7 June 2017

Africa Reaffirms Support for Cuba

Cuban national Cristina Catala Quintana yesterday begged the United States of America to end the 58-year economic blockade that has been imposed on Cuba.

She was speaking on the sidelines of the fifth Continental African Conference in solidarity with Cuba held in Windhoek on Monday.

The two-day conference, which started on Monday, was attended by 183 delegates from more than 26 African countries.

Held under the theme 'Intensify Solidarity and Continuing the Legacy of Fidel and Che', the conference resolved to demand an end to the illegal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba in 1958.

Quintana, a medical doctor based in Zambia, said during her time in Cuba, she had encountered situations where patients could not get better treatment, and attempts to import drugs failed due to the embargo.

Expressing her gratitude to the solidarity and support shown by various African countries, Quintana said she hopes things do not get worse under the current US administration.

Nigerian Cuba Friendship and Cultural Association member Issa Aremu said the conference was an important one, but pointed out that to assist Cuba, African countries must unite first.

"We cannot talk about solidarity with Cuba while xenophobia rages in African countries. Africa must also get united.

Our leaders and presidents should come together. We cannot give what we ourselves do not have," he stated.

Joe Nene of the South African Communist Party expressed the hope that some programmes should be set up to assist Cuba fight the embargo, which has heavily affected its economy.

"We need to find ways to force the US to surrender, just as we had been able to do against the apartheid regime here in South Africa," he said.

Media reports have hinted at US president Donald Trump imposing a travel ban on Cuba as other news outlets reported on Cuba's alleged human rights violations and its high number of imprisoned journalists.

Despite the alleged human rights violations, Cuba has continued to enjoy the support of African countries due to its solidarity and support in various liberation wars in Africa.

Apart from Africa reaffirming its commitment to fight with Cuba against the embargo and the illegal presence of the Americans on Guantanamo Bay, it also declared its support for a better world with social justice and equal opportunities.

The declaration furthermore resolved to continue developing and strengthening solidarity with Cuba, to fight for unity and truth, and to also continue actively promoting trade at the highest level with Cuba.

The conference also pledged support for the independence of Puerto Rico, for the Bolivian Revolution in Venezuela, and for ties to Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina.

The conference had two commissions: one on the role of solidarity, and the other on strengthening solidarity movements where the declarations originated.

Although its closing session was held yesterday, there will be a laying of wreaths at Heroes Acre today, with deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and the president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Fernando Gonzalez, expected to attend.

The next conference will be held in Nigeria in 2019.

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