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Speech of Presentation of CCF

(on January 30, 1999 at 427 Bloor St., Toronto)

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen:

There will always be occasions for friends and people of good will to get together and exchange ideas and joys. Home is where one finds love and friendship; and today we are here, in this wonderful country that is Canada, in the company of Cuban, Canadian and many Latin American friends to share these hours in the spirit of camaraderie and friendship. You all know that there is a large exiled Cuban community scattered all over the world. These are difficult times for our Cuban people, due to the inevitable demands of a peaceful transition to democracy and we should help to see that that is accomplished. Ordinary people are always the primary victims of bad governments. Ordinary people can turn bad governments into good ones; ordinary people can make bad governments change or disappear. We would like the Canadian government to make an objective analysis of the Cuban situation and help to solve it in a dignified manner. We would like all to lend a helping hand, but in a sensible and dignified manner.

We wish to dedicate this event for the official presentation of the Cuban Canadian Foundation to the memory of Jose Marti, to his 146th birth anniversary, because Jose Marti, the national hero of Cuban freedom and independence, left us a valuable message about our social responsibilities. He said that "he who obeys a bad government and does not work for his government to be good is not an honest man." We want to be faithful followers of Marti's ideals. We have thoroughly studied the ideas of the One and Only Marti who longed for a republic "with every one and for the good of every one", who professed love, respect and tolerance for individual ideas and beliefs. I have recently finished writing a book in which I assess his thinking and elaborate on this matter. That is why our Cuban Canadian Foundation states as one of the fundamental precepts of its platform that: "...it will abide under any circumstance by the principles of Marti's thinking." This is and will literally be a fact. Marti's thinking is of a universal magnitude and it is good for all to know about it. In his literary works he spoke about every aspect of human existence, in a way that all could understand. His extensive poetical and philosophical works are of immense value to world literature and humankind. Marti set a courageous example and wrote a glorious chapter of Cuban history; he died for his ideals, for the ideals of a better world as he had "faith in human betterment, in future of humankind, in the usefulness of virtues."

Dear friends, our Cuban Canadian Foundation will do its utmost, both spiritually and materially, to strengthen unity and friendship between Cubans in Cuba and Cubans in exile, and among Cubans, Latin Americans and Canadian citizens in this democratic nation. Our head staff is composed of 20 members; among them there are 6 vice-presidents and 10 directors with specific responsibilities and lots of enthusiasm to work. We also have various representatives in different Canadian cities and overseas, and we keep growing! We want to establish links with non-governmental foundations and organizations and with governments that practice tolerance and respect for individual civil rights to help us in achieving our goals. We have created a club of professionals from different fields of expertise to see to the needs of artists, technicians and other professionals in general. We also have a women's club with specific interests. We have scheduled several activities, such as children's events, and for all to participate and bring their cultures together. We have organized a great dance event with costumes, prizes, draws and auctions to raise money to help the needy in Cuba and the Cuban community in Canada. We are also working hard to set up our own information network. I could go on mentioning all the good things we are working on, but I am sure you would like to see them in practice and that is why we ask for your cooperation.

On one of the early occasions I was interviewed when I arrived in Canada as an exile, I was asked what was the first thing I was going to do, and I replied that first and foremost I would say thank you. I am one of those who thinks that a person's greatest virtue is to be grateful. The creation of this Foundation is one of our ways of saying thank you. I owe this country my freedom, and from this country I will work for the freedom of others. In this atmosphere of unity and friendship we would like to welcome you to this event, invite you to participate in upcoming events of the Foundation and request your support to our initiatives in any way you can. I want to express to all of you my appreciation for being here tonight and for having made this activity and the creation of the Cuban Canadian Foundation possible.

Thanks for coming. Thank you very much.

Ismael Sambra
President (CCF)


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