The 16th National Meeting of Cuban Residents in Canada was held in Toronto, the first in-person meeting after three years of limitations due to the pandemic. The event was attended by representatives of the various associations of Cuban residents in the country, and other Cubans invited by the Consulate in Toronto who are not members of any association.
During the meeting, an analysis of the main results of the work of the associations of Cuban residents during 2023 and their projections for 2024 was carried out. The shipment of donations to Cuba, their constant participation in the Bridges of Love caravans, and their demonstrations in front of the U.S. consulate in Toronto, demanding an end to the blockade, stood out.
As representatives of the associations, Julio Fonseca, TeresitaKeosseuian and Moraima Rodriguez spoke at the event and Yuri Pedraza did so virtually. They referred to the main actions carried out especially in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, while ratifying once again their unconditional support to the people of Cuba, and for the elimination of the blockade.
The meeting was attended by the Cuban Ambassador to Canada, Héctor Igarza, the Consuls General in Montreal and Toronto, along with other members of the diplomatic mission in Ottawa and the Consulates General. In addition, Leima Martinez Freire, director for North America at the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), participated as guest speaker and delivered an emotional message on behalf of Fernando Llort, president of ICAP.
Greeting and support videos sent, from the General Division of Consular Affairs and Cubans Residents Abroad (DACCRE), by the Deputy Director General, Laura Pujol, the Director of Consular Policy, Tania Lopez, and by Mara Bilbao, an official of that division, were screened. In each case, the participants of the meeting expressed their deep appreciation for the expressions of love and esteem that were received from Cuba.
The event provided an opportunity for discussion among our fellow countrymen on issues related to the migratory processes, especially on the new measures associated with the passport, which took up a major part of the exchange between the participants and the consuls general. In addition, there were discussions on the import and export of goods, on the ways to increase the involvement of residents abroad in local development projects, as well as on the preparation of proposals for the development ofcertain areas of interest.
The Final Declaration of the associations of Cuban residents in Canada was shared and ratified. In the declaration, a call was made to strengthen the struggle for national sovereignty. In the same way, they expressed the willingness of our fellow countrymen to continue contributing to their homeland, and the satisfaction with which the people has received the new measures announced by Ernesto Soberón, Director General of the DACCRE.
The event's cultural gala, which included a performance by dancers from a Cuban citizen’s dance school, was attended by friends of the solidarity with Cuba, who constantly support the associations of Cubans in Canada and contribute to the defense of the principles of the Revolution. The occasion was propitious to grant a well-deserved recognition to Elizabeth Hill, president of the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Toronto.