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THEMUSEUM celebrates 70th anniversary of Canadian-Cuban diplomatic relations with new exhibition

Dialogue series to feature Cuban Ambassador to Canada and daughter of President Castro

Kitchener, ONTHEMUSEUM is proud to announce its upcoming international exhibition, The Havana Dialogues | 70 Years of Canadian-Cuban Diplomatic Relations, opening October 28, 2015. The exhibition features two collections of black and white photographs; one from the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa depicting the political relationship between the two countries, and a second by Canadian photographer Nick Devlin, which depicts the life and culture of modern day Cuba. A series of speakers, performances and screenings will explore the history, culture and politics of Cuba.
The Havana Dialogues will feature talks by two prominent figures: Raul Castro’s daughter, Dr. Mariela Castro Espin, who will speak about her work within Cuba’s LGBTQ community, and the Cuban Ambassador to Canada, Julio Garmendía Peña, who will speak about the history of Canadian-Cuban diplomatic relations.
“I am an advocate for sex education in Cuba, and have been working towards creating positive change for almost thirty years,” said Castro Espin, Director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education. “I am excited to be meeting with the LGBTQ community in Waterloo Region, and sharing stories. Cuba is more than just a tourist destination, and I will be sharing my insight and knowledge about the country’s people.”
“I am pleased to be visiting THEMUSEUM on the 70th anniversary of uninterrupted Canadian-Cuban diplomatic relations,” said Peña. “I will be discussing the history of these two country’s partnerships, and sharing stories and insight from my time serving as the Cuban Ambassador to Canada.”
Other notable speakers (see complete list below) will explore the unique relationship between former Prime Minister Trudeau and President Fidel Castro, the 1962 missile crisis, Ernest Hemingway, the Cuban revolutions and more. THEMUSEUM is also offering a number of film screenings on select Wednesday nights.
The Havana Dialogues | 70 Years of Canadian-Cuban Diplomatic Relations will also feature a variety of artifacts showcasing Cuba’s rich, cultural history. Items from private collectors and donors will exhibit themes including baseball, music, religion and politics.
“The goal of the exhibition is to create a dialogue surrounding Cuban history and culture, its connections to Canada, and the country’s unique diversity,” said David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM.
Noche en la Habana (A Night in Havana), presented in partnership with Havana Club, will fill THEMUSEUM with the sounds, food and colour of Cuban culture on Saturday, February 13, 2016, as it is transformed into a Cuban salsa paradise.
The Cassava Latin Band will headline the Valentine weekend party and feature salsa, cha cha-cha, bolero and other Cuban music.
Early-bird tickets are now available until January 4, 2016 for $65.00+HST each. Tickets will then rise to $75.00+HST on January 5, 2016. Early-bird ticket holders will also be treated to a free salsa dance lesson on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. Corporate and group rate tickets are also available; please visit for more details.
“The Havana Dialogues is a continuation of our feature country presentation, which has previously included China, Jamaica, Russia and Taiwan,” said David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM. “Our new event, Noche en la Habana (A Night in Havana), will showcase real Cuban culture, and provide a fun, entertaining night that will draw people into Kitchener’s downtown core; the event is not to be missed!”
The Havana Dialogues | 70 Years of Canadian-Cuban Diplomatic Relations will be on display from October 28, 2015 to February 28, 2016. More information about the exhibition, dialogue series, film screenings and Noche en la Habana (A Night in Havana) can be found online at
For more information, please contact:
David Marskell, CEO, THEMUSEUM

The Havana Dialogues Schedule

Sunday, November 1, 2015, 1:30pm
Official Opening
Cuban Ambassador to Canada, Julio Garmendia Pena will officially open The Havana Dialogues and discuss Canada Cuban relations on this 70th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015, 6:30pm
The Buena Vista Social Club (1999) 105 minutes
Aging Cuban musicians, whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' career. Directed by Wim Wenders.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 6:30 pm
Strawberry and Chocolate (1993) 108 minutes
This Oscar nominated film is the story of two men who are opposites, one gay, the other straight, one a fierce communist, the other a fierce individualist, one suspicious, the other accepting, and how they come to love each other. Directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío.
Wednesday, November 18 – Sunday November 22, 2015
Tour of Havana
A four-day cultural tour of Havana led by CEO David Marskell. SOLD OUT.
Sunday, November 22, 2015, 1:30pm
Three Nights in Havana by author Robert Wright
Author of the national best-seller Three Nights in Havana, historian Robert Wright will discuss Canada's relations with Cuba through the prism of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's unlikely friendship with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Embracing Cuba by author Byron Motley
Intrigued by tales of his parents' long-ago journey to the pre-revolutionary "Pearl of the Antilles," award-winning photographer Byron Motley traveled to Cuba more than a decade ago and instantly fell in love. He has returned many times with his camera to explore its vistas, people, and its spirit. Byron will join us from Los Angeles to share his book Embracing Cuba which includes a foreword by Dr. Mariela Castro Espin. Byron will also sign copies of his book.
Monday, November 23, 2015, 6:45 pm
Dr. Mariela Castro Espin
Dr. Mariela Castro Espin is the Director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education and daughter of current Cuban President Raul Castro. She has been instrumental in using art to educate the public about LGBTQ issues. The title of Mariela’s talk is to be announced.
*This is a ticketed event. Please visit for details.
Sunday, November 29, 2015, 1:30pm
Sugar, Politics, Society and the Path to Revolution: Cuba 1900-1959
Luz Maria Hernandez Saenz, Western University will analyse the political, economic and social factors that paved the way for the Cuban Revolution.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 6:30 pm
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) 126 minutes
The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his life's calling. Directed by Walter Salles.
Sunday, December 6, 2015, 1:30pm
Yes, You Can Go Home Again
Sister Silvia de la Fe Gonzalez, OFA is a Cuban refugee who as a child was put on a plane to Miami on Christmas Eve, 1958, five days before the triumph of the Revolution. At age 68, Sister Silvia finally returned to Cuba. Her dialogue will be about why she feels she can now return home.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 6:30 pm
Suite Habana: Un Filme De Fernando Pérez (2003) 80 minutes
Dawn breaks in La Habana (Havana) and as the day advances we follow the simple lives of ten ordinary Cubans, with only sounds and images accompanied by music directed by Fernando Pérez.
Sunday January 10, 2016, 1:30pm
Brian Gordon Sinclair
A look at Ernest Hemingway’s time spent in Cuba.
Sunday, January 24, 2016, 1:30pm
Cuban Culture and Society: What’s “New” in the New Cuba?
Susan Lord, Film and Media Studies/Cultural Studies, Queen's University & Karen Dubinsky, Global Development Studies/History, Queen’s University.
As Cuban-U.S relations thaw, and as Cuba “renovates” its economic model, what openings are these changes providing for cultural production? Susan Lord studies contemporary Cuban cinema and Karen Dubinsky studies contemporary Cuban music. Together they have taught Cuban Culture and Society which has brought Queen’s University students to Havana for nine years, to study the city’s rich cultural scene. They will reflect on the changes they have seen in Cuban cultural production, and why Havana remains such a strong cultural hub.
Wednesday, January 27, 2015, 6:30 pm
The Road to Guantanamo (2006) 95 Minutes
Part drama, part documentary, The Road to Guantánamo focuses on the Tipton Three, a trio of British Muslims who were held in Guantanamo Bay for two years until they were released without charge. Directed by Mat Whitecross, Michael Winterbottom.
Sunday January 31, 2016 
Cuba Today: Tourism Eloy Govea Rodríguez, Consul, Consulate General of Cuba in Toronto, Tourism Section 
This will be a dialogue on Cuban tourism today. More details to come.
Sunday, February 7, 2016, 1:30pm
The Eve of Destruction: Fidel Castro's Armageddon Letter, October 27, 1962 James G. Blight and janet M. Lang, Balsillie School of International Affairs & University of Waterloo, History
A breathtaking account of how the world came within a hair's breadth of nuclear war over Russian missiles in Cuba.
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Noche en La Habana (A Night in Havana), presented in partnership with Havana Club
A party featuring a six-person Cuban themed salsa band, Cuban food, rum and salsa paradise! Early-bird tickets include a night of free salsa dance lessons on Wednesday, January 13, 2016.
*This is a ticketed event. Please visit for details.
Dialogues will take place at 1:30pm on Sunday afternoons unless otherwise noted. Please visit for more information and pricing details about each specific event.

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