August 5, 2012 - No. 31
Council of the Federation Meets in Halifax
Constitutional Crisis Deepens as Oil
Monopolies Dictate "Energy Economy" for Canada
Halifax - Enver Villamizar
• Constitutional Crisis Deepens as
Monopolies Dictate "Energy Economy" for Canada - Charles
• Threats and Intimidation Will Not
Stop the Mexican People's Struggle for Democracy -
Assembly for the Cuban Five
• Join the Just Fight Against
Anti-Cuba Terrorist Attacks in Cuba, the U.S., Canada and Beyond
• Canadian Celebrations of Moncada
Council of the Federation Meets in Halifax
From July 25-27, the Council of the Federation met in
Scotia. The meeting of the Premiers of Canada's provinces and
characterized by calls for the Harper government to involve the
Premiers in the
major decisions his government is taking to restructure the Canadian
and its social programs. They specifically highlighted changes to the
Health Accord, Immigration Reform, Labour Market Agreements,
infrastructure investments and Employment Insurance Reform as areas
they should be involved but are being excluded in various ways.
As a further expression of the demand to be involved,
the Premiers called
for the Prime Minister to join them at a First Ministers' meeting in
the fall to
discuss "the economy, including the state of the world economy and its
on the daily life of Canadian citizens." Premiers asked the Premiers of
Scotia, Ontario and Alberta to begin planning for the meeting.
not been a meeting of the Premiers with the Prime Minister since 2009.
In the midst of the Council of the Federation meeting,
BC Premier Christy Clark
announced that the
BC Liberal government wants various concessions from the government of
and the federal government in order for it to be onboard with the
the Enbridge Pipeline through BC territory. Clark's position was
presented as BC wanting to receive monetary and other benefits as it
bears most of the risk from the pipeline if there is an
or other disaster. Her remarks were in most cases dismissed by the
which tried to claim that she would likely not be premier for long as
in BC was doing well in the polls.
stand, most political commentators on both the so-called left and right
attempted to present the Council
Federation as an organization of self-interested provinces which do
consider the broader national interest. They implied that the
pipeline is in the national interest and Clark's opposition is a
extortion against the national interest. The tone of the various
commentaries reveals a strong demand from the monopolies that everyone
in line with what they declare is the national interest, or else. This
appears similar to the way in which environmental groups and First
labelled extremists for opposing the pipeline, creating conditions to
label premiers extremist, gang members or criminals. This has begun a
discussion which seems to prepare conditions for Harper to impose the
regardless of what any review or broad opposition might say or do, all
name of defending the national interest. Some of the headlines dealing
"The provinces shouldn't hold national projects
hostage," Brian Lee
Crowley, Ottawa Citizen,
"Leading a province should be a national endeavour for
Murphy, National Post,
"Gang of 13 premiers singing 13 songs," Martin Regg
"Harper could force the Northern Gateway pipeline
through, but should
he?" Stephen Maher, Postmedia News,
"Premiers summit sidetracked by pipeline row," Jane
and Mail, and
"Christy Clark's Northern Gateway demands just another
attempt," Andrew Coyne, National Post.
In this context, it is noteworthy that the CBC
highlighted on its website a
report by the Mowat
Centre that calls for new arrangements for the Federation in which a
"non-political" board made up of appointed members would determine how
equalization payments would be given out. This proposal is consistent
previous proposals by finance capitalist Frank Stronach who called for
of Directors for Canada to replace the elected Senate and
decisions of elected governments. Stronach called for
people who are "non-political" to make decisions based on what is best
country, not personal political interests.
At the end of the Council of the Federation meeting, it
announced that Nova
Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter will lead a Council mission to China
September, 2012. This will be the Council's second mission to China. It
focus on "further developing relationships with one of Canada's
fastest-growing trade partners and matching our strengths with
in global markets." The mission will include stops in Beijing, Shanghai
Hong Kong and representation at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin.
It was also announced that Premiers received an update
on the Canada-European Union negotiations to conclude a
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and they called on
federal government to enter into a framework agreement on involving
provinces and territories in all trade negotiations based on their
productive involvement in CETA negotiations.
The next meeting of the Council will take place in
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario from July 24-26, 2013.
1. On August 2, Harper
that he would not attend such a meeting.
His spokesperson dismissed the request stating that Harper has met with
Premiers individually on 74 occasions.
Constitutional Crisis Deepens as Oil Monopolies Dictate
"Energy Economy" for Canada
Ten Canadian premiers and three territorial leaders met
in Halifax from July 25-27 without any presence of the federal
government. This body, formed on December 5, 2003 in Charlottetown,
dubbed themselves the "Council of the Federation" in order to enter a
"new era in collaborative intergovernmental relations."
The express purposes of the "council," to play a "leadership role in
revitalizing the Canadian federation" and thereby promote
"co-operation," "recognize diversity," and "show leadership" to
"ultimately strengthen Canada," have proven hollow. Since 2003,
accelerated since Harper's first minority government election
in January 2006, and even more so since his majority government was
in May 2011, the archaic Canadian constitution and federal union have
become mired in deeper and deeper crisis.
2012 is the 20th anniversary year of the October 26,
1992 referendum when the Canadian
people rejected the Charlottetown Accord together with its notion of
proposed by the Mulroney government and premiers of the day.
Nevertheless, the concentration of executive authority has greatly
accelerated since that time,
to the point that governance under the dictate of the Prime Minister
and Premiers runs rough shod over historically evolved parliamentary
processes, completely marginalizes the majority of the polity leaving
political power completely reduced to serving private monopoly
interests, while public interests are bereft
of power. Monopoly domination in the economy is more and more directly
reflected in monopoly dictate in politics.
The dominant monopolies
with the greatest political
power are the oil trusts merged as they are with the largest banks and
other corporations seeking to maximize their profits from looting the
energy, mineral and forest resources of Canada for export to foreign
markets. The key catchphrase of the politicians
in Halifax, representing the richest, most powerful world monopolies is
"building the Canadian energy economy." Everything is done in the name
of "attracting foreign investment" for the aim, these abject
politicians shamelessly repeat, of "creating jobs."
The constitutional crisis expressed itself in two main
ways in Halifax. First, the December 19, 2011 arbitrary decision of the
Harper dictatorship, without the slightest "consultation" with the
provinces, to cut the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) will reduce
provincial/territorial finances by $5.9 billion by 2018/19,
and over a 10-year period of the "renewal" plan some $36 billion will
passed over to the provinces/territories. The Canada Social Transfer
will also be greatly reduced, leading to more cuts to post-secondary
education and social welfare payments from Ottawa to the provinces.
What in effect is transpiring is the complete undoing of
the post-depression period when the recommendations of the
Rowell-Sirois report on provincial-federal relations called for
decisive intervention by the federal government in creating
country-wide social programs to prevent the devastation suffered by the
people during the 1930s. The post-World War Two period was one of
dynamic progressive change worldwide, with the Canadian working class
actively engaged in sharp struggles to defend their collective
interests and push for a "social contract" including federally financed
social programs. Family allowance
was introduced in 1944, old age security along with help for the blind
and disabled in 1951, hospital insurance in 1958, the Canada
Pension Plan in 1965, and medicare country-wide in 1968.
With the federal government now reducing its
contribution to health care to less than 20 per cent from the
proposed 50 per cent, the provinces have been reduced to
jointly discussing how to save money and impose "fiscally responsible"
policies (i.e., cut health care, education and senior care programs),
simultaneously privatizing the public sector to pay powerful
corporations from the public purse.
The second main contradiction that broke out at the
meeting was over energy policy. A political drama was enacted in which
BC's beleaguered Premier Christy Clark upstaged the conference with
the five conditions to be met before allowing the Enbridge
Project to cross British Columbia. The
five points were announced by BC Environment Minister Terry Lake on
two days before the conference opened. They include that the Northern
pass the environmental review process (mainly National Energy Board
approval); setting in place world standard marine- and land-based oil
spill prevention, response and
recovery systems; a new standard for First Nations consultations and
and giving the BC government a "fair share" of the financial benefits
the projects reflecting the risk to BC land and sea.
This stand of the Clark government apparently caught the
government of Alberta Premier Alison Redford offguard, even though
Clark had made a semi-secret
visit to her days before the announcement. Clark took an adamant stand
at the Halifax meeting that she was there to protect "BC interests"
while Redford was adamant against handing
over Alberta's oil revenues to BC. The contradiction between them ended
with Clark walking out of the conference as its
national energy strategy, dubbed "A shared vision for energy in
Canada," was being set up.
Clark did not share the vision, stating after she walked out that BC
would not participate until negotiations
with the federal and Alberta governments satisfy her demands.
Many pundits argue that Clark is grandstanding in an
effort to gain credibility with BC voters who go to the polls in May
2013. The NDP leader, Adrian Dix, has already stated opposition to the
Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. However, the constitution gives the
jurisdictional power over trans-provincial
pipelines, railways and other communication/transportation facilities.
Regardless of who wins the provincial election the contradictions
between the BC government and federal government will sharpen. Why? Not
because the established political parties have major differences over
Canada being a supplier of energy
to the international market, especially Asia. Both the government and
opposition have agreed to the Liquid Natural Gas plant project in
Kitimat which will be subsidized by BC Hydro selling electricity below
cost. Both also agree to allow Kinder Morgan to twin its Mountain
Pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby
to ship bitumen from a terminal on Burrard Inlet.
What in the final analysis
is at stake in the
contradiction between the federal and BC governments is how the profit
from the export of energy resources is to be divided. This is how the
BC polity has perceived Clark's stand, an effort to gain political
credibility as a "defender of BC interests," while holding out
for more cash to allow the twin bitumen and condensate pipelines to be
built to Kitimat.
The Carrier Sekani Tribal
Council in a press release
July 24, condemned the five points, and Chief Terry Teegree said,
"Our people are joined by over 100 First Nations, environmental
organizations and thousands of Canadians opposing the building of tar
sands pipelines through our territory and opposing
the related tanker traffic." BC Minister of Aboriginal Relations Mary
Polak repeated four times in her joint press conference with
Environment Minister Terry
Lake on July 23 that First Nations do not have a veto over the
project. They do, however, she asserted, need to be "adequately
What is to be made of this entanglement of
contradictions arising from the crisis of the Canadian constitution?
From the perspective of the Canadian people the dictate of the oil and
other monopolies to reduce Canada to an "energy economy" is fraught
with danger. The splits and antagonisms between various
regions are being sharpened, the manufacturing base is being
liquidated, and the standard of living for the working class and people
is deteriorating along with the social programs.
The future of the country is closely tied to resolving
the constitutional crisis and setting a new direction for the economy.
The dog fight in Halifax underlines the need for the working class to
intervene in the political life of the country with their own vision
for a renewed constitution and democracy that will
empower the people to engage in a new nation-building project which
harmonizes the interests of all the regions, Quebec, the north,
cities, First Nations and immigrants alike, on the basis of defending
the rights of all. An important part of building the Workers'
BC revolves around opposition to the
Enbridge Northern Pipeline Project and the Clark government's game of
selling out the people's interest for oil dollars.
Mexican Election and Political Crisis
Threats and Intimidation Will Not Stop the Mexican
Mega march against the
fraudulent imposition of Enrique Peña Nieto as Mexican
president, Mexico City, July 22, 2012.
The day after the July 1 presidential election, millions
of Mexicans from
all sectors of society expressed in many ways their rejection of the
Electoral Institute’s results that declared the Institutional
(PRI) candidate Enrique Peña Nieto the winner. Progressive
candidate Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador and his political allies,
Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), the Labour Party (PT) and the
Movement (MC) have uncovered evidence of thousands of cases of vote
buying among the five million votes cast in favour of Peña
Nieto. In the face
of this huge electoral fraud, Lopez Obrador and his allies have filed a
with the Electoral Tribunal to invalidate the presidential election due
compliance with Article 41 of the country's constitution.
presented focuses mainly on the use of public funds
to buy gift cards from the Soriana supermarket chain, worth up to 4,000
each that were distributed to thousands of voters between May 28 and
that they would vote for the PRI candidate. At least 16 of Mexico’s
headed by PRI governors who allegedly participated in violating
Some 700 million pesos were transferred through money laundering from
United States to Mexico through Monex Bank. At least five fictitious
companies were used to manipulate the millions of pesos to buy
prepaid cellular calling cards, each worth at least 100 pesos and
active as of
June 28, the day after the electoral law prohibited any partisan
When the calling card was activated, a message supporting the PRI
played, soliciting their votes. It was also established that thousands
Bank credit cards were distributed to PRI organizers across the
allowing them to withdraw funds to buy votes. These acts violate
laws by using public funds for partisan ends, using
funds for electoral purposes, laundering money and breaching the ban
promoting a political party three days before the vote, etc. Evidence
the PRI contracted the media to create an impression of voter
Peña Nieto, using inflated polls, false information and a dirty
Lopez Obador. The scale of the fraud is so great that the current
party, the National Action Party, said that light must be shed on the
of votes and has joined Lopez Obrador to file the necessary evidence to
Federal Electoral Institute.
On September 6, the Electoral Tribunal will announce its
decision as to
whether Peña Nieto's election as President will be upheld or
and a new presidential election called.
Since July 1, hundreds of
demonstrations involving millions of Mexicans
have been held in dozens of cities, organized by various organizations
demanding the election be declared null and void and for democratic
Among them are Lopez Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement
(MORENA), the youth and student movement "Yo soy 132," and the
Convention Against the Imposition and For the Defence of Democracy,
up of more than 150 social justice organizations.
In response to this growing movement for democracy, the
economic elite that want Peña Nieto as president is increasing
its threats and
intimidation against Lopez Obrador and his organization and against "Yo
132." Like a thief crying Thief!, they blame Lopez Obrador and his
rejection of the July 1 election results for social disorder, violence
and acts of
terrorism, and warn that they will be held responsible for any social
degeneration in the country. This same elite continues to use the media
spread lies and confusion. For example, the Soriana supermarket chain
accusing Lopez Obrador supporters of violent acts against its stores.
is that people are angry that the gift cards from the PRI no longer
The crisis is so deep that senior executives at
companies such as Slim, the
leading telephone monopoly, made public appearances to say that all is
that there is no political crisis in Mexico. It was reported that U.S.
of State Hillary Clinton phoned Peña Nieto to congratulate him
on his election
two weeks after the vote even though Obama called him on the evening of
July 1, even before the official results were released. Acting as if
happened, the country's Employers Council has announced meetings with
PRI and its elected officials to initiate discussions for the changes
it wishes to
see made to the economic plan and electoral procedures.
Far from being discouraged, the movement’s activities
are growing to
publicize the truth and involve as many citizens as possible in the
against the fraud and the imposition of Peña Nieto as president.
with the resolutions of the National Plan for the Defence of Democracy
Dignity of Mexico announced by Lopez Obrador, public assemblies were
July 29 in 142 cities and others will be held on August 5 in the
capitals of 32
states. The Plan’s guidelines are summarized in the slogans: "The
of Mexico Cannot be Bought" and "Mexico's Fate Is Priceless." Citizens
invited to take part in information actions organized across the
country and in
the production of video and artistic works to inform how the fraud was
out and express the people's determination not to let it pass."Yo soy
the Convention for Democracy continue their actions to denounce the
media's complicty in the fraud, including Televisa and
Millennio, and that of other companies such as
Soriana, Walmart, Coca Cola and Monex.
People's Tribunal and Assembly for
Justice for the Cuban Five
Join the Just Fight Against U.S.-Backed
Terrorist Attacks in Cuba, the U.S.,
Canada and Beyond
Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, the small
nation of Cuba has faced constant aggression from the U.S., including
widespread terrorist campaigns by U.S.-backed agents. It has cost
thousands of lives and injured many more. In the late 1990s, in order
to prevent further terrorist attacks against Cuba,
Canada and the United States itself, by extremist Cuban American groups
situated in Florida, five patriotic Cubans, Gerardo Hernández,
Antonio Guerrero, Ramon
Labañino, Fernando González and René
González -- the Cuban Five, as they are
now known -- undertook on behalf of Cuba the dangerous task of
these groups in south Florida.
The five reported their
findings to U.S. authorities.
Instead of action being taken against these terrorist organizations, as
the U.S. government is obligated to do under international treaties to
which it is a party, the five were arrested in Miami on September 12,
1998 and imprisoned by the U.S. government for
a total of four lifetimes plus 77 years. The unjust and vindictive
treatment of the Cuban Five by the U.S. has continued ever since,
despite the U.S.
declaring its so-called war on terror in 2001.
The undercover work
undertaken by the Cuban Five is
thought to have saved
the lives of numerous people and, in the end, was aimed at preventing
the loss of life of innocent people. The Working Group of the Human
Rights Commission of the United Nations, Amnesty International, the Law
Union of Ontario, the President of
the Canadian Labour Congress, Nobel Prize winners, and hundreds of
thousands of other organizations and people around the world have
called for the release of the Cuban Five.
As part of this international effort to achieve the
freedom of the Cuban Five, a number of trade unions and solidarity
groups from across Canada, in coordination with the Canadian Network on
Cuba and the Quebec-Cuba Solidarity Roundtable, have convoked a
Peoples' Tribunal and Assembly on September
21-23, 2012 in Toronto, to shed new light on this egregious injustice
and intensify the campaign to demand their freedom. The website for the
tribunal is: www.freethe5peoplestribunal.org.
TML calls on everyone to join in the campaign
Free the Cuban Five and the People's Tribunal and ensure their success.
U.S.-Backed Terrorism Against Cuba
Since the Cuban Revolution toppled the U.S.-backed
Fulgencio Batista in 1959, Cubans have been subjected to repeated
politically-motivated terrorist attacks emanating mostly from southern
Florida. These attacks have killed 3,478 Cubans alone.
For example, in 1976, a Cubana civilian airliner
exploded in midair from a bomb set by one of these groups killing all
73 passengers on board.
Another well-known example was the work of the Central
Intelligence Agency in 1961 to fund, organize and arm the 1,500
mercenaries who carried out the failed invasion of Cuba near the Bay of
mercenaries were soundly defeated at the invasion at the Bay of Pigs,
The above is a minuscule sample of terrorist attacks
aimed mainly at Cuba, that have left 3,478 people dead and 2,099
However, lives lost and property damage have also occurred in the U.S.
and in Canada.
A recent example took place on April 27, 2012. The
offices of Airline Brokers, a Miami area-based charter agency, were
destroyed by arson. The agency owner, Vivian Mannerud, helped the Miami
archdiocese organize a trip of more than 300 pilgrims to take
part in Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Cuba.
Successive U.S. administrations in collusion with
extremist right-wing Cuban American groups in Florida such as Alpha 66,
Brothers to the Rescue, Brigada 2506, and CORU (Coordinated United
Revolutionary Organizations), have continued to organize and support
bombings, assassinations and economic sabotage
against Cuba. Citizens of many other countries have been killed or
injured in these attacks, which have also taken in place in Canada.
Vigil for the
victims of state terrorism at the Anti-Imperialist
Tribunal in Havana, October 6, 2011, which marked the 35th anniversary
of a terrorist bombing of a Cubana airliner. The 73 flags represent
each victim of this heinous attack.
Anti-Cuban Terrorist Attacks and Canada
1966: A bazooka
attack took place against the Cuban
Embassy in Ottawa; bombs exploded at the Cuban trade offices in Ottawa.
explosive device was detonated at the Cuba
Pavilion at the Expo in Montreal; a bomb exploded at the warehouses of
Fraser Brothers, a Canadian firm trading with Cuba; Cuban trade offices
were bombed in Montreal.
1968: The Canada
Tourism office on Fifth Avenue in New
York City and offices of a Canadian airline in Miami were attacked.
1971: A bomb
exploded in the Cuban trade offices in
1972: A bomb was
set off in the Cuban trade offices in
Montreal killing Cuban consular diplomat Sergio Pérez Castillo,
wounding seven people and causing substantial damage.
1974: A bomb
exploded in the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa.
explosive device was lobbed at the Cuban
Consulate in Montreal.
1980: A bomb was
set off at the Cuban Consulate in
Photo of Fabio di
Celmo, a Canadian tourist killed in a Havana hotel bombing in 1997,
held up at the October 6, 2011 Havana vigil for victims of state
Canadian authorities, aware of these attacks and
cognizant of the connections of suspects to terrorist groups in
Florida, never laid any charges against the perpetrators.
On September 4, 1997, Montreal resident Fabio di Celmo
was killed by a bomb which exploded in the Hotel Copacabana in Havana.
The attack was part of a deadly campaign of anti-Cuba sabotage that
targeted Cuban tourist facilities. According to trial testimony,
well-known anti-Cuba terrorist and former paid
CIA operative, Luis Posada Carriles, was the mastermind.
In 2003, the Law Union of Ontario passed a resolution
underscoring the responsibilities of the Canadian government to ensure
the safety of Canadians vacationing in Cuba. It urged Canada, as a
member of the Organization of American States (OAS), to demand that the
United States government comply with the
Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism and immediately cease
harbouring, aiding and abetting organizations that plot and encourage
terrorist activities against the people and government of Cuba.
The Trial, Imprisonment and Fight to Free the Cuban Five
Arrested in 1998, the Cuban
Five were each held in
isolation for seventeen months prior to their trial in Miami.
conspiracy to commit espionage charges were laid against them. As there
was no evidence, the
charges of conspiracy required a lesser burden of proof for the
prosecution. Seven months after his arrest,
spurious conspiracy to commit murder charges were laid against Gerardo
Hernández. At his trial, the prosecutor requested that the Judge
withdraw this charge as he had no evidence to pursue it. The Judge
Meanwhile, the high profile case of Elián
González had just concluded, with the U.S. finally being forced
to repatriate the young Cuban boy, infuriating the anti-Cuban mafia
in Miami. Despite an atmosphere of prejudice being whipped up against
Cuba, the Judge refused to change the venue for the trial.
It has since been proven that journalists were paid by
the U.S. government to help create an atmosphere of hysteria around the
trial of the Cuban Five. Jurors admitted being fearful about bringing
in a verdict of innocence and felt intimidated: for example, their car
licence plates were being photographed.
In the trial itself, U.S. military officials testified
that no information gathered by the Five impinged on U.S. security. It
was also made clear that no person or property was hurt or damaged and
information gathered was mostly available in the public sphere.
The political nature of this trial was proved for all to
see when, despite all evidence of their innocence, the jury pronounced
the Five guilty of all charges.
In 2005, the U.S. Appeals Court unanimously overturned
the decisions of the lower court and ordered a new trial. In an
unprecedented move, the prosecution asked for an opinion from all the
Appeals Court Judges which then overthrew the previous decision. The
convictions were reinstated except for slight
reductions for three of the five men.
Since the imprisonment of the Cuban Five and throughout
their trials, they have received the support and solidarity of the
peoples of the world. The support has become so widespread that trade
unions, parliaments and various celebrities have come forward with
statements and resolutions calling for freedom for the Five.
Particularly in the United States, the support of the people has been
decisive in exposing the travesty of justice and the support of U.S.
authorities for terrorist acts against Cuba. While the U.S. has tried
unsuccessfully to break the spirit of the Cuban Five, it has gone to
great lengths to protect one of its "assets" who masterminded many acts
of terrorism against Cuba, Luis Posada Carriles. Posada Carriles is a
self-admitted and unrepentant U.S.-trained terrorist, who has never
been charged for his crimes. Minor charges of perjury and immigration
fraud were brought against him based on falsifying his entry into the
U.S. in 2005, of which he was absolved in 2010. He walks the streets of
Miami as a free man, where it is reported he continues to conspire with
his fellow reactionaries against the Cuban people and their Revolution.
Canadian Celebrations of Moncada Day
Moncada Day, July 26, is Cuba's National Day of
marks the start of the movement that overthrew the U.S. puppet
Batista regime in 1959. It was celebrated in cities across Canada,
including Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver, at events
organized by the Cuba Friendship Associations
and other organizations which want to build friendly relations with
More than 100 participants gathered on July 26 at the
Steelworkers' Hall in downtown Toronto at an event jointly organized by
the Associación de Cubanos en Toronto de Juan Gualberto
Gómez and the Toronto Forum on Cuba. It featured a special
tribute to Professor Keith Ellis for his scholarly
work in the field of Cuban and Caribbean culture, especially poetry,
music and literature, in support of the dignity and sovereignty of the
people's of the region.
Raúl Delgado Concepción
Julio Fonseca of the Juan Gualberto Gómez
Association introduced several notable guests: Raúl Delgado
Concepción, Consul of the Republic of Cuba; Vladimir Pavlov,
Consul General of the Russian Federation; Aura Suárez from the
Consulate of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; Dr. Leroy McLean,
General of Barbados, and Steven Owen Philips of the Consulate of St.
Vincent and the Grenadines. Also in the audience were many members of
the Latin American community, as well as a delegation from the Hamilton
Friendship Association with Cuba.
In his remarks to honour Moncada Day, Cuban Consul
Delgado explained the significance of the armed attack on the Moncada
army barracks on July 26, 1953 -- it marked the start of the
revolutionary struggle that would lead to the successful overthrow of
the Batista regime in 1959. He pointed out that there
is still a small part of Cuba's sovereign territory that remains
occupied -- the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, which he vowed that
Cubans would continue to denounce until the land is returned.
Delgado also reported on the continuing implementation
the resolutions of the Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, to
update Cuba's socialist model on the basis of rationality and the
current economic context. He mentioned that the recent meeting of
Cuba's State Council set clear guidelines for
progress on this front.
The Cuban Consul paid respect to Professor Ellis'
dedicated work, including his tireless efforts to promote international
solidarity with Cuba and his work to lead the Canadian Network
on Cuba's Cuba for Haiti Campaign following the 2010 earthquake.
Delgado noted the growing support for the freedom of the
five anti-terrorist Cuban heroes unjustly convicted of
espionage-related crimes in the U.S. and announced that a People's
Tribunal on the case of the Cuban Five will be held in Toronto from
September 21 to 23.
The tribute to Professor Ellis was introduced by Morteza
Gorgzadeh of the Toronto Forum on Cuba and included remarks by
Professor Arnold Itwaru and the presentation of a piece of art created
José "Nacho" Cartageña which was presented to Professor
by the Cuban Consul.
Speaking briefly, Professor Ellis explained
the reason he fell in love with Cuba. The commitment of its people and
leadership to the cause of humanity is why he has dedicated many years
of his life to building bridges of friendship with Cuba, he said. Maria
Elena Mesa read her poem dedicated to Professor Ellis to close the
The musical group Voces Poéticas provided a
festive atmosphere throughout
the evening with a selection of Latin American songs. The event also
featured a piece of interpretive dance
performed by Skigh Johnson in solidarity with the Cuban Five.
The Quebec-Cuba Solidarity Roundtable held a Moncada Day
event in the Saint-Michel neighbourhood of Montreal on July 26. More
than 50 friends of Cuba from various organizations participated.
Special guests included Vice Consul of the Cuban
Consulate in Montreal Eva Yelina Silva Walker, Emmanuel Dubourg, the
MLA for Viau, as well as a representative of Maison Haiti, which is
celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
On behalf of the Roundtable, Christine Dandenault
announced the Eighth Annual Montreal Day of Friendship with Cuba on
September 8, also to be held in Saint-Michel. "The event has been held
for the last seven years in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. We decided to go off
the beaten path and publicize Cuba's achievements
to other Montrealers. Saint-Michel is celebrating its 100th anniversary
and it was at the invitation of municipal councillor Frantz Benjamin
last year that the Roundtable decided to link the 100th anniversary
celebrations here with the Day of Friendship this year," she said.
Christine recounted that
one of the first victories of
the Cuban people following the triumph of the Revolution in 1959 was
the elimination of illiteracy, a source of pride for the Cuban people.
The Cuban method of teaching literacy, known as "Yo Si Puedo" (Yes I
Can) has been shared around the world. In tribute
to this achievement, the Day of Friendship coincides with International
Literacy Day, also on September 8.
Maguy Métellus, who hosted the previous Days of
Friendship, presented a video from the Sixth Day of Friendship to whet
people's appetite for this year's event and invited everyone to
participate and ensure this year's success.
The Vice Consul spoke with great pride of the
significance of July 26 for the Cuban people. She recounted the battle
that day in 1953 and reaffirmed the Cuban people's unflappable
determination to defend their sovereign right to decide their own
affairs, in defiance of the threats from the U.S. to undermine
Frantz Benjamin brought the greetings of Annie Samson,
the Mayor of Saint-Michel--Villeray--Park Extension who could not be
present. He explained that the residents of Saint-Michel are very proud
and keen to contribute to their municipality. It is place with a long
history of struggle that has members
of many different communities, including the Cuban community, he said.
Food and Cuban music provided a lively atmosphere for
For the fifth consecutive year, the Nova Scotia Cuba
Association (NSCUBA) organized a public celebration of Moncada Day in
Halifax, featuring speakers on Cuba's medical internationalism,
maternity care in Cuba, relations between Cubans and Canadians and the
Cuban Five, as well as poetry,
music and dancing.
In the invitation to the event, Nels Larson of NSCUBA
wrote, "The commemoration of Moncada Day is a reflection of the mutual
respect that has existed between Cuba and Canada since the 19th
century. At present, more than half a million Canadians (with many Nova
Scotians among them!) visit Cuba each
year. There exist numerous institutional and personal programs between
Nova Scotia and Cuba."
Amongst the speakers were Halifax MP Megan
Leslie; Tony Tracey of the Canadian Labour Congress, who spoke about
Moncada Day; Professor John Kirk who spoke on Cuba's medical
former MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour Mike Savage on the "Relationship
between Canadians and Cubans;"
Nora Fernandez on "Maternity care for women in Cuba;" and Professor
Stephen Kimber on the case of the Cuban Five. Professor Isaac Saney
served as emcee.
Two events marked Moncada Day in Vancouver. On July 26,
Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) held an event at
Joe's Café with a live report and greetings from VCSC
organizers celebrating Moncada Day in Cuba with the Pastors for Peace
Caravan. There was also a multimedia presentation of the Moncada
Garrison museum and Santiago
de Cuba showing the details and history of the July 26 attack, as well
as live music and poetry.
On July 29, the Canadian-Cuban Friendship
Association-Vancouver held a similar event at the Chilean Co-Op.
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