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      CNC Canada Tour in Solidarity with Cuba - A Great Success with full house in Vancouver

      By Tamara Hansen

      On Tuesday, April 3rd four organzations came together to host two special Cuban guests for a well attended and timely event titled, “Elections and Democracy in Revolutionary Cuba”. 90 people packed the room at the Vancouver Public Library to hear Cuban parliamentarian Juan Carlos Rodriguez Diaz and Yamil Martinez Marrero, Director of the Canada Desk at Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People (ICAP) speak about the recent elections in Cuba, as well as the upcoming Che Guevara Volunteer Work Brigade to Cuba.

      The event was part of a nine-city cross-Canada tour organized by the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC), with the Vancouver event endorsed by Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC), Friends of Cuba Against the US Blockade – Vancouver, the Communist League, Stories from the Salish Sea and the FMLN-Vancouver.

      Juan Carlos Rodriguez Diaz is a member of Cuba’s National Assembly of People's Power, as well as a Historian of the City of Pinar del Rio and Professor at the “Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca” University. Given his unique qualifications and experience – he was able to delve into detail regarding the development of Cuba's revolutionary democracy. He emphasized Cuba's unique achievements since the 1959 Revolution, despite ongoing attacks by the United States. The room burst into applause when he announced that after the most recent March election of Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power, the assembly is now over 53% women. This is the highest percentage of any country in the world which does not use gender quotas.

      Yamil Martinez invited everyone to participate in the Che Guevara Brigade this year – emphasizing that it would be in collaboration with the May 1st International Brigade. Not only will 'Brigadistas' get to experience Cuba through tours and volunteer work, they will also be able to share the experience with people from across Canada and around the world. There were many past, present and future Brigade members in the audience who were able to share their own questions and experiences.

      VCSC Coordinator Tamara Hansen chaired the meeting and led the lively discussion period following the speakers. Participants took full advantage of having two Cuban experts with a vast combined knowledge and expertise, and the discussion ended only because the library was closing its doors! Coast Salish Elder Kelly White led both the opening and closing of the event. She welcomed the Cuban guests to unceded Coast Salish territory and also presented them with ceremonial blankets as part of the closing ceremony. The room also made a circle where everyone was able to greet not only the special guests, but all those participating in the event.

      This special event confirmed again that not only is Cuba continuing to make important gains on an ambitious revolutionary path, but also that their lessons and experience present important and unique lessons for those interested in building a better world. VCSC would like to thank our two special Cuban guests and the many event participants who made for such an incredible evening!

      For Juan Carlos Rodriguez Diaz' speech at the event click here.

      Follow Tamara Hansen on Twitter: @THans01

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