CAF members celebrate Hispanic Day on the Hill

Left to right: Capt Anton Rios-Zimienko, Cpl Eddy Castillo, Lt (N) Saul Andres Vasco Fonseca, Maj Eric Willrich, Capt Milton Hoyos, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Capt Grisaura Gutierrez, MCpl Guillermo Garza-Risueño, Sergio Rodriguez, MCpl Carlos Vilca-Cevallos, Douglas Vidal, Capt Rey Garcia-Salas
Left to right: Capt Anton Rios-Zimienko, Cpl Eddy Castillo, Lt (N) Saul Andres Vasco Fonseca, Maj Eric Willrich, Capt Milton Hoyos, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Capt Grisaura Gutierrez, MCpl Guillermo Garza-Risueño, Sergio Rodriguez, MCpl Carlos Vilca-Cevallos, Douglas Vidal, Capt Rey Garcia-Salas. Photo: Submitted

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By Captain Rey Garcia-Salas, 33 Signal Regiment

A group of Latin American officers and NCMs from the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force as well as civilian members of the Defence Team celebrated Hispanic Day on October 16, 2018 on Parliament Hill.

This year, the celebration had an additional connotation, because the Latin American Heritage Month Act S-218 has been approved at the federal level in both the Parliament and the Senate. Therefore every October, there will now be an official celebration of the Latin American Heritage month in Canada.

The event included speeches explaining the importance of celebrating the Latin American Heritage, and was attended by Senators, MPs, and the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Latin American dance groups performed folkloric dances, and local groups provided authentic Latin American food.

Within the attendees were Captain Rey Garcia-Salas and Capt Milton Hoyos, who began organizing Latin American activities within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) some 8 years ago. Also in attendance were Capt Grisaura Gutierrez, and Mr. Sergio Rodriguez, NCR-DVMAG Co-Chair. These Defence Team members promote activities such as the CAF Latin American Christmas Dinner, participations in the Festival Latino Parades, and The Encuentro Internacional Latino Gala Dinner in the National Capital Region.

With a dynamic Latin American community, we are excited to celebrate the Latin American Heritage Month within the Defence Team every year, starting for the first time next year. We are a multicultural country, and this celebration will reflect the wider community of our great nation. It will also provide the opportunity for the senior officers, managers and colleagues to learn more about our culture and interact with other members of the Defence Team.

Some of the planned activities include:

DND/CAF Military Latin American History Exhibition: This event will feature images of Latin American Canadians on missions, demonstrating the Latin American Community’s contribution to the CAF in Canada and overseas, in war-zones and on peacekeeping missions.

Distinguished Latin-Canadians Guest Speaker Series: A panel of important Latin American Canadians who contribute to Canada in different areas such as medicine, defence, research and politics.

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