Namibia concerned about plight of Cubans

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says the plight of Cuban people will always remain a matter of interest to Namibia.

She made the remarks yesterday, during the just-ended three day 5th Continental African Conference in Solidarity with Cuba held in Windhoek, which attracted over 170 African delegates and Cuban nationals.

The conference aimed to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the people of Cuba and progressive peoples of the world by recognising the important work done in support of Cuba based on its solidarity actions.

The three-day conference served as a platform for Cuba solidarity organisations to demand the lifting of the economic, financial and trade blockade against Cuba.

The other demand was the return of the territory illegally occupied by the U.S Naval Base and jail in Guantanamo Bay, which were the two main obstacles to the country’s development.

In this regard, she said Africa and in particular Namibia would continue to champion the cause of justice for all across the world, including the lifting of the unjust and debilitating economic and trade sanctions against Cuba, as well as the end to occupation of Guantanamo Bay.

“Since our attainment of national independence, our government has consistently called for the lifting of the U.S. economic embargos against Cuba. At the African Union, Namibia has continued to sponsor resolutions to this effect,” she said.

In addition, she said poverty alleviation could only be successfully achieved in a stable and peaceful environment.

For Countries of the South, economic growth and sustainable development remained a priority.

“Our socio-economic development will be achieved only if we maintain peace, justice and political stability on the African continent and the world at large.

“Our international relations and cooperation must therefore embrace the spirit of Africa-Asia-Latino solidarity, through regional and continental integration, as well as mutual respect and peaceful coexistence among all nations of the world,” she maintained.

Furthermore, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila urged Friendship Associations with Cuba to continue promoting projects that accelerate the realisation of Africa-Cuba cooperation.

Equally, she called on common values, as both nations work in unison on international platforms to promote their international trade, better international relations and cooperation.
The PM added this should include a more representative United Nations Security Council, and a more inclusive international financial and economic systems.

Such systems would be supportive of a more equitable sharing of benefits from increased international trade and economic growth amongst all nations of the world, so as to end the continued economic marginalisation of Africa.

Prominent Swapo liberation struggle icon, Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo, who is a patron of the Namibia-Cuba Friendship Association, said Africa’s solidarity with Cuba was born from their struggle and common ancestry.

He noted the Cuban people had a proud history of struggle against foreign domination.
Furthermore, the Cuban descendants of African slaves were an integral part of this struggle.
“From the earliest days of the Cuban revolution, the Cuban government and the Cuban people, led by Comrade Fidel Castro, joined the struggle to liberate Africa from colonial and apartheid domination. The internationalist vision of Comrade Fidel and Comrade Che Guevara was not an abstraction,” Ya Toivo stated.

The Cuban people embraced the struggles for the liberation of African peoples as their own, and Cuban internationalist volunteers in the tens of thousands came to Africa as soldiers, doctors and in other capacities to fight for the liberation of the entire African continent.

He said Cuban internationalism is felt daily in African countries, as medical personnel, agricultural specialists, architects and sports specialists render services to contribute to the improvement of the lives of people.

“The deep bonds forged between the people of Cuba and the peoples of Africa are unbreakable,” he remarked.

Like many other countries he said, Namibia’s and Cuba’s relationship was forged in the struggle for liberation, and added that the sacrifices the Cuban people made for Namibia to achieve its Independence were too great to quantify, because it was difficult to imagine the Swapo victory without the friendship of Cuba.

“In our struggle, as in many others, the Cuban people showed the world the true meaning of friendship and international solidarity among the peoples. Some may find it hard to believe that the people of a small island in the Caribbean could open their hearts to the peoples of so many far away nations as if they are members of their family.

“But Cuba has done this. Cuba has understood that all of humankind is a family and it has embraced us all as blood brothers and sisters,” he concluded.

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