Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kabimba's visit to Cuba

Kabimba's visit to Cuba
By The Post
Sun 17 Feb. 2013, 11:00 CAT

Wynter Kabimba's visit to Cuba is very important because it is a continuation of a tradition that started under Dr Kenneth Kaunda and UNIP.

For over 40 years, our country has maintained direct relations with Cuba. Dr Kaunda has been to Cuba. And his successor Frederick Chiluba also visited Cuba. We have historic ties that need to be renewed in the 21st century, in these new times.

We need to extend our solidarity to Cuba. We also need to learn from Cuba. And this is in line with what Fidel Castro said on May 1, 1960 : "… we are fighting for all of them (sister nations) because they will learn from our experience. They will learn from the success that we have, and they will learn even from the errors that we make.

So, our mistakes as well as our successes will be useful to our sister nations. We have faith in the solidarity of these sister nations and faith in the solidarity of the peoples of the world…May our visitors go and repel the lies that are written about this generous and noble land. And we will know how to respond to the friendship and solidarity that we have received."

It is said that those who don't know have a duty to learn from those who know. And those who know have a duty to teach those who don't know. We have a duty to learn from the experiences of the Cuban Revolution. And the Cuban Revolution has a duty to share its experiences with us. It is in this spirit that Wynter, the secretary general of the ruling Patriotic Front, is visiting Cuba.

There is also something very important about this visit. Wynter's visit to Cuba is a demonstration of the independence of the Patriotic Front. It is a clear demonstration of the Patriotic Front's independence to do what it wants to do, to go where it wants to go and to deal with whoever it wants to deal with. There are still people, political parties and governments in this world that cannot freely deal with Cuba because of not wanting to displease the United States who have an over 50-year economic and political embargo on Cuba.

It is good that our country has maintained its unwavering solidarity with Cuba. Zambia's relationship with Cuba is not ideological because even the most 'right wing' of our regimes, the most reactionary of our governments have maintained a good relation with Cuba. And they have all voted in favour of lifting the embargo on Cuba.

Cuba is a small country which has fulfilled its duty to Africa and humanity in general. Cuba is a poor country that has made a contribution it could in the struggle to liberate millions of our people from the yoke of apartheid, the yoke of colonialism.

We who participated in the liberation of our region, of our continent are indeed grateful to the leadership of the Communist Party of Cuba, and in particular to Fidel, for the concrete material assistance, political and diplomatic support.

Through visits like the one undertaken this week by Wynter, we are paying special tribute to the Cuban patriots and internationalists who travelled thousands and thousands of kilometres to our continent to assist in a special way our people who were languishing in the chains of colonialism.

Wynter's visit to Cuba also shows that it is not geography that separates or unites people and that the common day-to-day struggles for a better life, a more just, fair and humane world should unite our peoples more and more, independently of geography.

Cuba has several times fulfilled its elementary internationalist duty when it comes to Africa. It has always been a stated belief of Fidel, the leader of the Cuban Revolution that "if a man cannot sacrifice himself for others, he is incapable of sacrificing himself for anything; a people that cannot sacrifice itself for other people is incapable of sacrificing itself for its own sake; a people that is not willing to fight for freedom of others will never be ready to fight for its own freedom".

We have an unsettled debt with Cuba. Despite the progress that Cuba has made in many fields, the country is today facing many challenges arising from the US embargo and natural calamities. Cuba needs help. Cuba has been there for other poor countries, sometimes even for rich countries. It is time we pay back our debt to Cuba, especially at this time when things are very difficult for that heroic people.

We may not have much in terms of money, but we can't wait until we have a lot of money to help others. If we wait until we have a lot of money to help others, we may never help anyone because there may not be a time when we have a surplus.

We are proud, as Zambians, of our independence. Our successive governments, regardless of the limitations of some of them, have been able to maintain the country's independence. And this is demonstrated in our relations with Cuba. Our leaders have been able to go to Cuba as and when they want. No one has been able to control our successive governments' relations with Cuba.

And this newspaper has had an office in Cuba for more than five years now. Our friends in the international media ask us what we are doing in Cuba. Our response has always been, "What's wrong with being in Cuba?" Cuba is the heart of Caribbean and Latin America. And our ties with the Caribbean and Latin American peoples, first of all, are blood ties. They are Latin Africans, we have historic ties that should be renewed and strengthened in the 21st century.

Cuban doctors have been there to serve our people. Our young people have been in Cuba to study on Cuban government scholarships. Why shouldn't we be in Cuba? Why shouldn't our politicians and government leaders be in Cuba? We will always be in Cuba to express our gratitude for what Cuba has done for us, for our continent.

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