Cuba celebrates its African roots

"Africa will always be able to count on Cuba," Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra stated this Thursday during a political-cultural act in Havana, on the occasion of Africa Day.

Presided by members of the Party Political Bureau, Salvador Valdés Mesa, a vice president of the Council of State; Esteban Lazo Hernandez, president of the National Assembly of People's Power; and Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, minister of Foreign Affairs, the event was an opportunity to recall the shared history of Cuba and Africa.

In addition to thanking African nations for their position against the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the island, Sierra highlighted Cuba's support for the continent, which represents almost a third of UN member states and is currently the second fastest growing region of the world.

The deputy minister recalled the words of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro when he stated that Africa does not need interference, but rather the transfer of financial resources.

Sierra also emphasized that some twenty African delegations accompanied the tributes to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution following his death last November; and stressed that Havana is one of the global capitals with the largest African diplomatic presence, after the opening of the embassies of Niger, Kenya and Seychelles.

"Some 6,000 Cubans are collaborating today in Africa; and more than 29,000 Africans from 54 countries have graduated in Cuba," he noted, while emphasizing that Cuba is committed to contributing to Africa's development.

He added that Africa Day, which marks the founding in 1963 of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) – today the African Union (AU) – offers an opportunity to recall Fidel's tours of the continent 45 years ago. The OAU was the cornerstone of institutional strengthening and African cooperation, he noted.

Meanwhile, Guinean representative to the AU, Hawa Diakité Kaba, whose country currently holds the pro tempore presidency of the organization, recalled Fidel's strong ties with African revolutionaries such as Neto, Mandela and Lumumba.

On behalf of the AU, Diakité sent greetings from the president of Guinea to Army General Raúl Castro, and described the relations between the bloc and the island as profound and historic, expressed since the 1960s through Cuban support for the liberation movements of Angola, Ethiopia, Congo, among other nations.

Speaking before Cuban Foreign Ministry, Party and government officials, and members and heads of mission of the diplomatic corps accredited in Havana, as well as African students on the island, Diakité expressed her gratitude for Cuba's assistance in areas such as health and education, an example of South-South cooperation.

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