canada-Cuba Interparliamentary Group had already submitted (and have since published) a petition, rather than use the petition submitted by the CNC; though we were not given the opportunity for input, the CNC Executive supports this petition, as it aligns with CNC principles on Cuba’s right to self-determination, and against the blockade and demanding the removal of Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.

On Saturday evening at the Steelworkers Hall, the special public event organized by the Toronto Association for Peace & Solidarity and the Canadian Cuba Friendship Association Toronto, “Cuba’s Role: Building Global Peace”, was a huge success! The hall had a packed audience for an engaging program and activities, with ICAP’s Leima Martinez Freire as the headline speaker, along with other guest speakers from Labour for Palestine, the President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, the Canadian Peace Congress, and the Cuban Consul General of Toronto.

The CNC hosted an excellent panel discussion on the Sunday, with special guest speakers T.K. Hernandez, Isaac Saney, Keith Bolender, and Leima Martinez Freire. Thank you to Elizabeth Hill who was the moderator. Each of the panelists presented from a different angle for the theme “Cuba in the Troubled World: The Geopolitics of the Moment”, based on their respective areas of work, research and expertise.

A new CNC Executive Committee of 7 was elected before the adjournment of the 11th Biennial Convention:

– Tess Stuber (CCFA Toronto)
– Cam Scott (Manitoba-Cuba Solidarity Committee)
– Isaac Saney (Nova Scotia-Cuba Association)
– Samantha Hislop (CCFA Toronto)
– Julio Fonseca (Juan Gualberto Gomez Association of Cuban Residents in Toronto)
– Cikiah Thomas (Global Afrikan Congress)
– Rob Crooks (CCFA Vancouver)

Congratulations to the new Executive members, and we look forward to working with them in the very important plan of work the CNC has adopted to end the blockade and remove Cuba from the SSOT list, defend Cuba’s right to self-determination, build the Che Brigade, work with Canada’s parliamentarians to improve foreign policy regarding Cuba, and strengthen solidarity with Cuba in Canada.

A huge thanks to everyone who helped with setup, registration, tech/sound support, refreshments, billeting, and driving – all essential to making this a successful 11th Biennial Convention!

In solidarity,
Samantha Hislop & Julio Fonseca
Co-Chairs, Canadian Network on Cuba






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