Fidel Castro has a Special Place in our Hearts, Says Dlamini Zuma

Pretoria, Nov 19 (Prensa Latina) Veteran fighter against the apartheid and leader of the African National Congress (ANC) Nksozana Dlamini Zuma said today that historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro has a special place in the hearts of South African people for many reasons.

Zuma told the Prensa Latina news agency before the beginning of a ceremony to pay tribute to Fidel, held last evening in this capital city and organized by the ANC Women’s League, that the Cuban Revolution is an example for many others and has directly benefited the South African people.

Zuma, who is running for the presidency of ANC, stopped her political campaign to attend this ceremony reiterating that during the fight against the apartheid in South Africa, Cubans provided young people with education both in Cuba and in Angola and also sent doctors and other professionals to many African countries.

She said that, therefore, good part of African independence is the result of Cuban solidarity.

She said that the Cuito Cuanavale battle in Angola was the turning point in the fight, both for Namibia and for South Africa and if it were not for the sacrifice of Cuban people they would not be here today.

That battle, which lasted from September 9th to October 7th, 1987, is considered a turning point in the war that the Angolan Armed Forces (FAPLA) and the Namibian fighters of SWAPO, supported by Cuban troops, triggered against mercenary groups at the service of the South African racist management.

Zuma was Minister of Health, Foreign Affairs and Interior, as well as president of the African Union, the first woman chairing this organization.

She said that when South Africa achieved its liberation from the apartheid regime, Cuba played a key role in changing the lives of its people.

‘I was Minister of Health in 1994 and a year later we were already holding talks with Cuba to send doctors from that country to South Africa,’ she said.

She pointed out that Commander Fidel Castro was very involved in that process and that she had direct meetings with him about this problem.

‘Fidel told me then that it was not enough to send doctors to South Africa, but South Africans students should go to Cuba to be trained as doctors, so that they could offer their services when they returned to their country’, she said.

Dlamini Zuma highlighted Cuba’s solidarity by sending fighters to countries in Africa to defend their independence and sovereignty, and she referred very moved to Fidel Castro’s words to the Parliament during his visit to South Africa in 1998 when he said that Cuba had only taken from Angola the remains of Cuban fighters fallen in the fight.

‘Cuba’s solidarity with South Africa has no precedents and for that reason we are always ready for Cubans, at any time’, she said.

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