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6th Montreal Day of Friendship with Cuba a Great Success! Print E-mail

6th Montreal Day of Friendship with Cuba a Great Success! 

Left: Her Excellency Cuban Ambassador to CanadaTeresita Vicente and Haitian Consul
Pierre Richard Casimir. Right: Performance by Los Quebecos Del Son.

"Hailing Cuba's solidarity with the peoples of the world" was the theme of the 6th Montreal Day of Friendship with Cuba, held September 18 at the grand tent of the Centre culturel, social et éducatif-Maisonneuve. It highlighted the Cuban people's unwavering support for the peoples of the world and for the Haitian people in particular. Event organizers, the Table de concertation de solidarité Québec-Cuba, are sending half of the event's proceeds to Cuba's Henry Reeves Medical Brigade currently deployed in Haiti.

The day's activities began at 1:30 pm. Outside the tent visitors were welcomed with Cuban music and flags while inside the tent were displays on Cuban society and the projects being undertaken by the people including Cuba's political system, developments in renewable energy, youth and education, the fight to free the Cuban Five and popular Cuban music. There were also displays about U.S. aggression towards Cuba such as the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo and the blockade. Throughout the afternoon people from the neighbourhood and elsewhere came through and learned about Cuba, especially the internationalist and human-centred worldview of the Cuban people. Réal Ménard, the mayor of the borough of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, visited the booths and greeted participants. In a message sent to the organizers, he expressed his pleasure for the opportunity to send the borough's congratulations and "for choosing our borough to hold this day of friendship." He mentioned his appreciation of the initiative to support the Haitian people, "a country with which we share a deep friendship and a common solidarity."

Left: Quebec folk dancing with Les Pieds Légers from Laval. Right: salsa de l'école Ritmo Picante

From 4:00-6:00 pm a cocktail service accompanied the dance workshops from the Ritmo Picante dance school and the dance troop Pieds Légers from Laval. People of all ages participated in square dancing sets and Cuban salsa dance.

The tent was filled with locals residents, friends of Cuba, families, including many from Montreal's Haitian and Latino communities when the evening program began at 7:00 pm. Emcee Maguy Métellus, a well-known personality from the Haitian community, set the tone by presenting the huge canvas of the Cuban Five created by Quebec artist Armand Vaillancourt which adorned the stage. She recalled that this September 12 marked the 12 years since the five were unjustly imprisoned in the U.S.

Lively speeches, interspersed with musical performances and poetry made for an evening as vibrant as the day. Several dignitaries and politicians spoke including Her Excellency the Cuban Ambassador to Canada Teresita Vicente, Cuban Consul,Laureano Cardoso, Consul General of Haiti in Montreal Pierre Richard Casimir, Consul of Bolivia Walter Estenssoro Borda, Consul General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Margarita Lesbia Morales Castillo, Hochelaga MP Daniel Paille, MPP for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Carole Poirier, Mary Deros of the City of Montreal and many more. The friendship between the peoples of Cuba, Haiti and Quebec and the defense of the peoples' were at the heart of the interventions, highlighting the peoples' unity based on common struggle and mutual assistance.

Also present were the renowned Haitian storyteller Jean-Claude Martineau, Gaétan Chateauneuf, president of the Montreal Central Council of the National Confederation of Unions (CSN), and Armand Vaillancourt, who each hailed the struggles of the peoples of the Americas against the U.S. empire. 

On the musical front, pianist Vic Vogel and his orchestra, musical group Acalanto, Jules Cousineau and company, and the group Los Québécos Del Son lit up the room with their rhythm and music and had everyone dancing, singing and applauding the night away.

It was a full day honouring the friendship between peoples and emphasizing that, together, a better world is possible!


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