Oct 25, -- For many people, Kreyol International Day, held since 1983 on October 28th, will go unnoticed. But for Cuba this date has a particular significance since our national identity includes immigrants from Haiti.
Kreyol, the language of Haiti, is a cultural mix of African and European with possible Amerindian roots.
Throughout the centuries, Cuba and Haiti have interwoven close ties. Cuba, the largest island of the Antilles, was home after the Haitian Revolution 1791-1804, to numerous immigrants. With their presence, language and customs they enriched the culture and economy of the country, mainly in eastern Cuba.
Subsequent waves of citizens of the neighboring country later expanded the Haitian presence, bringing Haitian cuisine and leaving their indelible mark in son montuno music and dances, as well as the Tumba Francesa parade.
There are currently half a million Haitian descendants and 400 natives living in Cuba. Their presence is mainly seen in central and eastern provinces of the island, and to a lesser extent, in Matanzas and Havana. The latter has a good representation of Creole-speaking residents.
Kreyol in Cuba has been transmitted from generation to generation, eager to preserve a language that emerged from the need of the slaves to communicate with each other in a culture of resistance.
It is a language spoken by over 12 million people in the Caribbean and it is taught in Cuba.
Kreyol is also one of the eight languages in which Radio Havana Cuba transmits, which has allowed the achievements of the Revolution to be known by many people in the area.
The Cuban collaborators and doctors who have been working in this sister nation since 1998 providing professional assistance were also encouraged to speak Kreyol.
The people and authorities of Haiti appreciate it because it is a way of expressing respect, friendship and the commitment that Cubans have for a country that has contributed to our identity and opened the doors of independence to other nations of Latin America and the Caribbean.
For many Haitians it has been a pleasant surprise to hear Cuban doctors converse fluently in Kreyol while caring for their patients.
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