Friday, September 21, 2007

Cuba Has Always Supported Africa


Cuba Has Always Supported Africa

By: Luis Luque Álvarez
2007-09-17 | 14:09:00 EST

Alfa Omar Konaré, chairperson for the Commission of the African Union (AU) met in Havana with Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque for official talks.

Konaré said in the welcoming ceremony that "Nobody forgets the sacrifice of the young Cubans in Angola, in the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, in the struggle against apartheid, all examples of Cuban internationalism. Cuba has always been with us, and we have been with Cuba. It has shared the few things it has had, showing that you don’t have to be wealthy to share.'

The distinguished visitor said that despite intense external pressures, African leaders maintain relations with Cuba.

He also paid tribute to the group of young people who came aboard the Granma yacht to change history with a revolution that enabled their people to choose their own destiny.

"Fidel belongs to this group. The word Fidel is more than a name; it is a symbol that goes above and beyond. Today, our thoughts are with him, and we wish him good health."

Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque noted that the 53 member countries of the AU maintain relations with Cuba, which will be strengthened with the visit of such a high ranking African political figure.

Perez Roque recalled that more than 350,000 Cuban people fought side-by-side Africans for 15 years against the despicable apartheid regime, and that more than 2,000 Cubans died in the struggle.

He said that, so far, 34,000 young Africans have graduated in Cuba, and some 2,000 are currently studying in Cuban universities, 500 of which are studying Medicine. In Africa, he noted, there are 2,400 Cubans working as engineers, educators and healthcare professionals.

Pérez Roque also spoke about Cuba’s optimism as to the role of the AU in the defense of African’s rights to peace, justice and development, as well as its demand for a more important role in the UN Security Council, where Africa seeks at least two permanent seats.

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