SVG, Cuba ties go way beyond ceremonial relations – diplomat
December 18, 2012
SVG, Cuba ties go way beyond ceremonial relations – diplomat

The Cuban ambassador to St Vincent and the Grenadines says Havana is grateful for the support it has received from Kingstown over the years Pablo Antonio Rodriguez Vidal, speaking Thursday at an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Cuba/CARICOM diplomatic relations,{{more}} said relations with SVG go past the ceremonial expressions, but span more than a century of intercultural associations.

“When we talk about the relations between our countries, we cannot mention only the official part, because we are more than just good neighbours,” he said at the event at Frenches House.

“The link between Cuba and St Vincent became many years ago in the first decade of the 20th century, when Vincentians came to Cuba to work in the cane fields … From that time, we had Cuba-Vincentian mixed families.”

SVG formally established ties with Cuba on May 26, 1992, 20 years after Jamaica, Barbados Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana had established relations on December 8, 1972.

In more recent developments, the ambassador mentioned this country’s public appeal on the international stage, for the repealing of embargos and boycotts against Cuba, as well as assistance rendered during crises.

“I would use this opportunity on a day like today, when we are celebrating the relations of Cuba with CARICOM countries to thank the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines for its support at the United Nations, against the blockade, and also for the expression of solidarity during Hurricane Sandy,” the ambassador noted.

“This year, of the 20 countries from the region that made speeches in the general assembly against the blockade, 12 were members of CARICOM. Of course, one of them was St Vincent and the Grenadines, with one of the best speeches to date,” he added.

The ambassador further said that the support Cuba received after the passage of Hurricane Sandy, which killed dozens of Cubans and left thousands more homeless in October, was overwhelming.

“It is good to know that immediately after the passing of Sandy, the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines was one of the first to express their solidarity to our people. VINLEC offered to send specialist and workers to Cuba to help in the technical service. The government also made a donation of US$20,000.

“I also learned that the Central Water and Sewerage Authority also made a donation of $5,000 for the same purpose.

“But when I thought that was enough, the Vincentian association of artists, writers and producers organized a benefit concert: Artists for Cuba, the biggest concert I saw in this country I saw in the two years that I’m here.

“It was amazing.

“That’s why we appreciate the noble gesture of St Vincent sharing what little they have with Cuba.

“On behalf of the government and people of Cuba and in the name of friendship on the historical, cultural, family, and other ties, I want to thank the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and all the Vincentians for the received support during these years,” the ambassador stated. (JJ)