UM immersed in Three Days of Cuban Culture

Organizers hope to inspire unity among generations young & old
Cuban Cubanismo [Cuban pride] spread when the Federacion de Estudiantes Cubanos [FEC], recently named Organization of the Year, hosted Three Days of Cuban Culture, a series of events that showcased Cuban cultures and traditions to anyone who was interested.
“We all have a common link and that’s tradition,” Cristina Arriaza, vice-president and coordinator of the events, said. “All of this is coordinated by the middle generations, linking the older and younger generations. Although time progresses, traditions do remain.”
“The times have changed, but our traditions remain,” Robert Castro, outgoing FEC president, said.
Participants agreed with Arriaza’s sentiments.
“It was nice introducing how kids are a part of the culture and how they are keeping the roots alive,” Ivette Landestoy, senior, said.
Beyond linking various generations, the events helped to showcase the various facets of Cuba.
“We want to familiarize people who aren’t aware of Cuban culture through every aspect – food, dance and traditions,” Arriaza said. “We want to increase awareness so that maybe we can dispel stereotypes and so that any misconceptions will be clarified.”
The opening ceremonies included Salsa dancers from the UM Salsa Craze, which also offers Salsa lessons throughout the semester, and a domino competition on the UC patio, in which students played against legendary domino players from Calle Ocho Park.
Several students mentioned that they liked the music provided by Tropical Paradise, an Afro-Cuban band, that contributed to the ambiance of the events.
Amanda Hoyos, sophomore, was one of the students who moved to the music.
“I think this is great,” she said. “I love this kind of music.”
Students were also treated to samples of Cuban coffee from Pilon and guava pastries, plantain chips and Cuban fried chicken from Islas Canaria’s Restaurant and Gilbert’s Bakery. Other sponsors of the event included Transatlantic Bank, Patio and Things and Student Government.
Ulises Perez, a graduate student, thought the event was not only a great celebration, but also a good study break.
“I needed a break from everything,” Perez said. “I like what they are doing and I think that they should do it more often.”
Day three of Cubanismo included a cooking lesson in the Breezeway showing students how to make a traditional Cuban meal and letting them sample it. A panel discussion regarding the documentary Made in Cuba: Children of Paradise, which examines the human rights of the children in Cuba, followed in the evening.
“The video was very informative,” Irene Ricano, senior, said. “I remember hearing my mom talk about how Cuba was but I never really listened. When I saw the video I saw the struggles that she had through other people’s perspective. It shows that the whole island is going through so much trouble.”
Arriaza encourages students to continue to celebrate Cuban culture year-round including visiting the Cuban Heritage Collection, located in the Richter Library, which is the largest collection of Cuban documents and artifacts outside of Cuba. Also, Casa Bacardi, which hosts various Cuban cultural events and exhibits throughout the year, is another campus resource for Cuban culture.
“We encourage everyone to visit and see a piece of our culture,” Arriaza said.
For more information about the Cuban Heritage Collection contact 305-284-4900. For more information regarding events offered at Casa Bacardi contact 305-284-CUBA. For more information on FEC, contacts

Marquita Bell can be contacted at