We Are Latin Africans - Fidel Castro
When Ghana’s Ambassador to Cuba, Amo Gottfried, once approached Commandante Fidel Castro to thank him for helping resolve a problem which he described as “critical” because of the threat it posed to a scholarship programme instituted by Cuba for Ghanaian students, Fidel responded: ““ No you do not have to thank me. We did it as a part of our internationalist duty. We are not Latin Americans, we are Latin African because we have African blood in our bodies.”
Mr Amo Gottfried, recollected these special events in the history of Ghana-Cuba relations at an event held at the Cuban Embassy in Accra to mark the 63rdanniversary of the Moncada Attacks- a world shattering mission that ushered in the Cuban revolution and brought an end to the regime of the US backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.
He called on all people who are fighting on the side of the oppressed and marginalized in society to always remember the valour and heroic deeds of Fidel and his compatriots because “Cuba has set the blueprint for us and all revolutionaries must look up to that country and whilst we do that, we must also remember the incidents that took place around the Moncada Attacks by the 26th of July Movement and the Cuban revolution which must serve as an example to all of us.”
On the 26th of July 1953, 160 Cuban revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro launched an assault on the Moncada Army barracks in Santiago de Cuba, as a first step in the resistance of the Batista dictatorship. Sixty one of Fidel’s men were slain, and others were taken into custody.
Though the attack itself was a disaster, Castro used it as inspiration for the Revolution later. During his trial in September 1953, Fidel, a lawyer, defended himself and offered a disturbing critique of the poverty, class repression, and injustice caused by the American-backed Batista dictatorship. His two-hour defense statement — later called "History Will Absolve Me" became a sacred text after the successful 1959 revolution.
In his defense, Fidel said that if his revolt had succeeded, he would have caused a complete change in the social and economic conditions of all Cubans. According to him, he would have given squatters full tenure of small farms, brought an end to the expropriation of profit by Batista’s cronies and added that the people of Cuba had the right to fight against the tyrants ruining their country.
The revolution which began in July 1953 with the Moncada Attack continued until Fidel and his men finally ousted Batista on 1st January 1959, replacing his government with a revolutionary socialist state. The 26thof July movement later reformed along communist lines becoming a communist party in October 1965.
Mr Alex Segbefia, the honorable Minister of Health called for an end to the blockade on Cuba and for closer ties between the two countries. According to him, concrete solidarity and friendship between Ghana and Cuba was formed as a result of the revolution that took place in the two countries, adding that the principles that have bound the two countries together will always remain.
Mr Segbefia said “ We continue to send our students to Cuba and Cuba continues to send their doctors and educationists to Ghana, so it is clear that for many years to come we hope that this strong friendship which actually seeks to bring meaningful development is a good thing for both countries and especially for Ghana.”
He made special mention of Ambassador Amo Gottfried and Kwesi Pratt Jnr for their dedication towards the Cuban people and government for keeping the torch of solidarity with Cuba alive against all odds and in the most difficult moments.
President of the Association of Ghanaians trained in Cuba, Kofi Asafo Agyei said that as part of Cuba’s foreign and educational policies, the revolutionary government extended scholarship programmes to needy children as a humanitarian programme to revolutionary countries in the world, including the MPLA of Angola, Swapo of Namibia and SPLA of Sudan, now South Sudan in Africa.
The scholarships were also extended to many countries in the Americas, Caribbean and Asia and added that he and his colleagues were part of the over 2000 Ghanaian students who were sent to Cuba from 1983 to take academic courses in the various fields of endeavours under the PNDC government.
The Charge d’Affairs of the Cuban Embassy, Julio Cesar Sanchez noted that in recent years there have been momentous events in the foreign relations of Cuba, the United States and Europe, but stressed that “as has been repeatedly stated by President Raul Castro, Cuba will never renounce the principles of sovereignty and national independence nor renounce internationalism, because over the past 63 years, the Cuban people have worked very hard in the construction of a socialism that is invulnerable and irreversible.”
He said that Cuba has been able to confront serious dangers because of the solidarity of fraternal countries, such as Ghana and reaffirmed the friendship and brotherhood with the Ghanaian people, who he claimed have always stood beside Cuba.