February 22, 2009

Canada responds to Cuba's Hurricane's

PRESS RELEASE, February 19, 2009

The Canadian Network on Cuba (CNC), an alliance of Cuban solidarity and friendship groups from all across Canada, is pleased to announce that its fundraising campaign for Cuban hurricane reconstruction has met its interim target of $400,000 in cash donations. In addition, a significant amount of material aid has resulted from our campaign and has been shipped to Cuba. The CNC fundraising campaign has also been instrumental in getting the Canadian government to be more reflective of the Canadian people in its response to the natural disasters.

[The YCL is a member of the CNC]

Some of the large cash donations generated by the campaign were sent directly to institutions in Cuba by the donors (trade unions and businesses). Another considerable amount financed the sending of eleven 40 ft. containers. Funds have also gone to replacing equipment lost to the hurricanes in Isla de la Juventud and to the urgent reconstruction of a community building in that Special Municipality. We have also purchased 22 digital pianos from Yamaha at a price that represents a substantial donation from the company (we paid 20% of the original price). These pianos will replace lost instruments in various parts of Cuba and will be distributed by the Nicolás Guillén Foundation and the Cuban Ministry of Culture.

The funds on hand, which amount to some $170,000, as well as all further donations to this continuing campaign, will go to what remains Cuba's first priority, the replacement of housing lost to the three powerful hurricanes which together wreaked damage of more than ten billion dollars to the island. In consultation with the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa, the CNC has decided to help the devastated Isla de la Juventud. We have been in contact with authorities in that Special Municipality, and they have indicated that the district known as the Veintiséis de Julio (26th of July) would be an appropriate focus of the help in housing reconstruction that we could provide. The people there have extended an invitation to Canadians to come to see and be thanked for what they have done so far and what they will be doing to help the people of the Isla de la Juventud.

Professor Keith Ellis, the Chair of the fundraising committee of the CNC, has expressed his gratitude for the generous contributions made by Canadians from all parts of the country and for the spirit of friendship, solidarity and reciprocity shown to Cuba which is so extraordinarily kind to people throughout the world. He also thanks the musicians, poets and other artists, including Cubans resident in Canada, who have been lending their talents to the campaign.

The CNC Co-Chair and Spokesperson, Professor Isaac Saney, thanks all the affiliates of the CNC in different parts of Canada for their hard work that has resulted not only in the raising of funds, but also in the strengthening of ties between the Canadian and Cuban people. He also thanks Sharon Skup for her outstanding work in support of the campaign.

Contact: Keith Ellis, 905 822-1972; zellis@yorku.ca
Isaac Saney, 902 423-4967; isaney@hotmail.com

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