Events in Halifax: Moncada Day 2014

One of the many tent exhibits at Victoria Park in 2012

One of the many tent exhibits at Victoria Park in 2012

Moncada Day 2014 – two events – July 25 and 26

On the 61st anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban revolution


invites you to a celebration of Cuba, its people, its culture, its history

Victoria Park, Spring Garden Road at South Park

Saturday, July 26, 12 noon – 6 pm Rain or Shine

Music  •  Dancing  •  Poetry  •  Displays  •  Speeches

Cost: Free Accessibility: Ground level and open

Celebrated throughout Cuba on 26 July, Moncada Day commemorates the attempt to storm the Moncada military barracks in 1953 by a group of patriots led by Fidel Castro who were trying to overthrow the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Bapista. Although unsuccessful this attempt is thought to be the beginning of the Cuban Revolution.

Every year, for the past few years, Nova Scotia Cuba Association has been organizing a commemoration of this important Cuban holiday in order to raise awareness of the Cuban Revolutions, Cuban history, and culture amongst Nova Scotians. Weather permitting, there will be live music to 3 pm presented by local jazz legend Jeff Goodspeed with world renown Chicoy and Augusto from Cuba! There will also be recorded music, dancing, displays, literature, speeches, cultural performance, and dominoes games all starting at noon and running through to 6 pm.

Sponsored by NS Cuba Association and Canadian Network on Cuba

– – –

Film Screening

Fidel! • A Saul Landau Film

5pm, Friday, July 25 • Just Us! Cafe • 5896 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax

Sponsored by NSCUBA and Canadian Network on Cuba

Come and see the acclaimed film, FIDEL!, which chronicles a unique moment in Cuban history. Made ten-years after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution by the late acclaimed film-maker & scholar Saul Landau, FIDEL! documents a unique moment in the history of Cuba and the trajectory of the Cuban Revolution. Granted unprecedented access, Landau filmed & interviewed Fidel Castro as he criss-crossed Cuba, visiting farmers, schools, community elders, playing baseball etc. Most interesting and poignant is Fidel Castro’s discussion and elaboration of the philosophy, politics and history undergirding the Cuban Revolution.

The late Saul Landau was an internationally-known scholar, author, commentator, and filmmaker on U.S. foreign policy. Landau’s most widely praised achievements are the over forty films he produced on social, political and historical issues, and worldwide human rights, for which he won the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, the George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting, and the First Amendment Award, as well as an Emmy for Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang. Landau wrote over ten books, short stories and poems. He received an Edgar Allen Poe Award for Assassination on Embassy Row, a report on the 1976 murders of Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier and his colleague, Ronni Moffitt.

History of Moncada Day

On July 26th, 1953, a group of courageous young men and women – led by Cuba’s former president, Fidel Castro – attacked the Moncada Barracks in the city of Santiago de Cuba, and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Barracks in Bayamo, in an attempt to overthrow the dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Fidel Castro and other captured rebels  arriving at the Santiago city jail, following his arrest after the failed coup at Moncada Barracks, Cuba, 26th July 1953.

Fidel Castro and other captured rebels
arriving at the Santiago city jail, following his arrest after the failed coup at Moncada Barracks, Cuba, 26th July 1953.

The attacks were carried out by an organization that was created in 1952, under the leadership of Fidel Castro and Abel Santamaría, and comprised of young workers, students, artisans, peasants and landless farmers. It had around 1,500 members and affiliated itself with previous historic Cuban national liberation figures such as José Martí and Antonio Maceo. Around 120 youths were part of the attacks, approximately 70 of whom were killed, with many being tortured and executed after the attack. The survivors, including Fidel Castro, were subsequently put on trail and given lengthy prison sentences. Most, including Fidel Castro, were released after an amnesty in May 1955. This amnesty was the result of the mass mobilization of Cubans in support of the imprisoned rebels.

Undaunted and exiled to Mexico, the survivors of the 26 of July movement returned to Cuba on the yacht Granma three years later, where they launched a successful guerrilla campaign which saw them overthrowing the dictatorship on January 1, 1959.

fidel-early-daysWhile the attack failed in fulfilling its immediate objective, it is considered by Cubans to be a major contribution to their struggle for national affirmation and social emancipation. Cubans have always placed Moncada in a broad historical context, viewing it as a crucial link in the centuries-long striving of Cuba to, first, free itself from colonialism and then, second, establish authentic independence. At his trial Fidel Castro delivered a speech that eventually became the manifesto of the movement to overthrow the Batista tyranny. It was published as Historia Me Absolvera (History Will Absolve Me) and laid out the national and social goals of the revolutionary movement that eventually triumphed on January 1st, 1959. Today, the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks are now a school and a museum.

The commemoration of Moncada Day is a reflection of the long and growing relations of mutual respect that have 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. Currently, there exist numerous institutional and personal relations between Nova Scotia and Cuba. NSCUBA is one of the manifestations of this reality. It was established in 1989 by a group of students, professors, and activists following the highly successful Halifax conference on Cuba sponsored by the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Development, Saint Mary’s University and Dalhousie University.


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Moncada Day 2014 Hfx poster

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