Monday 10 February 2014


Cuba’s participation in Canberra’s Multicultural Festival 2014 was a roaring success.  As in the past few years the Cuban stall was a popular spot for visitors to the festival.  Young and old, entire families stopped to check the material on offer in the stall and to ask questions, many questions!
I would like to visit Cuba, how can I travel to Cuba? What kind of visa do I need? What is the best route/airline to take? What’s life like in Cuba? Somebody told me that you have lots of doctors in Cuba, is that true?  Would I be looked after if I became sick whilst visiting your country?

Those are the type of questions curious people kept asking time and time again.  And which the Embassy personnel on duty and a group of volunteers from the Australian Cuba Friendship Society of Canberra were very pleased to answer.

But, without a doubt, the highlight, the big event, was the great RAFFLE. A couple of years ago Don Pedro, the current Cuban Ambassador, had the great idea of starting a “free raffle”.  All the people had to do to be in it was to write their name, a contact phone number and an email address on a piece of paper, put it in the draw box and be there when the raffle was held (this year it was at 2.30pm sharp).  The excitement and enthusiasm when the time came was palpable in the atmosphere.  Faces lit up with expectation at the prospect of a superb bottle of Cuban rum or a couple of equally fine bottles of Cuban beer or, for the quietly converted aficionado and connoisseur, a Cuban cigar.  A Montecristo perhaps!!!

Our hats go to the Cuban Embassy staff and, indeed one of them went to Celia, Don Pedro’s wife and a key staff member of the embassy, who did such a tremendous job calling the prizes and the winners names under near 40 degrees temperature, most of the time without a hat!  Sweat, not tears, run down her face but she stood there until the last price and lucky winners' names were called. 

Well done Cuba, well done the Cuban Embassy staff.

HLVS from your Australian friends

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