“…No one should expect – in order to normalise relations with the United States - Cuba will renounce the principles and ideals for which several generations of Cubans have struggled throughout more than half a century. The right of every State to choose the economic, political and social system it wishes, without any interference whatsoever should be respected,”
Raul Castro, second President of Cuba on the first anniversary of the proclamation to re-establish diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.
THIS week, on the eve of the New Year, Cuba has celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the triumph of its Revolution.
It was on the 1st January 1959 to be precise, that the revolutionary forces of Fidel Castro and his companions, most prominently remembered being Che Guevara and Raul Castro entered Havana from the Sierra Maestra Mountains of the Cuban countryside to topple the US-backed Batista regime.
Clearly, as has been observed in the intervening half a century, the Cuban Revolution has become a comprehensive textbook for all Third World countries towards genuine independence away from neo-colonialism.
But also a lot of water has streamed under the bridge in so far as relations between Cuba and other countries is concerned, its neighbours in particular.
This most immediate neighbour being no other country than the current world’s uni-polar power, the United States of America.
If there is an American President most people in the developing world remember with both esteem and respect, he is Barrack Obama. Why?
He saw sense in the reality that while one was free to choose a friend, the same option was not the case with one’s neighbour. One is bound to amicably co-exist with one’s neighbour, come rain, come storms!
For this reason, Barrack Obama became the first American President to visit Cuba; a visit of which crowned his watershed executive decision to resume diplomatic relations between the two countries on December 17, 2014.
In the intervening period, both countries have reopened embassies in their respective capitals in ceremonies globally applauded.
But in spite of the declared intention of President Obama who initiated the resumption of relations with Cuba, urging his country’s Congress to remove economic sanctions against Cuba; the economic blockade against Cuba is still in place under current US President, Donald Trump.
“The persecution of Cuba’s legitimate financial transactions as well as the extraterritorial impact of the blockade hurting the Cuban economy has, on the contrary, been tightened,” according to former Cuban leader, Raul Castro, who succeeded his brother, Fidel, one year after the resumption of diplomatic relations
Raul Castro, now Chairman of Cuba’s ruling party, the Communist Party of Cuba added then: “The United States is still implementing programmes that are harmful to Cuba’s sovereignty, such as projects aimed at bringing about counter-revolution via massive funding of a media campaign against the socialist economic order of my country.”
Consequently, the international community, via the United Nations General Assembly has approved a resolution, and every year for that matter, supporting the necessity of ending the “economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”
A similar resolution in support of Cuba and repugnant of the United States in its economic blockade came into being recently.
Tanzania has not been left behind in support of the Cuban people suffering under the American blockade.
Spoke Foreign Minister, Augustine Mahiga at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly: “… With time, we feel and see that minimum efforts have been made to meet such hopes of the international community of ultimately lifting the embargoes, which have harmed the people of Cuba for many years.
“We hope that through the power of reason there will be total removal of those embargoes against Cuba…”
Accumulated damage caused by the blockade against Cuba, made available by the Cuban mission in Dar es Salaam in the last six decades amounts to US dollars 933.6 billion.
“Just in the period considered by this report, the blockade has caused losses to Cuba to around $321,200.000,” read a communiqué by the Cuban in the intervening period. What makes Cuba extraordinary and a comprehensive textbook for all countries in the developing world has been its resilience to struggle to overcome the blockade so much so that it has been able to support other countries in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world.
According to global reports, there are 9,250 African students studying in Cuba in different universities financed by the Cuban government, which figure represents 64.4 per cent of all foreign students in Cuba. In Tanzania, the Cuban revolutionary government has been supporting the education and health sectors vigorously.
Zanzibar’s First School of Medicine is Cuban supported providing curriculum and Cuban teachers.
The medical school was officially launched on September 20, 2007. Seven years later, in 2014 the first batch of 38 doctors graduated.
According to a report, 8 out of 16 medical science trainees are studying specialties lacking in this country, such as anaesthesia, surgery, oncology and haematology among others in the realm of medical science.
“Today, we have a medical brigade composed of 47 doctors of whom 11 are professors at the Zanzibar School of Medicine. We also have eight Cuban experts collaborating at the Kibaha Biolarvicide Factory, which, due to its social purpose, is an important collaboration with Tanzania in the field of health,” says a communiqué from the Cuban mission in Dar es Salaam recently.
It adds: “So far, we have counted on Tanzania’s support for the Cuban Revolution and against the blockade. The clear refusal of the Tanzanian Government to embrace the genocidal blockade agenda against Cuba in all forums including the United Nations is an important contribution to our struggle.”
As human beings, especially those respecting the honour of being counted as much, would certainly feel that any act that is aimed at strangling fellow human beings elsewhere is not humane.
Now with this economic blockade by the Trump administration in place, how does a normal human being feel, a real human being with humane feelings? Oh! No!
This act of blockade, especially against one’s neighbour is unfortunate, very unfortunate.
The unipolar power – just 90 miles off the coast of Cuba - which has been imposing this blockade over half a century now should rethink its position because one can choose a friend, but not a neighbour!
On the other hand, Cuban people must be commended and saluted by fellow human beings in the Third World for surviving the economic blockade and even surging ahead politically and economically without any civil upheavals.
Today, they have a new leader, President Miguel Mario Diaz who peacefully succeeded second Cuban leader, Raul Castro, recently. Long live the Cuban Revolution!.