Although President Lt Gen Ian Khama last week expressed gratitude for deceased leader of Cuban revolution Fidel Castro for helping to liberate Southern Africa, Sunday Standard can reveal that Botswana never supported the Cuban leader.
WikiLeaks cables released last week reveal that the Sir Seretse Khama administration was unsympathetic to the Castro regime.
The cables quote Sir Seretse Khama’s Private Secretary Legwaila detailing how Khama snubbed the Cuban President.
Khama sent a letter to Castro saying he would not be able to attend a historic July 1989 Non ÔÇôaligned Movement summit in Havana, Cuba.
The US cable states: Despite (or perhaps because of) Khama’s letter, Cuban Education minister recently visited Botswana as the head of a delegation that asked to see President Khama for the purpose of urging his attendance. Khama declined to see Cubans who, in turn, refused to see Minister of Public Service and Information Kwelagobe (as Khama recommended). After some discussion, compromise was reached and the visiting delegation saw Vice president Masire.
Legwaila told US envoys that the then Minister of Foreign affairs, Archibald Mogwe would represent Botswana at the summit.
Americans were happy that Mogwe would be representing Botswana at the conference because of his anti socialist and communist sentiments.
States the demarche, “Mogwe is ideal choice to represent GOB.
This was illustrated by his recent comment to me that, “the trouble with communists is that they think your mind is a clean slate and that they along know how to write.”
“Mogwe expressed frustration over the fact that socialists were much better organized in the Non Aligned Movement than were the moderates. They often succeeded in making it appear that anyone opposing them was standing alone. In this connection, he asked that we provide him with a list of countries which also disagreed with the thrust of the Cuban communiqu├®.”
A US envoy said that many delegations would oppose the Cuban efforts to draw the Non Aligned movement closer.