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      New Year's Eve 2016/2017
      12th Annual VCSC Party Celebrates the Cuban Revolution!

      By Tamara Hansen

      On December 31, 2016 at 8pm the doors of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in East Vancouver, opened to warmly welcome everyone to VCSC’s 12th Annual New Year’s Eve Party in Celebration of the Gains of the Cuban Revolution. Banners, art, streamers, balloons, tinsel, colourful lights & Cuban flags decorated the hall for the festive celebration. A diverse group of people came together all ages, ethnic communities, and backgrounds to enjoy delicious Cuban food & drinks and welcome the New Year!

      Over 140 friends, families and community members came together in support of the Cuban revolution, as the program began the co-hosts Tamara Hansen, Coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC), and Colleen Glynn, executive member of VCSC and President of the Richmond NDP, reflected on the work of VCSC and what the legacy of Comandante Fidel Castro means for that work. Tamara remarked, "This is the first anniversary after 58 years of the Cuban revolution that we celebrate after the passing to Comandante Fidel Castro, but his message to us is clear – it is not time to mourn and be sad – it is time to learn from his vision and legacy and continue forward. Until Victory Always! Hasta La Victoria Siempre! ¡Comandante Fidel Presente Ahora y Siempre! This means Comandante Fidel is present here with us, now and forever!”

      The welcoming was followed by beautiful solidarity video greetings from Julio Garmendía Peña, the Cuban Ambassador to Canada and Wilfredo Pérez Bianco, the Venezuelan Consul General in Vancouver. Both emphasized the need to continue solidarity work in Vancouver and across Canada to support the Cuban and Venezuelan revolutionary processes.

      The first live music act then took the stage, hip hop artists Joose Justis & Corvid energized the crowd with their lyrics and dynamism.

      Once the hip hop set concluded, Bryan Sproule, an organizer with the Communist Party of Canada – Marxist-Leninist brought greetings from his party to the event. He was followed by three 2016 Brigadistas, Azza Rojbi, Max Tennant and Janine Solanki, who recounted their memories from volunteering in Cuba on the Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade and invited everyone to join the trip in 2017!

      The second live musician then took the stage, El MX Katracho, sang salsa from the soul, getting many guests out of their seats and onto the dance floor. Once el MX Katracho got everyone warmed up, the salsa lesson began with Janine Solanki, who got everyone prepared for the dancing leading up to 2017.

      Soon it was time for the dancing, dancing and more dancing with our two DJs: DJ 100Fuegos & DJ Carlitos Tunes Tunes! Playing everything from Buena Vista Social Club to the Beatles, Descemer Bueno to Taylor Swift there were songs for everyone. 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2….1…HAPPY NEW YEAR! The countdown to midnight rang out as balloons drop, people danced, hugged, kissed and offered each other best wishes for the New Year.

      The evening ended with the raffle draw and giving away some great Cuban prizes and an invitation for all to join Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba in its great upcoming activities in solidarity with the Cuban people and their revolution! For more information on VCSC Cuba Solidarity events visit: www.vancubasolidarity.com

      Follow Tamara on Twitter: @THans01

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