Circulo Güinero de Los Angeles, California
Founded on October 31, 1965 by Güineros who arrived from Cuba as political refugees to live in the State of California. Its principal activities have been the economic and moral help to all Güineros who arrived in California, offering them a sum of money, furniture, and clothing, and above all, guidance, and support. It also holds patriotic, cultural, and civic events. A school for Cuban and Güinero children was established, staffed by competent and certified teachers that taught, in Spanish, Cuban History and Geography.
Círculo Güinero de Los Ángeles was founded on October 31, 1965 by Güineros who arrived from Cuba as political refugees to live in the State of California. The gathering took place in the backyards of the homes of two Güineros, Alfredo Rodríguez Marín and Joaquín Ortega Castellanos who lived next to each other at 427 and 423 N. Hobart Blvd., Los Angeles. It was attended by a majority of Güineros residing at that time in Southern California, who democratically decided to form this organization. The name Círculo Güinero de Los Ángeles was proposed by Efrén M. Guerra Díaz (aka., Bebo) and approved among others suggested by those in attendance. By acclamation, a Working Committee was appointed that governed the young organization during its first year until elections were held in 1966.
For several years it worked without a social hall, the Board of Directors meeting at the homes of several of the Directors. During the first years, elections were held at the International Institute in East Los Angeles, livened up for free by Maestro René Touzet at the piano, who was married to Güinera Isabel González Soret de Touzet and who donated his time and his art to highlight the activities.
On March 1968 the first issue of La Villa magazine, official voice of Círculo was published. This name for the publication was approved on a proposal by José R. Ferradaz Rivera, Director in 1968. It has continued being published without interruption up to now.
On May 5, 1968, at a special meeting of the General Assembly of Members, Círculo’s Bylaws were approved.
On August 27, 1968 the organization was legally incorporated in the State of California as a non-profit corporation, being granted tax exempt status by the Federal Government of the United States and by the State of California.
On September 8, 1968, it opened its social hall located at 430 S. Alvarado St., Los Angeles. Ten months later, on July 1, 1969, the organization moved to a bigger place, next door on 434 S. Alvarado St. In such halls, all meetings of the Board of Directors and many other activities were held, being a gathering center for many years of all Güineros residing in this area.
During 1980 with the arrival of Cubans in the Mariel boatlift, such hall was converted into a temporary home for many Güineros who arrived to California without means.
Since its foundation to date, Círculo has worked without interruption to achieve the purposes for which it was founded. Its principal activities have been the economic and moral help to all Güineros who arrive in California, offering them a sum of money, furniture and clothing, and, above all, guidance and support during the first times in a new location, with different customs. It published for several years a Directory of Güineros residing in the United States to bring in contact and communication those Mayabequinos of the Diaspora.
It also celebrated every year a banquet-dance during the month of January to commemorate the Day of the Absent Güinero, the Birthdate of José Martí and the feast day of Saint Julian, Bishop of Cuenca and Patron Saint of the Villa.
It held also patriotic, cultural and civic evenings. A school for Cuban and Güinero, children was established, staffed by competent and certified teachers that taught Spanish, Cuban History and Geography.
It held picnics in local parks, it organized excursions to different places of interest and narrowly cooperated with other Cuban organizations in Southern California, in connection with parades, street demonstrations and other type of civic-patriotic activities that required our support and attendance.
The social hall was closed on July 31, 1985, after being opened for 17 years, and since that date Círculo has kept functioning at Directors’ homes and at restaurants and other public places, holding working dinners or lunches, where Güinero matters presented, are considered and decided.
Every year, the members democratically elect the new Board of Directors, in free and secret elections, whose Board of Directors take office during the annual banquet commemorating the Day of the Absent Güinero.
When in the future, in a free Cuba, a review be made of the odissey of the Güinero exile, we are sure that the journey into California of the sons and daughters of the Mayabeque, will be the admiration and example of all and with justified pride, we, who participated in such journey, will only simply say that we just did our duty.
President, Círculo Güinero de Los Ángeles