Ngurare Urges African Youth to Support Cuba

The Swapo Youth League (SPYL) secretary, Dr Elijah Ngurare, has called on African youth movements to stand in solidarity with Cuba until the 50-year US embargo is fully lifted.

Ngurare’s comments follow the announcement by American president Barack Obama, in mid-December, of America’s relaxation of trade sanctions on Cuba. The two long-time enemies have agreed to “open economic and travel ties”, the most significant improvement in the relationship in half a century.

“America chooses to cut loose the shackles of the past so as to reach for a better future – for the Cuban people, for the American people, for our entire hemisphere, and for the world,” Obama said.

Ngurare said the relaxing of the 50-year trade embargo on Cuba is a victory which should be attributed “to Cuban President Fidel Castro and the undying militancy of the Cuban people”.

The Cuban people spilt blood for Namibia’s freedom, therefore, “it is our historic obligation to join hands with the youth of Cuba for anti-imperialist solidarity”, Ngurare said.

Trade restriction has been in place since 1960, two years after the Cuban Revolution. It was extended to include almost all imports in 1962 after the Cuban Missile Crisis, though in 2009 US President Barack Obama relaxed the travel ban for Cuban-Americans.

He added that such a historic milestone has a far-reaching impact on Southern Africa, especially on Namibia. “It has often been said that “the blood of Africa flows in the veins of Cuba”. It is notable that the 50-year embargo imposed on Cuba is gradually being relaxed by the first-ever African American president Barack Obama,” he said.

Ngurare said during the liberation struggle of Namibia, it was Cuba which sent troops to fight alongside SWAPO’s PLAN and MPLA’s FAPLA to dislodge the apartheid South African troops from Angola.

The decisive battle of Quito Cuanavalle was the turning point, which saw the defeat of South African Defence Force troops.

In addition, he said “true friends of Cuba such as Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma and Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos worked with President Castro to defeat the apartheid troops”.

After Cuba, the US’ longest-standing sanctions against another nation is with Iran. That began in 1979 in response to the Islamic Revolution. Other sanctions are for North Korea, Syria and Sudan.

A White House statement, called Charting a New Course on Cuba, outlined the new plans which include discussions to take place with the US Secretary of State to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. It also includes plans to open an embassy in Havana and carry out high-level exchanges and visits between the two governments.

The US will also support improved human rights conditions and democratic reform in Cuban-Americans. Other plans include that the two countries will work together on “matters of mutual concern”, such as migration, drugs, environmental protection and human trafficking. Licensed US travellers will also be allowed to import US$400 worth of goods from Cuba, of which no more than US$100 can be tobacco and alcohol-related products.

The US statement said: “With our actions today, we are calling on Cuba to unleash the potential of 11 million Cubans by ending unnecessary restrictions on their political, social and economic activities. In that spirit, we should not allow US sanctions to add to the burden of Cuban citizens we seek to help.”

Source : New Era