Addis Ababa, Dec 31 (Prensa Latina) Those who know the legacy of the Cuban Revolution have reasons to celebrate its continuity, especially if it is African like me, because our continent owes much of what it is today to Fidel Castro’s deed .
This is how Abebe Ayalew Mekonnen, president of the Friendship Association of the peoples of Ethiopia and Cuba, graduated in Transport Economics ‘in a country that helped us defend our rights’ receives the visit of Prensa Latina.
This 2020 marked 45 years of official relations between the two states, but for Ayalew Mekonnen talking about it means ‘talking about history, claiming the Nobel Peace Prize for those who deserve it, talking about my training and condemning the North American blockade.’
Fidel Castro, the Moncada barracks, the Granma landing, the rebels’ entry into Havana were the basis for cooperation with territories in Africa, Latin America and Asia, he says.
That small nation is a ray of hope for the poor and not now, it should have received the Nobel Peace Prize long ago for its contribution to the training of thousands of young people and for medical collaboration, he argues.
Who provides selfless support when others suffer from Ebola, HIV-AIDS, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and Covid-19? Who develops Operation Miracle and the program I can do it?
‘There are many of us who want the best for the Revolution in 2021. I am sure I speak on behalf of the graduates in the Caribbean nation, of the Association, of the millions that we are grateful for.’
Abebe was supposed to go to Moscow to study, but his destiny changed to Havana and, as he would find ‘a land of white people with the climate of Ethiopia,’ he was happy.
When I arrived, that previous image disappeared, he says. It was July 1978, since then his life changed and after 13 years, before returning, ‘I was not who I imagined myself to be, it was better.’
‘I learned to be independent, to live in society. They instilled values in me and I learned about other things. For example, for the first time I heard the word Nicaragua and I saw Angolans and other Africans.’
Even, he emphasizes, I knew of the great diversity of my nation. In the scholarship there were students from all over and we related without religious or ethnic differences.
‘I left when I was 12 years old, I came back when I was 25 and I never lost my roots, although I also became a Pinero and a Santiago de Cuba native (alluding to his studies in Isla de la Juventud and Santiago de Cuba)’.
My story, he says, is that of other Africans and Latin Americans who received special training. I saw it when I returned, when we found a very big political change, we even saw children begging, and we were shocked.
Ethiopia-Cuba Friendship Association is an example,founded by those of us who benefitted from the Cuban educational system, he says.
During 2020, he explains, we celebrated the 42nd anniversary of the Victory of Ogaden, we planted trees and donated blood for the birth of Commander Fidel Castro, and we supported the help of doctors to low-income people.
Among other objectives, he points out, we want to contribute to strengthening the friendship of our peoples, transmitting the ‘Ethio-Cuban history’ to the new generations and supporting cooperation in education, health and other branches, which may be greater.
I realized that, despite suffering great changes and the U.S. blockade, Cubans don’t lose their grace, dignity and hospitality.
The Revolution, he said, is not rusty, it won’t fall because it has solid bases, has overcome great obstacles and has important international support.
Cuba lives, advances and resists U.S. genocide policy that hurts and prevents youths without resources to study there as we did.
The U.S. government commits a crime of lese-majesty for 60 years and, even if it eliminated the blockade, it would have to answer for the damages it caused, he concluded.