Toronto, October 24th, 2016. The 21st edition of the Toronto Cuba Friendship Day and the Cuban Culture Day were held at the Toronto Steelworkers Hall, organized by the Canadian Cuban Friendship Association of Toronto (CCFA- Toronto) and the Association of Cuban Residents in Toronto "Juan Gualberto Gómez". This event was also dedicated to the 90th Birthday of the Commander Fidel Castro.
The celebration was attended by the Cuban Ambassador, Julio Garmendía Peña, who presented the main speech of this event and who was accompanied by the Consul General, Tania López Larroque and the rest of the staff of the Consulate General of Cuba in Toronto . Also present, Councillor Anthony Perruzza; Honorary President of CCFA of Toronto and former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, David Warner; the President of the Cuban Association, Julio Fonseca; Professor, Keith Ellis and the President of Canadian –Cuban Friendship Association of Toronto, Elizabeth Hill, among others.
The Cuban Ambassador in his speech for the occasion spoke highly of the historical economic, culture, trade, scientific, academic and in all fields Cuba-Canada relations and the significant achievements of cooperation between the two countries. He also confirmed the willingness of continuing strengthening the bilateral relations, and mentioned the most relevant events between our countries during this year, as the visit of the Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs to Canada and the visits of Minister of Tourism of Canada and the Prime Minister of Quebec to Cuba. Besides, he remarked the historical position of Canada voting in favor of the Cuban resolution against the Blockade in UN and he thanked to the Canadian solidarity movement with Cuba for the work done. On the other hand he stressed the importance of the Day of Culture and the 90th Birthday of Fidel Castro for Cuban people.
On the other hand, on behalf of the Premier of Ontario, the Master of ceremonies, David Warner read a welcome message to the 21st Annual Toronto-Cuba Friendship Day from the Premier. The message included appreciation for the traditions, values and skills that Cuban community has brought to the province’s multicultural success story.
In his words, Councillor Anthony Perruzza greeted those present in the activity and he referred the importance of Fidel Castro not only for Cubans but for the whole world. Also, on behalf of the Mayor of the City of Toronto, Mr. Perruzza presented a greeting message for this celebration from the Mayor John Tory.The President of Canadian –Cuban Friendship Association of Toronto, Elizabeth Hill thanked the efforts of all who contributed to making this event. She also gave special recognition on behalf of CCFA- Toronto to the President of the Cuban Association, Julio Fonseca for his great work as head of the association. In his speech, Julio Fonseca gave special thanks to the Canada Cuba Friendship Association, for their continued support and friendship to Cuba, and for organizing this wonderful event and he spoke about the historical significance of National Culture Day on October 20th for Cuban people. Moreover, he used the occasion to demand that the USA lift the Blockade it unilaterally imposed on Cuba more than fifty years ago. He stressed the Blockade is inhumane and illegal and it is the main obstacle for the economic development of the country. He also demanded that USA close the international torture center it has established in Guantánamo in a territory it occupies illegally and against the will of the Cuban people since 1903; and return it to its rightful owner, the people of Cuba. The last speaker of the night was the professor, Keith Ellis, who is the Chair of Hurricane Matthew Relief Campaign, spoke about the disaster caused by hurricane Matthew and he remarked because of Cuba´s internationally renowned and acclaimed civil defense system there was no loss of life. The professor made a generous donation to contribute Cuba in its efforts of recovery and reconstruction and urged everyone who so desires to support the reconstruction for Cuba Campaign by making a donation. The night was enlivened by the Master Rumbero, Joaquin Nuñez Hidalgo and his group Son Cuba, composed of recognized Cubans musicians living in Canada, which offered a wide repertoire with themes of trova and Cuban son, making dance the guests. The place was decorated with an exhibition of photographs on Cuba by Albino Moldes. (Consulate General of Cuba)