FEC connects U to Cuban culture

The sounds of Cuban music and the smell of roasted pork attracted students and faculty to the UC Rock Monday for the kick off of “A Week of Cuban Culture.”

The weeklong group of events is hosted by the Federacion de Estudiantes Cubanos (FEC), a student-run organization that raises awareness of Cuban culture, and will continue through Friday.

FEC, whose members are also celebrating the organization’s 40th anniversary, welcomed more than 100 students to the opening ceremonies, which featured guest speakers such as philanthropist and businesswoman Dany Garcia Johnson, Grammy-winning Cuban singers and composers Jon Secada and Albita Rodriguez, and Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. They were each presented with the Young Urban Cuban American Award during the ceremony.

“We think it is important that we make the community more aware of the wonderful culture that has brought so much color to the Miami atmosphere and to the entire world,” FEC President Elena Smukler said.

This is the second year that FEC is doing an entire week of Cuban cultural events, whereas in the past it only lasted three days.

In addition to the opening ceremonies, FEC also hosted a domino tournament, a traditional Cuban game, Monday night along with entertainment by a Cuban group called “Azucar.” Yesterday, students attended “Discover Cuba,” which provided an in-depth look at Cuban culture.

“I think [the events] represent us very accurately,” Saily Martinez, a sophomore, said. “What you see is what we are: food, music, everybody gets together and we have fun.”

Camila Martin may be contacted at c.martin@umiami.edu.

There are two events today: At 1:30 p.m. a Cuban carnival called “The Rhythm is Gonna Get U” will be at the UC Patio. Students will be able to listen to a Cuban band, taste traditional Cuban food, enjoy exhibits of Cuban artists, win prizes in the carnival’s games and paint maracas. At 5:15 p.m., there will be a lecture by Cuban culture anthropologist Ruth Behar called “Why Identity Matters.”

On Friday, FEC hosts an event titled “Cuban vs. Cuban American: Discussion” in the Cuban Heritage Collection of the Richter Library at noon.