The Courier

Latin American Soldiers in Canada Remembrance Book – Volume 1 – Supplied Photo

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Diversity is a source of strength and resilience in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). It is the embodiment of those Canadian values integral to the military ethos and to the effectiveness of the CAF at home and abroad. The CAF is committed to reflecting the face of Canada’s population among its ranks, reflecting Canadian ideals of multiculturalism, diversity, inclusion, gender equality and respect.

In 2010, Captain Milton Hoyos and Captain Rey Garcia-Salas began organizing and implementing activities within the Defence Team to celebrate Latin American heritage and diversity in the CAF. Since that time, they have reached out to approximately 1500 military members and 500 civilian employees over the phone, through emails and by word-of-mouth to raise awareness about their heritage and culture.

As part of the celebration for Pan American Day, the Embassy of Mexico co-hosted, with the Latin American Soldiers Committee, the presentation of the “Latin American Soldiers in Canada Remembrance Book Vol I” on April 14, 2023. Members from the Canadian Armed Forces, DND’s Directorate of History and Heritage members, Military attaches from Latin American and abroad, diplomatic members, distinguished guests, and community members were in attendance. The event offered those with Latin American roots an opportunity to connect and embrace their heritage in Canada. Attendees also had an opportunity to learn more about the role that Latin Americans have played in the defence of Canada since the First World War.

The Mexican Ambassador in Canada, Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez, spoke of community initiatives that have helped support and promote a better understanding of Latin American history and the role that Mexicans and Latin Americans have played in shaping the world we’ve inherited. This was followed by a panel discussion chaired by the Mexican Consul Juan Gabriel Morales with guests Nick McCarthy and Captain Rey Garcia-Salas (Latin American Soldiers Committee in Canada), and historian Dr. Andre Levesque (Retired CAF and Veterans Affairs).

Creation of the Latin American Soldiers in Canada Remembrance Book was managed by Editorial Director Nick McCarthy and Design Director Giuseppe Marconi, while Capt. Garcia-Salas took care of content production. The introduction to the book was written by Mexican Consul Juan Gabriel Morales and Military attaché of Mexico to Canada General German Alejandro Frias Moreno.

For soldiers of Latin-American heritage, the Canadian Armed Forces’ story of multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion is not a new initiative. It began generations ago when Latin-Americans took up arms to serve in the First World War. It was just the beginning for the integration that is a key component of the Canadian Armed Forces’ culture and protocols.

For more articles by this author on this subject, click here and here.

Ambassador of Mexico in Canada Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez – Supplied photo

From left to right: Mexican Consul Juan Gabriel Morales Panelist Panel Moderator, Nick McCarthy Latin American Soldiers Committee Panelist, Ambassador of Mexico Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez, Captain Rey Garcia-Salas CAF and Latin American Soldiers Committee Panelist, Giuseppe Marconi Latin American Soldiers, Dr Andre Levesque Historian Panelist (CAF and Veterans Affairs retired) – Supplied photo

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