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      2018 marks the beginning of the 60th year of the Cuban Revolution
      VCSC Hosts a Successful 13th Annual New Year’s Eve Party!

      By Tamara Hansen

      On December 31, 2017 the doors to the Heritage Hall in New Westminster, BC, Canada opened at 8pm for the 13th annual New Year’s Eve Party celebrating 59 years of the Cuban revolution! Over 200 people of all ages and backgrounds came through the doors to enjoy an evening of delicious food and drinks, inspiring live music, dynamic speakers, great decorations, a photobooth, Cuban raffle prizes, 2 DJs, a free salsa dance lesson, and lots and lots of dancing!

      The evening began with host, Tamara Hansen, the coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC), welcoming everyone and inviting shíshálh elder Eagle Eyes up to speak and acknowledge the unceded territory of the Qay’qayt nation and Coast Salish peoples. Eagle Eyes also spoke about the special significance of January 2018 as a month with two super moons, which are a good omen in his culture. Tamara then explained to the audience why VCSC was organizing its 13th annual New Year’s Eve Party in celebration of the Cuban revolution by explaining how 2018 marks the beginning of the 60th year of the Cuban revolution, which has made incredible achievements for the Cuban people and inspired millions of people around the world to struggle for a better world. 2018 will also mark the final year that Raul Castro is president of Cuba, as he will be stepping down in April 2018, after the Cuban people complete this current round of elections. It is a time of big changes in Cuba, but also a time of continued commitment to fight to guard the socialist gains of the Cuban revolution: from healthcare, to education, to culture, to internationalism and beyond.

      Tamara then invited up the first musical guests, Beto and Terrel, who performed beautiful guitar and flute music, which set a warm mood for the event. Tamara then introduced Janine Solanki, an organizer with VCSC, who spoke and shared photos from her trip to Cuba with the 2017 Ernesto Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade, inviting everyone to participate in the excellent 2018 program. She was followed by Maria Melendez and Pablo Mairena who got the audience singing along with some of their Latin-American social justice guitar classics. Then Alison Bodine, coordinator of the Fire This Time Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, was invited up to give a special announcement about the ongoing threats by the governments of the U.S. and Canada against the sovereign people and government of Venezuela, led by President Nicolas Maduro. She invited everyone to sign the parliamentary petition demanding “Canada Hands off Venezuela”. Tamara then introduced Honduran singer and songwriter, MX Katracho. He sang soulful celebrational songs, to get everyone in the mood for a party! Soon it was time for the salsa lesson with Janine and Nick, who brought dozens of people to the dance floor to refresh their salsa moves. As the lesson finished, everyone was called to the dance floor by the jams of DJ Carlitos Tunes Tunes and DJ 100Fuegos.

      As the saying goes, ‘time flies when you are having fun’ and suddenly it was nearly midnight, and 2018 was upon us! VCSC organizers distributed noisemakers and glow sticks, with everyone joining together on the dance floor. The countdown began: 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… HAPPY NEW YEAR! As people hugged, kissed, and welcomed the New Year, they also shouted “VIVA CUBA!”

      DJs Carlitos Tunes Tunes and 100Fuegos kept the evening going well after midnight, as people danced, chatted, drank, ate, and enjoyed themselves. Before long it was time for the raffle draw, when four lucky winners took home some awesome prizes, including: Cuban t-shirts, books, and Havana Club rum. As the final songs wrapped up the evening, friends and families left with smiles on their faces, looking forward to a great new year of solidarity and friendship!

      Follow Tamara Hansen on Twitter: @THans01

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