President Jacob G. Zuma joins the 51st Anniversary Celebrations of the Cuban Revolution

President Jacob G. Zuma, on behalf of the people of the Republic of South Africa, would like to join President Raul Castro and the people of Cuba in celebrating the 51st anniversary of the 1 January 1959 victory of the Cuban Revolution. We take this opportunity to pay homage to the people of Cuba and their leaders – particularly the former president, Fidel Castro, the current president Raul Castro, and the late internationalist revolutionary, Che Guevara.

From those humble beginnings in 1959, the president of the newly-independent Cuban socialist state immediately committed and availed “our country and our resources… at the disposal of the [Cuban] sister nations.” And it is no wonder that South Africa’s national liberation movement was among the first to benefit from such generosity.

The relationship  between Cuba and the people of South Africa were further strengthened in 1994 when formal diplomatic relations were established – and such diplomatic relations have yielded many more benefits for our emerging democracy. South Africa has benefited most significantly in various areas including health (in terms of the country seconding medical doctors to be stationed in South Africa’s rural hospitals; training of young South Africans as medical doctors in Cuba), cultural and academic exchange programmes, and technology transfer and capacity building in the areas of energy generation.

Quoting the words of Fidel Casto, the relationship between Cuba and South Africa will “bring revolutionary enthusiasm, revolutionary faith and the certainty that our two countries will march forward victoriously.”

Since 1959, Cuba has excelled in the areas of literacy (the country having the highest literacy rate in the whole world), credited by the UN as a country having the lowest child mortality rate across the world, and it has the highest rate of medical specialists in the whole world. The country has also excelled in sports, art and culture programmes.

We will, as a country, continue to pay homage to the sacrifices made by the Cuban people not just in support of our people in South Africa, but all people particularly in developing countries who were struggling against colonialism for their national self-determination.

We are also calling upon all countries, particularly the USA, to lift the trade embargo against Cuba and its people.

For more information contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi on 082 940 1647.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road

31 December 2009

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