On August 23, 1960, the Cuban Federation of Women (FMC) held its founding meeting led by Vilma Espín Guillois, a leader of the Cuban revolution and the eternal president of the Federation of Cuban Women. 60 years later the FMC has become one of the world’s largest feminist organizations. With 4 million members and the involvement of over 90% of Cuban women over the age of 14. The FMC continues to develop policies and programs aimed at achieving full equality for women in all spheres of Cuban society.
This significant anniversary has been celebrated in Cuba with the FMC and by solidarity organizations around the world. Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) participated in many of these events, and also brought people together online for a webinar of inspiring speakers, music and poetry to celebrate 60 years of the FMC on August 20.
The event host Tamara Hansen, coordinator of VCSC, started the event in both English and Spanish, and introduced Coast Salish Elder and long time Indigenous activist Kelly White, and Jackie Hans of the Haida nation.
Tamara then explained how the FMC was a vital part of what Comandante Fidel Castro famously called "A revolution within the revolution” led by Cuban women. The program continued with Azza Rojbi, coordinator of Friends of Cuba Against the US Blockade – Vancouver, who read a poem by Nancy Morejon, a renowned Afro-Cuban poet.
Participants then heard video greetings direct from Cuba, from Teresa Amarelle Boué, General Secretary of the FMC; Sandra Ramirez Rodriguez, Director of the North America Desk of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP); and Gretel Marante Roset, the International Foreign Affairs representative at the national office of the FMC. Teresa, Sandra and Gretel spoke to the importance of the FMC and the role of women in the Cuban revolution and today.
The next speaker was Janine Solanki, national coordinator of the Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade to Cuba, who read from an interview with Vilma Espin, and then invited people to join the 27th Che Brigade in 2021. Participants then were treated to the music of Cuban rapper and poet Magia López Cabrera, who is half of the phenomenal duo Obsesion de Cuba. Her lyrics were then translated to English by Alison Bodine from Friends of Cuba Against the US Blockade – Vancouver, so that all could fully appreciate Magia's poetry.
The featured speaker was Her Excellency Josefina Vidal, Cuban Ambassador to Canada. Josefina Vidal shared details on how Cuban women are leading the future of Cuba throughout Cuban society, and later answered many questions from participants.
The program continued with Stephany Mazuera Vargas. Stephany is originally from Columbia and became a doctor after studying at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana, Cuba. Through her poetry she shared the impact Cuba had on her as a medical student.
This event was a beautiful celebration, and also an opportunity to learn about the inspiring example Cuba and the FMC provides to struggles for equality and justice in Canada and around the world.
To find out about upcoming events with VCSC visit www.vancubasolidarity.com, find VCSC on Facebook @VanCubaSolidarity or Twitter and Instagram @VanCuba_VCSC
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