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12/10/13 - Cuba-L Document (Albuquerque) - ANC wishes Cuban people well in commemoration of the 51th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution

Author : Jacob Zuma

31 December 2009

The African National Congress wishes the Cuban people and government well in their commemoration of the 51st Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, tomorrow, 1st January 2010. This revolution took place on the 1st of January 1959.

We reaffirm our close affinity between the peoples of Cuba and the ANC, and our country - South Africa.

The ANC as a political party and South Africa as a country, shares a common history and heritage with Cuba - a history that has bound us for many years. Cuba occupies a prominent place in the history of the struggle for liberation within the African Continent and in particular in our country. Cuba has helped us in ending the racist rule of apartheid in South Africa and also helped Namibia to secure its independence.

The battle of Cuito Cuanavale in the southeastern Angola cannot be overlooked, as this is the decisive defeat of the South African apartheid armed forces by combined Cuban, Angolan, and Namibian troops in the largest battle in Africa since World War 11. We carry with us fond memories of the triumph by the Cuban forces at the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, which dramatically changed the political landscape in Southern Africa, paving the way for the total de-colonization of the African Continent. This dramatic confrontation occurred at a critical moment in the struggle, both internationally and within South Africa, against apartheid, and Cuba’s contribution was vital in providing the essential reinforcements, material and planning.

During the days of the struggle for liberation, we drew inspiration from the enormous sacrifices made by the people of Cuba so that as Africans we can regain our dignity. We also acknowledge the exemplary role Cuba plays in advancing the spirit of internationalism and solidarity.

In particular, we applaud the role Cuba continues to play in assisting us to respond to the socio-economic challenges we face in our country.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Cuban Revolution continues to be the various international missions it sends to other countries. From the earliest years of the revolution, Cuba has sent thousands of doctors, teachers, and other professional personnel on humanitarian assignments to various countries, including our own - South Africa.

In the mid 1990s, Cuba had three times as may doctors as the World Health Organisation serving abroad and providing free medical treatment. This includes the assistance Cuba is providing in the training of student doctors from our country and the technical expertise provided for various public works projects in our country.

Furthermore, as a country we continue to benefit from the cultural exchange programmes with Cuba, thus strengthened our cultural links as well as people to people contact. Inspired by the wise words of that outstanding son of Cuba, a revolutionary, and a national hero, Jose Marti who said: "Not only are we Cuban, but part of Humanity, and we fight for the honour and well being of all of Humankind".

We look forward to joining hands with you as we together respond to the challenges of our time.

In particular, we look forward to working with the people of Cuba to further promote and protect our common heritage and build social cohesion.

We also look up to the Cuban people to partner with us in projects to alleviate poverty, promote skills development, especially in the arts sectors and the broader creative industries.

We owe it to the peoples of both our countries to better coordinate our efforts and collaborate amongst ourselves so that these initiatives can bring immediate and visible results.

Together, as part of humanity, we must ensure that we work towards the good of all of humankind.

Happy 51st Anniversary to the people of Cuba.

Issued by: ANC President Jacob Zuma



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