Monday, October 27, 2008

2009 NSCUBA Calendar Now Available!

The 2009  "Cuba... es Linda"  Calendar is now available for the bargain price of  $15! 

This year's calendar is an improvement over the last one. The entire calendar is printed on cover weight paper, which means there will be no wrinkled pages and it looks more attractive overall. 

The calendars are bound with a coil rather than stapled and folded. They now hang flat against the wall, without buckling and bumping and will not be affected by humidity. Thanks to the editing efforts of our calendar committee, there are few, if any errors. Those found in the first run have been corrected. 

All calendars are packaged in a sealed plastic sleeve for a more professional presentation if they are given as a gift, and to avoid been "thumbed through" when on display.'


Don't miss the opportunity to purchase these beautiful calendars for yourself or as gifts for friends!   

Purchase inquiries:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Like a Nuclear Bomb!

Fidel Castro described the destruction left by Category Four Hurricane Gustav as similar to the aftermath of a nuclear bombing. While the damage is extensive, and will take years to put right, the island’s renowned Civil Defense system evacuated hundreds of thousands of people from Gustav’s path, ensuring that whatever impact the hurricane might have, it would not cost human lives.

In co-operation with Cuba friendship groups across the nation, NSCUBA is calling on the Canadian government to act swiftly in the provision of emergency aid to Cuba and Haiti, also hard-hit by the storm.

Your financial contributions to our Hurricane Relief Fund (managed by the Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC)) are urgently needed to help Cuba obtain housing materials, rebuild the electrical grid and the communications infrastructure.

Please send cheques payable to Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund and mail to:

Sharon Skup (treasurer)

56 Riverwood Terrace

Bolton, ON

L7E 1S4

And write Cuba Hurricane Fund on the memo line of the cheque. Charitable tax receipts will be issued.

The Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund is a charitable organization and working with the CNC and members. [Revenue Canada registration # 88876 9197]

Canada and Cuba

Politically & economically, Canada and Cuba have had an uninterrupted - though sometimes rocky - relationship.  Canada and México, as partners in the NAFTA accord with the United States, under considerable pressure to embrace a “hard line” approach vis-à-vis Cuba, pressure they have for the most part resisted.  During the 1970s and early 1980s, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau maintained a strong political relationship with Cuba and a personal friendship with Fidel Castro.

This is not to say that Canada is supportive of the Revolution.  The basic goals of Canada toward Cuba are in some aspects the same: a desire for a multi-party electoral system (whereas Cuba sees its electoral system, free of political parties, big-money lobbying and adversarial politics, as being appropriate for its citizens); Canada would also prefer a “freer” economy, i.e., one that is less restrictive of foreign investment and which permits foreign ownership (Cuba has a highly regulated foreign investment scheme, in which more than 95% of foreign partners are restricted to less than 49% ownership in domestic investments, with the Cuban government maintaining 51%.  This, coupled with a policy which permits investment only in strategic sectors, gives the government considerable ability to pursue national development goals as a prime objective, rather than as a byproduct of economic activity).
Culturally, Canada and Cuba enjoy a very strong relationship.  In Nova Scotia, the Los Primos Project - a labour of love undertaken by musician Jeff Goodspeed and his wife, Amara, connect young musicians with their counterparts at a conservatory in Havana.  This relationship has grown beyond their expectations, resulting in a documentary and annual visits by Canadians youth to Cuba and Cubans to Canada. There are dozens of other links, from the Canada-Cuba Sports and Cultural Festivals group, to university programmes that have hundreds of Canadian students studying in Cuba annually, and exchange programmes such as Canada World Youth.  Also of note is thCanada Cuba Farmer-to-Farmer Project, which connects Canadian farmers with their counterparts in Cuba, where they learn about Cuba’s phenomenal success in organic agriculture and urban gardening.
It would be difficult to accumulate here an updated listing of all the cultural connections Canada and Cuba share.  You may visit the Canadian Network on Cuba ( for links to many more examples of our two countries’ cultural relationships.
For more information on Canada’s activities in Cuba, visit the webpage of the Embassy of Canada in Cuba.

It's a Long Way to Las Tunas (February 2004)

Tue, 17 Feb 2004
N. Donnell Beaton
[Pictured at right are Tracy Austin, Front Sales with Harding  Medical Supplies, and NSCUBA member Donnell Beaton]
It was in October, 2003, when I received my first e-mail from Cuba telling me that a 72 year old man in Las Tunas was in dire need of a specialized wheelchair. By coincidence, during that same week I went to the Baddeck dumpsite where I noticed six old wheelchairs resting on the pile of scrap metal.
With the aid of two of the attendants there and with their permission I took the six chairs and put them in my van, subsequently storing them in my shed in Baddeck with the intention of having them checked out by someone and eventually sending them to Cuba.
The tone and content of this e-mail from Cuba instilled in me a sense of urgency. Here was a 72 year old father of five children, a chronic diabetic, depressed... a man who for 60 years had worked the sugar cane fields, was extremely active as a revolutionary in Castro's fight against the dictator Batista and now he was reduced to a mere torso.
For many years I had been working with MediCuba, sourcing and procuring medicines for the Cuban people and I have been an active volunteer with NSCUBA (Nova Scotia Cuba Association).
On a trip to Bedford, I took two of the best wheelchairs with me, and approached Harding Medical Supplies Ltd. in Halifax to advise me as to their usefulness.
I was told by the Harding people that one of the chairs was usable, and the other chair was not salvageable. They told me that they would upgrade the better chair and that they would donate a specialized chair for this man if I was to get his specifications. A week later, I picked up our newly reconditioned wheelchair, and a brand new donated wheelchair for this 72 year old Cuban.
[As a special note of thanks, Mr. Harding, of harding Medical Supplies Ltd. of Halifax and his team of workers must be considered one of the most humanitarian companies I have ever had the privilege of dealing with.] 

Now came the challenge: how to get this specialized chair to Cuba. Cuba has a policy that whatever donations that are brought into the country dealing with medical matters, the decision as to who gets what is made by the Cuban medical authorities. For example, maybe a child, or someone more needy should have this chair, in their estimation. However, this chair was made to the specifications of a particular person and I was determined to get the chair to him.
At the José Martí International airport I was met by no less than three customs agents and a sniffer dog, all of whom were interested in taking the wheelchair from me just as a course of their duties. None of the four were interested in my stilted Spanish explaination, and my protesting, but with the help of some letters given to me by NSCUBA and my pleading expression they finally relented and let me go... with the wheelchair!
The trip to Las Tunas has not been uneventful, add to the mix of bad roads (the type of road where you drive into one side of a pot-hole and out the other side), bicycles, oxen, assorted other animals, hitch hikers, bad tires, and other critters... one can have a hazardous adventure.
One of the first things I learned was to pick up a Cuban hitch hiker who looked like a worker (if one can reasonably make that assumption) the reasoning for this was that just about every Cuban man knows how to repair, take apart, and assemble every known car in Cuba, indicative of the 1950's-era cars still operating in the country. I felt that I had insurance against any car problems because the distance was great, and there are no lights at night.
Day 2 finds me in Las Tunas Plaza listening to beautiful band music. These bands, of which there are hundreds in Cuba, come and go during any time of the day when and where they are able to jam, meet old friends, and entertain the people.
Life seems to be s little better for Many Cubans, tourism is good, the sugar cane harvest is better and optimism is always present, ie., things were bad last year, but will be better this year. (Attitude is Everything)
I look for a Casa Particular, similar to our B&B where the owners are especiallyÊvery gracious of any Canadian willing to talk whith them, and to spend a few days. One immediately becomes a member of the family (my house is your house) and within minutes there are four people interested in who I am.
I explain my presence in LasTunas and immediately a process is put into place with all of them talking at once. The strategy is set up where one person will contact the father's daughter, Maritza, and one person will come with me to the house, in order to deliver the wheelchair. So we proceed with the plan. After many attempts to telephone Maritza, finally we were able to get through. Maritza is one of the daughters, and through her local government connection she had access to a computer which has e-mail and it was in this way that I was initially contacted.
My "new family" offer to come to Maritza's office, from which we proceed to Maritza's father's home, which is some distance from the center of LasTunas. Again, I discover rough dirt roads, chickens, pigs, dogs and people walking.
We arrive at Maritza's father's house which appears to be one of the most neglected areas of Las Tunas. I find the father sitting in a large chair at the open doorway looking out toward to road. He begins to cry from happiness along with several family members, including Maritza, including myself, at the happiness of this man, as I carry the wheelchair toward the house.
His sons lifted Papa into the new wheelchair. He raised his hands in a sign of victory, then grasped both my hands and thanked me profusely in Spanish, not a word of which I could understand.
It was late in the day, but I had to promise to come back the next day for a visit.
On my arrival the next day, after traumatizing more chickens, pigs and dogs I was greeted not only by the whole family, but half the neighbourhood, all of whom who wanted to drink a toast to my health and to my little adventure. Of course they were all talking at once and but you could certainly tell from their expressions that they appreciated someone helping Papa.
Pictures of the family were taken, with Papa in the new wheelchair, and they wished me well on my return trip to Canada.
NSCUBA additional note:
We commend Don Beaton for his humanitarianism and selfless act of support for Maritza and her father. He is a true friend of the Cuban people and a steadfast activist for stronger ties of friendship and cooperation between Canada and Cuba.
It is very rare that we are in a position to provide this sort of assistance to an individual family in Cuba. The logistics of shipping, importing, customs and in-country transport are challenging. For this reason, NSCUBA typically operates with a Cuban institutional partner, which coordinates the distribution of material to where it is most needed. (As of 2005, we are no longer shipping material goods to Cuba)
This story would not exist also were it not for the reality of contemporary Cuba, in which a nation which once was able to provide sufficiently for all members of society is now forced to distribute meagre resources among many who are in need. The U.S. economic embargo of Cuba has these very real effects upon the people of Cuba. The additional money spent by the Cuban government to import goods from those countries who are willing to trade, despite the threat of reprisals from the U.S., is considerable. Shipping costs alone - with material coming from China, Vietnam and the Mid-East - add millions to the cost of providing for Cuba's citizens.
Medical donations and humanitarian support do help to alleviate some of the difficulties faced by Cubans every day. But more importantly, the struggle must continue against the U.S. foreign policy which negatively affects Cuba's ability to participate fairly on the world markets. Your support of NSCUBA's activities - locally, nationally and internationally - can help to address this situation.

Contact Us!

NSCUBA meets several times a year. New members who share our goal of improved social / cultural / economic / political ties between Canada and Cuba are welcomed.

NSCUBA maintains two mailing lists, one for casual members who are interested in our events and priority news / analysis pertaining to Cuba, and an internal list for the more active membership who participate in event organization and deeper discussions. In all cases, members new and old are encouraged to post their questions, opinions and any Cuba-relevant  items found in the local media for broader awareness and, if necessary, response.

Our mailing address:

The Nova-Scotia Cuba Association (NSCUBA)
17 Walter Havill Drive
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada, B3N 3H4
To contact us via email:

We look forward to hearing from you!

Canada's Response to the Helms-Burton Act (1996)

[Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade]
January 18, 1996 / No. 8

Foreign Affairs Minister André Ouellet and Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada Allan Rock today announced that Canada has amended a 1992 order designed to block attempts by the United States to restrict trade between Cuba and U.S.-owned subsidiaries based in Canada.
The original order, signed October 9, 1992 and issued under the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act, has been revised by the Attorney General with the concurrence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to cover all extraterritorial U.S. measures taken at all levels of government aimed at impeding trade between Canada and Cuba.
The amended order applies to trade in services, including technology, in addition to goods. It also broadens the definition of trade between Canada and Cuba by obliging U.S. subsidiaries in Canada to deal on a normal business basis with "specially designated nationals." This designation has been used by the United States to prohibit certain Canadian companies, which do business in Cuba, from doing any business in Canada with subsidiaries of U.S. companies.
"We have made it clear time and again to the U.S. Congress and Administration that Canada will not tolerate any interference in the sovereignty of Canadian laws," said Mr. Ouellet. "Canada will continue to monitor actions by the United States to ensure that the interests of Canadian businesses are protected."
Mr. Rock said: "This is part of our ongoing policy to resist intrusions of U.S. law into Canada, which would negatively affect the conduct of Canadian trade abroad. Canadian companies will carry out Canadian business under the laws and regulations of Canada, and not those of a foreign country." The order further requires these companies to report to the Attorney General of Canada any instructions or attempts to influence their trade with Cuba.
- 30 -
For further information, media representatives may contact:
Media Relations Office
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
(613) 995-1874
Irene Arseneau
Communications and Executive Services
Department of Justice
(613) 957-4207
(as amended)
short title
1. This Order may be cited as the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures (United States) Order, 1992.
2. In this Order,
"Canadian corporation" means a corporation that is registered or incorporated under the laws of Canada or of a province and that carries on business in whole or in part in Canada; (personne morale canadienne)
"extraterritorial measure of the United States" means
(a) the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 31, Part 515, as amended from time to time or replaced, and
(b) any law, statute, regulation, by-law, ordinance, order, judgment, ruling, resolution, denial of authorization, directive, guideline or other enactment, instrument, decision or communication having a purpose similar to that of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations referred to in paragraph (a), whether enacted, passed, made, done, voted, established, issued, rendered, given, taken or executed by any legislative, executive, administrative, regulatory, judicial or quasi-judicial authority or body of the United States, the District of Columbia or any of the member states or territories or possessions of the United States, or any municipality or other local authority in the United States or its territories or possessions,to the extent that they operate or are likely to operate so as to prevent, impede or reduce trade or commerce between Canada and Cuba;
(mesure extraterritoriale des …tats-Unis)
"trade or commerce between Canada and Cuba" means trade or commerce, including the free exchange of goods and services, between Canada, or Canadian nationals, corporations or other legal entities or federal, provincial or local government institutions, and
(a) Cuba, or Cuban nationals, corporations or other legal entities or national, provincial or local government institutions, or
(b) Canadian nationals or corporations that are designated as, deemed to be, or otherwise treated as, Cuban nationals or corporations by or pursuant to an extraterritorial measure of the United States, whether by the use of the expression "designated national" or "specially designated national" or in any other manner. (commerce ou échanges entre le Canada et Cuba)
3. (1) Every Canadian corporation and every director and officer of a Canadian corporation shall forthwith give notice to the Attorney General of Canada of any directive, instruction, intimation of policy or other communication relating to an extraterritorial measure of the United States in respect of any trade or commerce between Canada and Cuba that the Canadian corporation, director or officer has received from a person who is in a position to direct or influence the policies of the Canadian corporation in Canada.
(2) The notice referred to in subsection (1) may be given by an authorized agent of the Canadian corporation, director or officer.
4. The notice referred to in section 3 shall be sent by registered mail to the Attorney General of Canada at Ottawa and set out
(a) the name or names and capacity of the person or persons giving notice under subsection 3(1) or on whose behalf notice is given under subsection 3(2), and in the latter case the names, capacity and address of the agent;
(b) the name or names and capacity of the person or persons from whom the communication originated;
(c) the full text or, if it is not in writing, the purport of the communication;
(d) the date or dates when the communication was received; and
(e) the period during which the communication is intended to be in effect.
5. No Canadian corporation and no director, officer, manager or employee in a position of authority of a Canadian corporation shall, in respect of any trade or commerce between Canada and Cuba, comply with an extraterritorial measure of the United States or with any directive, instruction, intimation of policy or other communication relating to such a measure that the Canadian corporation or director, officer, manager or employee has received from a person who is in a position to direct or influence the policies of the Canadian corporation in Canada.
6. Section 5 applies in respect of any act or omission constituting compliance, in respect of any trade or commerce between Canada and Cuba, with an extraterritorial measure of the United States or a communication referred to in that section, whether or not compliance with that measure or communication is the only purpose of the act or omission.
Users of this consolidation are reminded that it is prepared for convenience of reference only and that, as such, it has no official sanction.
© Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, September 1996