President Hage Geingob has expressed strong condemnation of the designation of Cuba as a ‘state sponsor of international terrorism’ by the United States government.
Speaking at State House yesterday during the State visit of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Geingob decried the unfounded accusation and voiced his concerns over the ongoing US blockade against Cuba.
“The ongoing economic blockade has resulted in the restriction of essential supplies from reaching the Cubans due to the unilateral sanctions placed on the sovereign state of Cuba. Blocking of essential services, including medical supplies, has hurt the health and well-being of the Cuban people,” he stated.
“What crime has Cuba committed to warrant such sanctions? The innocent children are suffering needlessly. Maybe there is something that I don’t know,” he added.
The President emphasised Cuba’s commitment to international peace and solidarity, particularly through its healthcare initiatives during global crises.
He continued: “Cuba will always be considered by Namibia and many other friendly nations around the world as a country that promotes international peace and solidarity, especially through the continuous deployment of Cuban health brigades to assist with pandemics and other calamities around the world. Therefore, Cuba is a sponsor of international goodwill, harmony and peace – not terrorism”.
The head of state said the strong bonds and existing areas of cooperation provide the two governments with a sturdy backdrop to elevate the bilateral relations and cooperation to higher heights.
“Therefore, the government of Namibia, and indeed the people of Namibia, welcome strategic cooperation with our brother nation Cuba in pursuit of a more robust South-South alliance, where developing countries forge their futures and build on inclusive and sustainable development. It is my wish that these objectives should guide our discussions, as we actively seek solutions that realise this potential,” he added.
The Namibian leader further stated that the bilateral cooperation between Namibia and Cuba is strong in the areas of healthcare, higher education, defence and security, fisheries, construction and sports.
“In the same vein, 49 dentistry and four medical students graduated in July 2022, and a cohort of 173 Namibian students graduated in Cuba in the field of medicine at the end of July 2023. We are looking forward to welcoming our medical graduates home, and further thank Cuba for continuing to provide training opportunities to Namibian students.”
On his part, the visiting president, who was the guest of honour at Heroes’ Day celebrations a day earlier, said Cuba is ready to work with the Namibian government to fight the US sanctions.
He thanked Namibia for its stance in denouncing the blockade, its attitude as promoters of the initiative for the African Union to pass resolutions against it every year, and the energetic voice in the UN General Assembly for the resolution against that measure of the United States.
“This visit has a special significance, among other reasons, because the current generation of Cuban leaders defines itself as one of continuity of the revolution, and this includes solidarity with our brothers, including the strengthening of our friendship with Namibia, its government and its people,” he stressed.
Díaz-Canel also underscored his country’s willingness to continue and strengthen cooperation with this African nation and increase it in the areas of construction, information technology (including artificial intelligence, robotics and computer security), and also in culture and sports, if Namibia needs it.
During the official meeting, the visitor extended an invitation to Geingob to undertake an official visit to Cuba, and proposed that this year, at the sixth bilateral cooperation meeting, they increase the hierarchy of this cooperation mechanism, and implement the inter-governmental commission, as well as to increase collaboration between the Communist Party of Cuba and Swapo on issues of improvement.
The Namibian and Cuban governments cemented the traditional friendship between the two countries, which has slowly translated into economic trade, political and diplomatic consultations, and the transfer of convicted persons.
These agreements were signed by international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Cuban foreign affairs minister Bruno Rodriquez Parrilla at State House yesterday.
The first agreement signed was the Memorandum of Understanding between the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) and the Centre for the Promotion of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment of Cuba (PROCUBA), which aims to establish collaborative institutional relations between the two entities to strengthen business cooperation and increase investments and economic relations.
The second signed MoU was on the holding of political and diplomatic consultations, and entails the two countries holding regular consultations on bilateral relations and international issues of common interest to exchange views and information about developments which affect the respective countries.
The last one was on the transfer of convicted persons, an agreement motivated by the desire to facilitate the social rehabilitation of convicted persons by allowing them to serve their sentence in their own country.