During the inaugural gala held at the Heredia Cultural Complex, the Director of Casa del Caribe, Orlando Verges stressed that each event is a cultural conquest due to the unity it promotes to the region's integration and an action to reinstate Caribbean identity.
The Fire Festival is a real example that culture can find the path to solidarity among humanity, said Verges, and reiterated the condemnation of the organizing committee to US President Donald Trump's interference, anti-Cuban and reactionary policies.
Meanwhile, Bonaire's Deputy of Social, Education and Cultural Affairs, Nina den Heyer expressed that it is an honor to have the festival dedicated to her country and the possibility of promoting their culture, which is influenced by indigenous, African and European culture.
We are a small nation, barely 20 thousand inhabitants, but we have a rich and unique culture, said den Heyer. She also thanked the Casa del Caribe for the opportunity of sharing the event with the people from Bonaire considered one of the most important event of its type in the region.
The Steel Band orchestra from the town of El Cobre performed in the inaugural gala as well as soloist Zulema Iglesias, Madrigalista choir, the Folkloric Ballet of Oriente, Azabache group, Identidad Dance Company from the province of Cienfuegos and groups from the island of Bonaire.
Culture Minister Abel Prieto and Deputy Culture Minister Abel Acosta also attended the inaugural event.
Cuba's Culture Minister Abel Prieto said that the Caribbean Festival is a moment of love and dialogue among the peoples. He said that today there is a tendency to build walls and borders, revive hate and racism, but in this crazy world, where living together in a civilized manner among nations is in danger, an event like this, where there is a cultural dialog is a symbol that can really save the world.
Culture, he said, is one of the few alternatives left for humanity to save us from this barbarism, and this festival has been and will continue to be a source of strength in face of delirium, arrogance, desire to divide and hate.
This is not an event to construct a pseudo folkloric imagine of our identity, it's an event felt by the people from Santiago and others from across the island and it serves as a scenario to strengthen cultural tourism, said Prieto.
He added that the Caribbean Festival continues to be a space to meet and relate with the Caribbean and praised the constancy of the artists and intellectuals from Santiago of 37 years of festivals welcoming brothers and sisters from different latitudes.
The Cuban Culture Minister highlighted the great response of the current festival among the people from Bonaire whose delegation is made up of 200 people that have expressed extraordinary enthusiasm.
Inaugurated on April 1981 by the late writer and researcher Joel James Figarola and other renowned artists and intellectuals from the province of Santiago de Cuba, the Fire Festival has become a cultural resistance space for the region.
This combines two separate news reports – links to both reports below