July 25, 2014
Solidarity message by SVG/Cuba Friendship Society

I arrived in Havana on July 23, seeking medical attention. On the same day I arrived, a ceremony was held at which 1300 doctors graduated from the renowned Cuban medical institutions. It is of significance that the majority of these graduates, trained by the Government of the Republic of Cuba, 800 of them in fact, were foreign students.{{more}}

It is not easy in this world where greed, selfishness and striving for domination predominate, for people to grasp the significance of such an occurrence. Not by chance either, for ever since the triumph of the Cuban revolution, in spite of its resource limitations, its own weaknesses, and above all its fate, and faith, in having to endure the harshest economic blockade in the history of mankind, Cuba has never reneged on its SOLIDARITY.

That solidarity was made possible by the victory of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and that victory, having its genesis in the historical struggle for independence led by Jose Marti, Antonio Maceo and countless other patriots, was given modern impetus by the uprising of July 26, 1953, led by the indomitable Commandante Fidel Castro Ruz.

Many Cubans – students, workers, farmers, women and youth lost their lives, were jailed and tortured in the effort, but redemption was to come less than six years later.

The revolution provided the basis for not only educating, training and professionally equipping a nation, but at tremendous sacrifice doing so for millions of others in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Today, nearly every CARICOM country can count among its best professionals Cuban-trained ones. That contribution to human resource development is unparalleled in history.

Further the apparently “futile” uprising of 1953 paved the way for solidarity in many other practical fields. The people of Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines have massive tangible proofs in international airports built with enormous Cuban assistance. That demonstration of solidarity had drawn all kinds of unfavourable criticism in Grenada as indeed happens today in our country.

Time will provide the best judgement and appreciation of what Cuba means to our development. Even many who have benefitted significantly from Cuban assistance and solidarity are often still either intimidated by the hostility of ignorance or exhibit short memories.

Cuba is no heaven, nor is its leadership or people faultless, but its record in helping to propel Caribbean socio-economic development is unmatched; For this we must never be afraid to express our gratitude and on occasions like these, send heartfelt greetings to the Cuban people and leadership.

Finally, as an old soldier in the army of supporters of Cuban independence, I would like to make an appeal to our people, direct beneficiaries like our many graduates and persons treated medically in Cuba, to please give your support to the Friendship Society of SVG/CUBA, come and reinvigorate its leadership and let us show the Cuban people who have to do without many amenities as they assist people like us, that we are not ingrates. Our Government, firm friends on the international stage must take a more active role in furthering solidarity and friendship with the Cuban people and Government, in mobilising, educating and openly discussing the Cuban experience.