Orlando Vargas and Sidoel Stanley. Photo: Prensa Latina
By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba -- Cuba has dedicated the 34th Fiesta del Fuego (Festival of Fire) in honour of Suriname, a unique and exotic country in the Americas that has put on display its rich ethnic and cultural expressions that derive from Africans, Amerindians, Dutch, Hindustanis, Javanese, Jews, and Lebanese, which opened on Thursday in Santiago de Cuba.
Sidoel Stanley, director of Culture of Suriname, highlighted the role of artistic expression as a way of integrating people at the opening of the festival.
He said, “I feel very happy to be in this city and honoured that the festival is dedicated to my country.”
Orlando Vargas, director of the Casa del Caribe, the entity organizing the Fiesta del Fuego, thanked and dedicated this event to Suriname, and highlighted the remarkable Cuban participation in Carifesta which was held in Suriname in 2013, and predicted that this meeting will lead to closer relations between Cuba and Suriname, according to the Cuban news agency, Prensa Latina.
Vargas recalled that it was Suriname that opened the international festival back in 1983 when it sent a large delegation to Cuba. This year, there are about 160 Surinamese artistes at the Festival of Fire.
In addressing the audience, Vargas said, "Tonight we bring glory to Suriname."
He added, "Suriname has made a good first impression. Welcome to the home of the Caribbean.”
The Surinamese artistes and scholars will interact with other participants from some 30 nations, primarily from the Caribbean and Latin America, and also from the United States and Europe, according to Prensa Latina.
The minister of education, Ashwin Adhin is in Cuba overseeing and supporting his Surinamese artistes and is very impressed by the Cuban welcome of his delegation.
The Festival will run until July 9, and includes musical, dance and theatrical performances, exhibitions of visual arts and popular religious tendencies, and academic sessions that favour mutual knowledge and bring peoples closer together through the spirituality of their cultures, stated the Cuban news agency.