By Elvis Muraranganda
PRESIDENT Hage Geingob has described the selfless acts by the Cuban people, and their late leader revolutionary Fidel Castro, as “true friendship” to the people Africa.
Geingob said that immediately after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, under the “gallant” leadership of Castro, the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples was established (ICAP).
He stressed that this was a clear demonstration that already at that critical time, when the consolidation of their revolution was being initiated, Cubans were thinking about helping other people, who were still colonised and oppressed.
Geingob made these remarks during the opening of the 5th Continental African Conference in Solidarity with Cuba, held in Windhoek this week.
He quoted Cuban hero, José Martí who once said that “in a time of crisis, the people of the world must rush to know each other”.
“Cubans indeed rushed to Africa, Latin America and Asia, so that we can know each other,” said Geingob.
“The people of Cuba, under the iconic leadership of Castro, followed Martí’s wise words, and while in crisis themselves, they stretched out their brotherly and sisterly hand in solidarity with the oppressed people of the world – and the people of Africa in particular.”
Geingob repeated remarks he made at Castro’s memorial service last year, when he asked, “What is the price of freedom? What is the cost of liberating a nation? How much do you pay a country which fought for you when others were allies to your enemy?”
He said that according to Castro, helping with the liberation of the oppressed should never be for economic gain, but only to gain in conscience.
No other person, Geingob believes, has left such a peerless, enduring and awe-inspiring legacy on the struggle for self-determination, which spread across the world during the latter half of the 20th century.
“Fidel not only became a symbol of revolution and a linchpin of Cuba-Africa solidarity, but he also became a symbol of true friendship and selflessness.
“Even though he knew Cuba needed all its resources to build upon the legacy of its revolution, he still provided military, social and economic support to the peoples of Asia, Latin America and Africa,” Geingob said.
He added that Castro was, and will always be, a true revolutionary in every sense of the word.
“We must all emulate (Castro), as we find ourselves in new world dynamics, and find new friends, we should always remember his words, ‘One can negotiate anything except principles’.”
Geingob then called for solidarity, in terms of agreeing on new strategies to work together, and for greater engagement on lifting the United States economic blockade against Cuba.
Namibian liberation icon and former Robben Island prisoner, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, who spoke at the same event, said the Namibian people benefited enormously from Cuba.
Ya Toivo spoke in his capacity as the President of the Namibia-Cuba Friendship Association.
“As Africans, our solidarity with Cuba was born from our struggle and our common ancestry,” Ya Toivo said.
“The Cuban people have a proud history of struggle against foreign domination. The Cuban descendants of African slaves were an integral part of this struggle,” he said.
“Like many other countries, Namibia and Cuba’s relationship was forged in our struggle for liberation.
“The sacrifices that the Cuban people made for Namibia to achieve its independence are too great to quantify, because it is difficult to imagine the Swapo victory without the friendship of Cuba,” added Ya Toivo.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015