Monday, November 5, 2012


4:12am Nov 4

November 1, 2012

The Canadian Network on Cuba launches its 

"Sandy Relief Fund" Campaign

At 1:25 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25th, Hurricane Sandy entered Cuba

just west of Santiago de Cuba as a category 2 hurricane. However
the extent and speed of Sandy gave it a destructive capability as great
as any of the category 5 hurricanes. Its central path took it rapidly
through the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Holguín and Guantánamo,
the former two provinces being the most populous in Cuba after
the City of Havana.

The hurricane devastated the heroic city of Santiago de Cuba, 

destroying houses, damaging public buildings and monuments,
leaving the city without water supply, electricity, shops, markets 
and trees. Despite massive evacuations, it took a toll of some 11 
human lives, an unusually high number in Cuba for hurricanes
(mainly by collapsing buildings) — 132,733 houses were affected 
with 15,322 totally destroyed and 43,426 losing roofs. Massive damage, 
not yet fully calculated, was caused in Guantánamo and Holguín 
before the hurricane left this province near Banes, precisely where
hurricane Ike had entered four years earlier. 

President Raúl Castro, visiting Santiago de Cuba on Sunday, Oct. 28, 

said that only urgent temporary measures can be taken and that the 
recovery of Santiago would take years. 

The emergency measures are well underway. Roads to healthcare

centres and other essential services were speedily cleared. Linemen
have been arriving from seven provinces to work together with local 
ones to restore electricity and telephone services. Roofing materials 
are arriving from neighbouring provinces such as Las Tunas. 
Temporary systems have been set up to provide 85% 
of the affected population with drinking water, and food supplies
have been arriving from throughout Cuba to Santiago 
and other severely affected parts of eastern Cuba. 
Cultural activity has not been overlooked, with some cultural centres 
being promptly and reopened, with artists from different parts of the 
country to join local artists in lifting the spirits of the people.

Good friends of Cuba have also been prompt to supply assistance. 

Venezuela, for example, has given 650 tons of help including 
non-perishable food, drinking water and heavy machinery to Cuba, 
with some going to Haiti. However, the need remains great. 
Cuba continues to give its help to Haiti, which, although not directly
hit by Sandy, suffered much destruction from flooding, with scores 
of lives lost.

Cuban provinces as far east as Villa Clara and Cienfuegos 

suffered from high winds and flooding due to heavy rainfall.

Canadians have responded generously in the past to disasters 

affecting Cuba and other Caribbean countries suffering from 
natural disasters. With great gratitude we recall that from coast to 
coast they responded to requests from the Canadian Network on Cuba, 
the umbrella group representing friendship organizations with Cuba. 
We forwarded to Cuba after 2008, when the country was ravaged 
by three hurricanes, more than $404,000.00cad.

When on January 12, 2010, Haiti suffered the horrific earthquake, 

the CNC, recognizing that the most effective way of helping Haiti was
by doing so through Cuba, mounted its TO CUBA FOR HAITI Campaign, 
which so far has collected and sent to the Cuban Medical Brigade 
in Haiti $453,728.12 cad.

Cuba needs substantial help, both immediate and long term, in order to overcome the crisis brought on by hurricane Sandy. Cuba’s Ministry 

of External Commerce (MINCEX) is establishing an account to receive 
the financial contributions. As in all our previous fundraising efforts, 
every single penny donated will go to Cuba. Charitable tax receipts 
will be provided.

Our experience with regard to Cuba's response to natural disasters is 

that it knows how to multiply the value of any donations it receives. 
We feel confident, based on the island's unsurpassed humanitarian 
work both within Cuba and in other countries, that it has the skills, 
the organization and the ethical and moral values to put whatever aid 
it receives to the best possible use.

1) payable to the ‘Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund’ and mail 

to the Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund, Att: Sharon Skup 
56 Riverwood Terrace Bolton, ON L7E 1S4 

Please also write:
"CNC Sandy Relief Fund" on your cheque's memo line.
Charitable receipts will be issued by the 

Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund in 4-8weeks 
(Charitable Org - Revenue Canada Reg, #88876 9197R0001). 
There will be no administrative charges, not even for 
postage stamps or anything else.

Keith Ellis, Coordinator, CNC Sandy Relief Fund
 (905 822 1972;
Isaac Saney, CNC Co-Chair and National Spokesperson
Elizabeth Hill, CNC Co-Chair and Treasurer
Heide Trampus, Worker to Worker,
Canada-Cuba Labour Solidarity

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Washington Has No Authority to Judge Cuba, Foreign Ministry Statement

HAVANA, Cuba, Aug 1 (ACN)  The Cuban Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday strongly rejecting Washington’s inclusion of the island on its black list of countries that sponsor terrorism, and stressed that the United States has no authority to judge Cuba given its long-time use of state terrorism against the island.

The Foreign Ministry’s statement explains how, once again, the government of the United States includes Cuba on its unilateral and arbitrary list. Its main objective is trying to justify the US hostile policy of blockade against the island and new measures to keep chasing financial and commercial transactions --a further effort to strangle Cuban economy to try impose a regime serving US interests.

Washington has resorted to a “new and slanderous” accusation concerning an alleged lack of actions by the Cuban banking system against money laundry and terrorism-related financial transactions, the statement reads and notes that this is but an attempt by Washington to maintain its discredited anti-Cuba policy currently in force.

The Foreign Ministry notes that the United States also tries to hide the fact that Cuba truthfully and accurately reports, on a regular basis, to the United Nations on these issues and on the struggle against terrorism.

Washington has not replied yet to a recent proposal by Cuba, on February 2012, about the possibility of reaching agreement on a bilateral anti-terrorism program, according to the statement.

The U.S. no longer has authority to judge Cuba given its use of state terrorism against the island, which has resulted in 3 478 deaths and 2 099 mutilated persons, reads the statement and notes that the U.S. has historically been a safe haven for dozens of terrorists, while five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters are being unjustifiably incarcerated or held in that country.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry stresses that the United States constitutes the largest money laundry center on the planet, and that the lack of control of its financial system was the detonator of the global economic crisis.
Finally, the Cuban Foreign Ministry urges the US administration to stop lying and to end  such shameful practice, which offends the Cuban people and discredits the international fight against terrorism.

Cuba Denounces Operation Financed by USA Prior Pope's Visit

Havana, Aug 1 (Prensa Latina) Cuba denounced an operation financed by the U.S. government in March, to create internal disorders in the country during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the island.

  According to a special program broadcast on Tuesday night by the Cuban television, some days before the Pope's visit, the denominated Cuban Democratic Directorate, an organization from the Central Intelligence Agency (
CIA), directed the recruitment of eight young Mexicans to travel to the Caribbean country and promote subversive actions.

Between March 14 and 24, states the article, Cuban authorities detained four of those citizens, which has been recruited by Miguel Angel Pateyro. He had carried out activities to support internal counterrevolutionaries and have traveled to
Cuba twice.

Pateyro responds to commands from Rene Bolio, former substituting senator of the Mexican National Action Party and collaborator of that political party that has participated in actions against the island since 1999, coordinated with anti-Cuban organizations in
Miami, such as the mentioned Directorate and the Cuban-American National Foundation.

During a television interview, the four detainees, because the other four left the country after carrying out their activities, broadcast details of those actions provided for in Cuban territory.

Luis Antonio Nequiz, one of the Mexican citizens, stated that someone paid for his trip to
Cuba. His objective was to draw routes of the zone through which more people walk and could distribute leaflets.

Firstly, they showed us a video of the preparation to come to this country and later we were introduced to two members of the Cuban Democratic Directorate who came from
Miami, Moises Torres, another of the detainees, said.

Those people said that among their objectives were to take advantage of the media coverage for the Pope's visit to incite people to protest in the streets and take churches, distribute leaflets, and create disorders during the activities related to his Holiness' stay here.

They were also delivered a set of documents aimed to the members of the dissidence, which, if unable to reach their target, they should be destroyed while they reiterated the importance to behave as simple tourists and try to go unnoticed for authorities.

Although the four men were deported, this was not the only way through which they received instructions from
Miami. They had similar attitudes as organizations such as the so-called Republican Party of Cuba, which guided the use of churches for their provocations.

A telephone conversation between Ibrahim Bosch, member of the mentioned party based in
Miami, and counterrevolutionary Vladimir Calderon, was also broadcast. They talked about details of payments by the subversive actions to develop in the island.

President Raul Castro Sends Acknowledgements to Civil Defense System

 HAVANA, Cuba, Aug 1 (ACN)   Cuban President Raul Castro acknowledged on Tuesday the work done through the years by the Cuban Civil Defense System on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.
 The Cuban head of state sent the Chief of the Civil Defense System, division general Ramon Pardo Guerra a diploma, which was handed over during a ceremony in Havana by the member of the Political Bureau of Cuba’s Communist Party, deputy minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and Hero of the Republic of Cuba, army corps general Ramon Espinosa.
In his words at the ceremony, general Pardo Guerra recalled the founding of the island’s Civil Defense System back in July 31, 1962 with the historic mission of protecting the population and the country’s economic resources from any risk of an imperialist aggression and terrorist actions by internal counterrevolutionaries.
 In the presence of the main chiefs of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and Communist Party officials, a sculpture by artist Andres Gonzalez was unveiled on the occasion. The work, which symbolizes the contrast between  brutal forces of nature and the human solidarity of the Cuban people in their struggle against adversity,  was located near the Civil Defense headquarters and next to a plaque bearing a statement by Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro reading that “a Revolution is a force, which is more powerful than Nature.”

English Speaking Caribbean Celebrates Emancipation Day
Havana, Ago 1 (Prensa Latina) English-speaking Caribbean countries today celebrate the Emancipation Day, to matk the end of slavery imposed by Britain colonialism for almost four centuries.

  The celebration recalls the signing of the agreement that put an end to slavery in all
Britain clonies, in August 1, 1833. However the date was contradictory because only those under six months were free, while the others continued in to service for many years.

British dominion created a new form of colonialism, in which former slaves were forced to work 40 hours a week and live in subhuman conditions.

Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica commemorate the anniversary this August 1, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands and British Virgin Islands will do it on Monday.

After 179 of that date, ten countries in the area remain under the
Britain dominion, despite their people´s express wish to independence.

Leuris Pupo: first shooting gold medal at London
LONDON Leuris Pupo earned his first major championship and gave Cuba its first shooting gold medal at an Olympics, winning the 25-meter rapid fire pistol at the London Games on Friday.
Pupo scored 34 shots in the final, beating silver medalist Vijay Kumar of India by four shots. His only previous victory was at a World Cup event in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1998. At the past three Olympics, he finished ninth, eighth and seventh. 
"I can't believe it, but it's true," Pupo said. "This is the height of glory for the people in Cuba." 
Pupo said the win meant a lot for his family because his wife is pregnant. He said his mindset changed in the final as he went slightly ahead of the field.
"There were a lot of things going on in my mind," Pupo said. "First I was thinking about bronze. Then I started thinking I could win it."
Pupo reached the final in third position after Alexei Klimov of Russia set a world record in qualification with 592 points, a total that beat his own mark from 2006 by one point.
The world record gave Klimov no advantage for the final. All competitors started from zero under the new Olympic format, eight series in which each shooter fires five shots within four seconds.
From the fourth series, the lowest-scoring competitor is eliminated from the competition. Scoring is hit-or-miss, with any score above 9.6 counting as a hit.
Before the final, Klimov admitted being "a little nervous" but added he was "feeling very positive. New rules mean I must start from scratch."
But he missed five shots total in the third and fourth rounds and could not catch up. He was eliminated after the sixth of the eight series.
Klimov became the second shooter at the London Olympics to set a world record on Friday, after Sergei Martynov of Belarus beat the 12-year-old world record in 50-meter rifle prone by 0.7 point. He won gold with a final score of 705.5 points.
After finishing second in two World Cup events this year, Christian Reitz of Germany was regarded as one of the favorites in 25-meter rapid fire pistol. But he missed four times in his first two series and was the first shooter eliminated in the final.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Moncada Day Celebration in Halifax

The stands!
The shelter!
Welcome Leslie!
"Patria es Humanidad!" ---Motherland is Benevolence! Motherland is Humanity!
Books and Songs...
Despite the rain...
Raging Grannies: raging for Cuba...

Hello Friends of NSCUBA (Nova Scotia Cuba Association)I am taking a few minutes of my time to send a big "THANK YOU" to you for your interest, time and participation in our 2012 Moncada Day event at Victoria Park on July 27.Despite the rainy day we were able to continue with our plans, thanks to your committment and to our shelters!It takes many people to make such an event work and to make it successful.I hope that you all had time to talk, to make a new friend, and to enjoy the days activities.I certainly enjoyed seeing all of you there!I will happily appreciate any comments you may have to help make the next Moncada Day, 2013, even more thought provoking, more successful and more interesting and with fun for all. Your suggestions for  speakers and topics to add to the flavour of our educational aspect on this day are also appreciated. Musicians willing to participate are welcome. Please pass along names and e-mails or phone numbers.
Thanks to speakers:
   Tony Tracey; Megan Leslie; John Kirk; Mike Savage; Nora Fernandez; Jeff Goodspeed; Augusto Enriquez; Isaac Saney; Stephen Kimber.
Thanks to poets:
    Ambros Prechtl and EL Jones
Thanks for music and singing: Art Drysdale; Kevin Roach; Raging Grannies.
Thanks for dancing:  Halifax Salseros.
Thanks for MC: Nelson Larson.
Thanks for Art Display: Jude Claborn Skaling.
Thanks for food preparation: Randy Skaling; Ruth Wilton.
Thanks for helping set up and take down and for posting the banners:
    Nels and Ruth Larson, Charles Spurr, Ruth and Laird Wilton, Mario and Nora Fernandez, Richard       Morrow, Marilyn MacMullin, Anna Migas.
Thanks for taking care of sound system: Anna Migas.
Thanks for ensuring that we got the necessary permit: Charles Spurr.
Thanks for dominoes and games: Laird and Ruth Wilton.
Thanks for talking to CKDU radio, for postering and for overall help to Nels Larson.
Thank you all for coming and making time for this day. "Many hands make light work" 
If I forgot someone and I am sure I must have - please let me know!!!
It was fun!

Ruth Larson


Many thanks to Jim Sacouman and Barb Moore for their hospitality and the great time!

                                                                      The tasty pig!!

                                                               Two of the many cooks...

                                                                 The panoramic views!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Los Primos and beyond!

Belkys de la Paz Portal (right end of the picture) is the Director of the National School of Music --part of the National School of Art (ENA in Spanish) specializing in teaching  music, dance, theatre, ballet and plastic art in Cuba.  Belkys came in charge of a delegation of 12 students, nine from her school and three from elementary school level, participants in the project Los Primos.  They group toured Nova Scotia performing at the Black Cultural Centre (Darmouth), Kings Theatre (Annapolis Royal), St Marks´ Church (La Have), Wallace Community Hall (Wallace), Roadside Willies restaurant (Bible Hill),  Memberton (Sidney), Mic Mac Aquatic Club (Darmouth), Mosaiq Multicultural Festival (Moncton) and Stayners Wharf (Halifax).  Augusto Enriquez and his wife Yami were present accompanying their daughter, a violin player from the National School of Music.   

                                                            Belkys de la Paz Portal

The National School of Music has 438 enrolled students, 171 of them residents of Havana and the rest from everywhere in Cuba. The School provides residential accommodation for those 267 students who come from outside Havana –there are between six and eight bedrooms per floor, in their four floors building, some bedrooms accommodate female students while others accommodate male students, providing room for 65 to 70 students per floor and meeting their needs. The school has a large dinning room and chefs cooking the required meals. The school employs 290 people in total, 211 of them are teachers; they are all under the direction of Belkys de la Paz Portal and her team –a council of eight administrators and sub-directors who manage the school with an annual budget provided by the Cuban state.

Most students at the School have completed elementary level education and have some knowledge of music, in the case of piano, violin and violoncello, for example, the selection of students takes place when they are about 9 years old and have completed grade three. Part of the selection process, the students undergo a physical examination and are evaluated for their musical capacities. There are between 400 and 600 students applying annually at the School of Music and only between 200 and 250 will be selected.  In the case of wind and percussion instruments, as in the case of choral singing and directing, there is a second round of exams after those first ones.     

The students of the National School of Music have to comply with a number of goals regarding their formal education, that is, they have to complete the educational requirements of any other student s well.  They study music and history of music and their musical education takes place on a one to one setting because the goal is to achieve high musical quality, and to this end each student has his/her teacher. The other aspects of their education takes place in a group setting, generally in groups of 18 to 20 students, and sometimes, when required, there are also smaller study groups. Exams are public and take place in front of evaluating teams or tribunals, this mainly to ensure transparency and accountability.  

The National School of Music has a focus on classic music, its general objective, but it offers workshops on specialized music like jazz, Cuban popular music and so on. It is in this area that Los Primos found its space. Belkys identified the Los Primos experience as very valuable: it has favoured an exchange that enriches students’ practical formation, contributes to the development of capacities and facilitates the confidence of participating students in performing in front of an international audience.  

Annually, we receive delegations from many countries who visit our National School of Music in Havana with a number of projects in mind, the director explained, but few of these projects include travelling outside of Cuba and exposing students to musical experiences in other countries. Personalities from Telesur for instance, showed an interest in the work of the School but travelling expenses proved to be a challenge that made exchanges difficult in practice.  Los Primos, however, has succeeded in making this possible, exchanges have proven to be very enriching to both parties and there are also donations of instruments that benefit the School and individual students. A viola and a French horn was donated to the School and the group is taking them to Cuba upon their return, and some students have received instruments too, for example a trumpet and two trombones were donated for students own use. Important direct connections between musicians and students have also been made, music workshops have been implemented, in all a very positive musical exchange, a success.  

Due to the blockade, the School has faced challenges in developing links with the rest of the world, and connections are crucial in ensuring enriching experiences outside of Cuba for the students. Sometimes the formats used in music can become a challenge too, the director explained. For instance, it has been particularly difficult to ensure experiences outside of Cuba for the symphonic school in part because of costs involved in transporting such a large group of students, the School is now experimenting with smaller groups like sextets, quartets and so on, to make exchanges easier. The focus of the School in classical music, the desire of most its students, can also contribute to the challenge because popular music seems to have greater initial appeal.   

There is awareness about challenges and such awareness has contributed to the understanding of Los Primos project as a valuable unique experience. One that emerged in a context of solidarity and friendship; Cubans participate with great love and enthusiasm, aware that Los Primos is the result of love and good will too. Both parties have benefited greatly from the exchange: valuable connections have been made and the learning has enriched both sides. It seems the project is at a point were extending these connections of friendship to create new ones is almost a must. There seems to be agreement that expanding “Los Primos” beyond Nova Scotia could be the challenge for the future. Exploring ways to expand the project’s focus on popular music to include classical music specializing students may also be part of the emerging expansion. The successes of the past, and present, seem to be announcing that the sky is the limit!    

Nora Fernández

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Victory at the US/Canada Border! Humanitarian Aid on its way thru US > to Cuba!

Dear Supporters and Co-fighters,

On behalf of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, the BC Aid Network on Cuba, Pastors for Peace and other organizations and individuals who occupied the Canada/U.S. border yesterday we would like to thank you for your rapid and immense support for the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba and the humanitarian aid which is now in Seattle, Washington ready to continue its journey on to Cuba! This was an important first step towards breaking the U.S. blockade against Cuba. Below are some articles explaining the victory yesterday. We will release an official statement later this evening.

Please visit our websites to stay updated:

In Solidarity,
Tamara Hansen
Coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC)

Selected articles:
(1) From Liberation News (USA)
(2) From the Province Newspaper (Vancouver, Canada)
(3) From Sun News Media (Canada)
(4) From Prensa Latina News Agency (Cuba)
(5) From Granma Newspaper (Cuba)
(6) From CubaDebate (Cuba)
(7) From the Times Colonist (Victoria, Canada)
(8) From La Republica (Spain)
(9) From Global TV (Canada)
(10) From Havana Times
(11) From News1130 (Vancouver, Canada)

caravanists at the border
----- (( 1 )) ----- Update from the Party for Socialism and Liberation's Liberation News:
"Humanitarian aid for Cuba denied entry into the US! Protesters occupy lot in front of US border, vow not to leave until aid let through!"

Following the press conference, the truck loaded with aid from Canada was allowed to cross the border into the United States, without condition. This victory was made possible by the unrelenting solidarity and militancy of the Caravanistas, who literally "occupied the border" and refused to leave until the aid was allowed through.
Read more:

----- (( 2 )) ----- From the Province Newspaper

"U.S. Customs releases B.C. charity goods truck bound for Cuba"

U.S. Customs officials on Monday changed their minds and allowed a pickup truck full of humanitarian aid for Cuba to go through the border. A B.C. group transporting the humanitarian aid to Cuba was denied entry into the U.S. on Sunday. After a demonstration by the group outside the Peace Arch border crossing Monday afternoon, an organizer with the Pastors for Peace Caravan met with the border and customs officers, and the truck was allowed through.
Read more:

----- (( 3 )) ----- From Sun News Media

"US customs blocks, then releases Canadian aid to Cuba"

A shipment of Canadian donations to Cuba detained by American border authorities on Sunday has been released. Pastors for Peace hit a roadblock when customs officials denied the group's Caravan to Cuba entry into the US at the Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, just outside Vancouver.
Read more:

----- (( 4 )) ----- From Prensa Latina News Agency

"Canadian Aid to Cuba Crosses Into U.S.Territory"

Washington, Jul 3 (Prensa Latina) Humanitarian aid coming from Canada to Cuba crossed today through US territory, after been arbitrarily blocked for three days by Washington's authorities. The activists overcame intimidation by U.S. Customs regarding the payment of a deposit to allow the passage of the lot, which will arrive in Cuba as part of the XXIII Caravan of Pastors for Peace.
Read more:

----- (( 5 )) ----- From Granma Newspaper

"Aduana de EE.UU. impide paso de ayuda para Cuba en frontera con Canadá"

OTTAWA.—Funcionarios de la Aduana de Estados Unidos mantenían ayer bloqueado un camión con ayuda humanitaria donada por varias ciudades canadienses para enviarlo a Cuba, como parte de la XXIII Caravana de Pastores por la Paz.
Read more:

----- (( 6 )) ----- From CubaDebate Website
"Avanza por Estados Unidos ayuda canadiense para Cuba"

Un cargamento humanitario procedente de Canadá para Cuba avanza hoy por territorio estadounidense, tras permanecer bloqueado durante dos días de forma arbitraria por las autoridades de Washington.

----- (( 7 )) ----- From the Times Colonist Newspaper
"U.S. relents, lets Cuba-bound goods through border. Aid shipment was held up Sunday"
Read more:

----- (( 8 )) ----- From La Republica Newspaper
“EEUU bloquea ayuda solidaria para Cuba”
Read more:

----- ((9)) ----- From Global TV
"Shipment of humanitarian aid destined for Cuba stalled at the border"
Read more:

----- ((10)) ----- From Havana Times Website
"Canadian Aid to Cuba Blocked at US Border"
Read More:

----- ((11)) ----- From News 1130 Radio
"Canadians taking aid to Cuba. The Caravan to Cuba is celebrating its 20th anniversary"
Read more:

Oxfam's Experience in Cuba: Halifax July 6, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nova Scotian musical Tour: Los Primos

Cuban-Nova Scotian musical Maritime Tour
(Dartmouth, NS) – A group of 11 Cuban music students and four Cuban musicians, under the direction of Nova Scotia jazz artists Jeff Goodspeed and Paul Barrett, will tour the region from June 26 to July 24 giving performances, workshops, and sharing musical culture with local student and professional musicians in Los Primos 2012.

Los Primos Project is well known to the local Latin and Jazz community through events like the Dance for All Ages and Havana Nights and Satellite Primos bands. Latin Vibe Entertainment is partnering with Los Primos to create the premier event of this month-long cultural exchange: a dance!

When and Where: Thursday, June 28 at the Pacifico Dance Bar. Maritime Centre,1505 Barrington Street, B3 level.

Seventeen musicians – Cuban and Canadian -- will take to the stage to delight in this hot mix of Latin music and Cuban salsa that will delight the growing fans of salsa dancing in the region. Leading will be Augusto Enriquez, one of Cuba's best-known singers and international star tenor with performances all over the world. Augusto has shared the stage many times with his good friend Luciano Pavarotti. Joining Augusto, his wife,Yami Casanueva, a well known Havana professional singer.

Watch for the special performances throughout the region during the month, showcasing the evolution of Cuban music at the Halifax Jazz Festival and Canada Day celebrations, among others.

Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door. The performance begins at 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in person at Stayner’s Wharf and Niche Lounge or by phone at 902-403-8572 (call after 5 p.m.).

Los Primos is a registered not-for-profit organization promoting music education and excellence in performance through inter-generational learning and cultural exchange with music schools in Cuba. For more information go to  its web site:

To arrange an interview with a visiting musician (many speak excellent English) or for more information, contact: Jeff Goodspeed,


Cuban ‘exiles’ get a bitter taste of capitalist free market in Spain
by Helen Yaffe

Published on Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!  (journal of the UK Revolutionary Communist Group), June-July 2012 

When Cuba's tiny opposition protests against the socialist government it is reported in the international media. In April 2012, however, when members of this same opposition, in `exile' in Spain, protested against the Spanish government's decision to stop subsidising them, they barely received mention. The move has given them a taste of the capitalist free market, where accommodation, health care and education are bought and not provided, and where labour is sold as a commodity.
The complainants were among the 115 Cubans released from prison and taken to Spain since July 2010 under an amnesty agreed between Raul Castro, the Spanish church and the then Spanish president Zapatero. Among them are 52 of the 75 `dissidents' imprisoned in spring 2003 for breaking Cuban laws in receiving money from US-based agencies as part of a programme to destroy the Cuban Revolution. However, they also include petty and violent criminals who aligned themselves with the opposition once in prison to claim the status of `political prisoners'.

The ex-prisoners were joined in Spain by 647 family members. The Spanish government guaranteed to provide the Cubans monthly with up to €700 for accommodation, €180 maintenance for each family member, medical cover and transport costs, for up to one and a half years. By April 2012, this support had been stopped for 83 of the ex-prisoners and their families (32 ex-prisoners had left Spain for the United States). On 12 April, around 30 Cubans set up a camp outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the centre of Madrid. The following day ten ex-prisoners declared a hunger strike. Four of the protesters were arrested at the end of May.

Prior to that, on 4 April, ex-prisoner Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández committed suicide. As a so-called `independent' journalist, Du Bouchet had been well rewarded in Cuba by US-based agencies. In exile, however, he was unable even to pay his rent.

In Cuba `the "dissidents" were supported materially and politically, welcomed as important personalities by diplomats who invited them to dinners and receptions, even though most of them were known to have previous convictions for common crimes and to lack ideology, but have more than enough interest in the money they received from Miami and from some European allies' (Arthur Gonzalez Tomado, Heraldo Cubano blog).

Within a few months in Spain they learned the real value of Cuba's socialist welfare provision. One of them posted an appeal for help on a blog: `I can't find work, I have health problems... I don't have medicines nor food for me or my son... I only wish there was a way for me to return to my country which I should never have left...' Most of the ex-prisoners and their families are unemployed. Not surprising in a country where the unemployment rate is nearly 25% and 50% among the youth.

Their stay in Spain has been full of confrontation and conflict. The Cubans have complained about being treated `like mere immigrants' and being put up in hotels in working class areas, about shared accommodation, collective toilets, no air-conditioning and low quality food. They have repeated the mantra that their human rights were being violated – a slogan which earned them privileges when levied against the Cuban government.

One group was expelled from their residence for violence and possessing alcohol and weapons. When such anti-social behaviour got them into trouble in Cuba, the mainstream media claimed they were being persecuted by the Cuban government.

In early May, the secretary of international relations for Spain's Partido Popular told the Cuban `dissidents' not to give up the struggle for democracy and respect for human rights on the island. At the same time, the Spanish government rejected a request for €2.5 million for the Cuban ex-prisoners – who are now seeing that they are merely pawns of the imperialist attack on the socialist revolution.

Helen Yaffe