“I have, let's see,
I have the pleasure of going about my country,
owner of all there is in it,
looking closely at what
I did not or could not have before.
I can say cane,
I can say mountain,
I can say city,
now forever mine and yours, ours,
and the vast splendor of
the sunbeam, star, flower.”
- from “I Have” by Nicolás Guillén (National Poet of Cuba)
There’s a special feeling in knowing that when the clock strikes 12 and you are celebrating with 250 others in Vancouver, Canada, you are also celebrating with over 11 million Cubans, and millions more around the world. Celebrating not only a new year, but the anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. The Revolution which brought to an abrupt end centuries of imperialist domination and gave space and substance to the power and potential of the Cuban people. The Revolution which lit a star of hope in the sky for the rest of the world to follow and which continues to burn brightly, especially in the evening on December 31st.
Donation to Hurricane Sandy Relief
Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) once again organized its annual New Year’s Celebration of the Cuban Revolution, this year marking the Revolution’s 54th Anniversary. The event also had another important objective: giving back to Cuba which has given so much to the world. All money raised was donated to Cuba for Hurricane Sandy Relief. The amount totaled $3000, which will help rebuild housing and infrastructure on the Eastern part of the island as part of the Canadian Network on Cuba’s “Sandy Relief Fund”.
The Evening of Revolutionary Politics, Dance and Fun
The evening opened with MC and VCSC Coordinator Tamara Hansen summarizing the events which led up to the hasty departure of US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista and his associates on January 1st, 1959. They had realized their defeat by the revolutionary Rebel Army led by Fidel Castro was imminent, and this became the first New Year’s Eve where the masses of Cuban people were able to celebrate the triumph of Cuba’s Socialist Revolution.
Co-MC and VCSC Executive Committee member Colleen Glynn also gave a report on the huge damage Cuba suffered this year when Hurricane Sandy tore through the Eastern part of the island. Videos were shown both of damage, but also of Cuban President Raul Castro who arrived in the hurricane damaged area to personally coordinate reconstruction efforts.
The evening also reflected on the struggle to free the Cuban 5 Heroes imprisoned in the United States. This was the 15th consecutive year they have spent their New Year separated from their families for defending their country from U.S. backed terrorists. However, this was also the 15th consecutive year where the Cuban Five have once again demonstrated their unwavering spirit and commitment to defending the Cuban Revolution and to social justice.
Javier Domokos Ruiz, Consul General of Cuba in Toronto, gave special greetings via telephone, reaffirming Cuba’s commitment to defend and extend the gains of the Cuban Socialist Revolution. Gisela Lara, First Consul of the Venezuelan Consulate in Vancouver, also gave warm greetings to the event. She emphasized both the long friendship between the Cuban and Venezuelan Revolutions, but also the Venezuelan people’s continued support of President Hugo Chavez and their Revolution.
Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade to Cuba
VCSC Executive Committee member Thomas Davies invited everyone to join this year’s annual Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade to Cuba. Using slides from last year’s voyage, he showed people how this amazing 3 week trip is a life changing experience of adventure, volunteering, politics, and fun! Everyone received a Brigade informational brochure, and there was a lot of interest in the room to join in.
By the time Vancouver hip-hop artist Joose Justis hit the stage every chair in the hall was full, and more people kept arriving as his high energy set unfolded. This continued as Joose handed the mic to Pablo and Angelo, who got the growing crowd moving with their unique fusion of Latin and rock rhythms.
DJ 100Fuegos had no trouble filling the dance floor as chairs were cleared and feet began to move together with the beats and harmonies. The atmosphere resembled a Cuban block party – people from seven to seventy and everywhere in between danced, laughed, and talked together. They also ate together as the kitchen was busy the entire evening serving special Venezuelan dishes from Magda’s Restaurant.
New Year of More Struggle
As the New Year approached the crowd came close for the countdown… “3, 2,1…Happy New Year! Viva la Revolucion!” Old and new friends hugged as they were showered in balloons from the ceiling and the screen at the front of the room showed historical footage of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and its continuing gains.
The dancing continued much longer, and was capped by an exciting raffle with many happy winners. Even as the late hour became late, nobody seemed to be in a hurry to get home as many lingered to check out the information tables, sign petitions, or simply to talk about the excitement of a new year and new possibilities.
2013 will be another year in the fight for the better world we all know is possible, and Cuba will once again be leading the way forward. Don’t miss your chance to participate in many more events organized by Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) on our way to celebrating the 55th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution!
VIVA LA REVOLUCION CUBANA!
A BETTER WORLD IS POSSIBLE!
DONATIONS TO CUBA FOR HURRICANE RELIEF ARE STILL BEING ACCEPTED!
To donate to the Canadian Network on Cuba’s “Sandy Relief Fund” make a cheque out to “Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba” and write “CNC Sandy Relief Fund” on your cheque’s memo line. Your donation is tax deductable. We will forward the donation and your information to the Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund to receive tax receipts. Please also include your name, address, and phone numbers so we can forward your tax return to you. Call 778-882-5223 for more information!
Back to Article Listing