Left to right: Former Canadian Network on Cuba Co-chair Tamara Hansen and
present Co-chair Isaac Saney; Keith Ellis, Cuba for Haiti Campaign Coordinator.
On September 2, the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC) held a press conference at A Different Booklist in Toronto announcing the success of the Cuba for Haiti Fundraising Campaign. The press conference highlighted the importance of this campaign and the CNC's commitment to continuing it. The press conference featured Professor Isaac Saney, Co-chair of the CNC and author of the renowned Cuba, a Revolution in Motion and Campaign Coordinator Professor Keith Ellis, and was chaired by Tamara Hansen, CNC Co-chair.
Both Professors Saney and Ellis stressed that this campaign's success is due to the fact that it is an appropriate response to the Canadian people's aspiration to assist the Haitian people in the wake of the devestating earthquake of January 12, 2010. Due to the prestige Cuba's internationalist work enjoys, Canadians donate to the campaign with confidence that every dollar will be used with efficiency and creativity to provide medical assistance to Haitians. Cuba's track-record in Haiti is excellent, Professor Ellis stressed, explaining that Cuba has been providing medical assistance to Haiti since 1998. When the earthquake struck, Cuba increased its personnel and the Henry Reeves Medical Brigade, specializing in emergency disaster relief, was sent to Haiti. Within 24 hours of the earthquake, Cuba had already treated well over 1,000 Haitian patients, Ellis said. The challenge is now to not only deal with the diseases and treatment of immediate needs but to help Cuba fulfill her pledge to help Haiti build a new self-reliant health care system, Ellis added.
Speakers highlighted that the success of the campaign shows the great potential to continue and expand this fundraising work. They called upon all Canadians to step up their efforts to support this work.
Isaac Saney announced that over $140,000 so far have been raised in the campaign and that initiatives are continuing across the country to raise more. He introduced the fall issue of the CNC's newsletter North of Havana, focusing on the Cuba for Haiti campaign and on the work of Canadians to further strengthen the links between the Cuban and Canadian people
Both presentations were warmly applauded and in the period of questions and discussion that followed many initiatives by Canadians were mentioned which have helped to raise money for the campaign. These include initiatives by artists to sell some of their works or organize concerts as fundraisers and fundraising campaigns in definite communities such as the Caribbean community in Toronto. The showHemingway's Hot Havana is but one example. The show is created and performed by Brian Gordon Sinclair who was presented at the press conference. He invited everyone to host a performance in their community as part of the campaign. The call was given to all once again to step up these initiatives.
Raúl Delgado Concepción, Consul at the Consulate General of Cuba was warmly received at the press conference. He thanked Canadians for their contribution to the Cuba's work in Haiti and said Cubans are going to be there to provide genuine humanitarian assistance as long as they are needed.