On this new celebration of Africa Day we renew our friendship and fraternity with the sister continent
Message of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of Africa Day
This year we commemorate Africa Day in Cuba under exceptional conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This, however, will not prevent that such a relevant event as the foundation on May 25, 1963 of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), renamed African Union (AU) in 2002 be celebrated as we Cuban always do.
On this new celebration of Africa Day, we will renew our friendship and fraternity with that sister continent to which we are bond by blood, cultural and historical ties.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban revolution Fidel Castro Ruz always stressed the “debt of gratitude” owed by Cubans to Africa for the crucial role played by the Africans and their descendants in the wars for Independence of our country and their contribution to the consolidation of our Caribbean nation.
We stood together in the fight against colonialism and Apartheid and in the development efforts. Around 6,000 Cuban collaborators in the fields of health, education, sports and agriculture are providing their services in 32 African countries. Nearly 9,000 African students are pursuing higher education in our country.
Africa is today a decisive actor in international affairs. Its 55 member States account for one third of the United Nations General Assembly and half of the membership of other global fora such as the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and the Group of 77 and China.
Cuba appreciates the unanimous support of the African governments, leaders, organizations and peoples in the fight against the blockade, including the vote in favor of the resolution entitled: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”, adopted every year by the United Nations General Assembly, as well as the adoption for eleven years in a row of a resolution against the blockade within the African Union.
Under the complex circumstances Mankind is facing, Cuba calls on the international community to support Africa in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and its terrible economic, social and financial consequences. The African people, who have done so much for Mankind, deserve it.
We ratify once again that Cuba’s relations with the African governments and peoples are indestructible and that, loyal to our historic tradition and solidarity, we will continue to strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation with that sister continent.
Long live the brotherhood between Africa and Cuba!
Remarks by the group of African ambassadors in Cuba to mark Africa Day 2020
Since the historical revolution of 1959 that brought to power the socialist government of the Republic of Cuba under the able leadership of Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz, Cuba has been a true friend of the continent of Africa.
Cuba assisted the continent to fight remnants of colonial administrations in Africa, the struggle that Africa will never forget. Cuba has also, always stood with all oppressed people of the world in their quest to free themselves, from all forms of marginalisation and oppression.
The assistance of Cuba to the African people has been in almost every aspect of development of human kind, which have included, among others, education, agriculture and health.
May 25, is the day that the Organisation of African Unity was created. That is why May 25 is considered Africa Day, and it is celebrated internationally, by all African nations.
We celebrate Africa Day this year 2020, under very special circumstances, during which the world is fighting a catastrophic Pandemic caused by the COVID-19. This pandemic has caused untold suffering to the world, bringing with it thousands of deaths and serious disruptions to the functioning of modern economies of the world. We dedicate May 25, 2020, Africa Day, to pay special tribute to our friends, the Cuban people, and to thank them for their immense contribution to Africa and other countries of the world, particularly in the health sector.
The first long term Cuban medical diplomacy mission in Africa was to Algeria in 1963. Since then, Cuban health professionals have worked in many African countries with more than 5,000 currently present, in the following countries:
Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, SADR, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Comandante Fidel Castro established the Henry Reeve medical brigades in 2005. This brigade is recognised internationally, for life saving work in many of the world’s worst natural disasters and epidemics. The brigade has more than 7,400 voluntary healthcare workers, who have treated millions of people in many countries of the world, which have been ravaged by world’s worst natural disasters.
It is the same Henry Reeve brigades, that Cuba sent to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, during the height of the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak. 250 specialised physicians, nurses and other health workers constituted the single largest medical operation on the ground at the time in these three countries, to combat the outbreak.
Now, with the advent of COVID-19, Henry Reeve Brigades have again been sent to a number of countries in the world, among which are African countries. These are Angola, Togo, Cape Verde and South Africa. More Henry Reeve Brigade medical workers will soon be leaving to go and assist in other Africa countries.
On behalf of African ambassadors who are representing their governments and the entire African community in Cuba, we wish to express our profound gratitude to the government of the Republic of Cuba and the people of Cuba, for their contribution, not only to the independence struggle of African countries, but also, for all the assistance that Cuba has given African countries over the years. The solidarity that Cuba has with Africa is unquestionable.
We reiterate that we shall continue to honour and strengthen the bonds of friendship that unite our nations with Cuba.
We also take the opportunity to congratulate Cuba, for the example it continues to give, in international solidarity, particularly in the field of medicine. Cuba has shown the world, that no matter how hard the decades old political, economic and commercial sanctions have been, it continues to be among the leading countries in the world, in the provision of medical care and medical assistance.
Viva Cuba, Viva Africa!
Long live the friendship between Africa and Cuba!