Sunday, June 16, 2024

Commemorating the 55th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution

It is a great honour for me to join you, Ambassador Corrales and Madam Corrales, your fellow citizens as well as friends of Cuba this evening, to celebrate your country’s 55th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. On this special occasion, I wish to heartily extend our sincere congratulations to you and through you, to the Government and people of the Republic of Cuba for this milestone in the history of your great nation.┬á

This Anniversary is not only a cause for celebration for the Cuban people, but equally an episode that helped in advancing the future of the African continent, particularly the Southern African region. It is indisputable that the Cuban Revolution was a crucial turning point in Cuba-Africa relations. The 26th of July Movement’s victory and President Fidel Castro’s subsequent post-revolutionary foreign policy, helped many African countries triumph in their struggle against the yoke of colonialism and oppression.

My country, Botswana and the rest of Southern Africa therefore remain eternally indebted to Cuba, for its unwavering friendship even during the dark days of apartheid when the future looked so bleak for our region.

I am pleased to note that your country has been exemplary in demonstrating to the rest of the world, the extent to which a country can rise above its challenges in its endeavour to render the much needed services to its people, particularly in providing quality education and medical care not only to its people but also beyond its borders. Cuba’s achievements in this regard, despite the economic challenges she continues to face, are a clear manifestation of the country’s commitment and dedication to the welfare and development of its people including the rest of humanity. I therefore wish to take this opportunity to commend the Government of the Republic of Cuba and its people, for this resilience which is a triumph of the human spirit over seemingly insurmountable and intractable odds.

Botswana and Cuba have enjoyed excellent bilateral relations since the two countries established Diplomatic relations in 1977. These cordial relations and cooperation have been manifest at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

I hope you will agree with me, Your Excellency, that mutual respect and common understanding have been the cornerstone of our successful relations. My government remains fully committed to enhancing these relations, now and in the future.

Your Excellency, allow me, to take this opportunity to thank you and through you, the Government and people of the Republic of Cuba for all the bilateral assistance that your country has extended and continue to extend to Botswana, especially in the areas of health, education and sport. The Cuban medical experts who are currently deployed through-out our country to provide medical care to our rural communities are doing a commendable job just like those who were deployed here before them.
 
Our country still remains inundated with a lot of challenges, particularly in areas such as health. The Cuban assistance in this regard has been and remains invaluable in the arduous task of providing medical services to our people. In the light of these challenges, I wish to seize this opportunity, Your Excellency, to assure you of my government’s commitment to effectively implement all the Agreements that we have signed with Cuba. There is no doubt that these cooperation agreements serve as an important vehicle through which we can advance our bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefit of our two countries and peoples.

Your Excellency, my Government remains hopeful that the recent United Nations General Assembly 22nd consecutive resolution calling for an end to the decades’ long economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba will impress upon those concerned to re-think their long standing policies towards Cuba. For the Cubans to succeed in their endeavours to advance their development agenda, they need the support of all humanity behind them.┬á

*These remarks were made by Mokgweetsi Masisi, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

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