Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez being presented with the Order of the Most Ancient Welwitschia Mirabilis in the First Degree, one of Namibia’s highest honours, by Namibian President Hage Geingob.
Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, recently concluded a tour of several southern African countries with which Cuba has strong internationalist ties including Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia.
He was in Namibia for the independence holiday of Heroes’ Day on August 26. Given Cuba’s instrumental role in the fight for Namibia’s independence and freedom he was invited to make a speech at a ceremony at which hi was awarded the Order of the Most Ancient Welwitschia Mirabilis in the First Degree, one of the country’s highest honours.
Master of Ceremonies;
Dear brother, friend and fellow President Hage Geingob;
Dear Vice-President Mbumba, Prime Minister Amadhila and Deputy Prime Minister Nandi-Ndaitwah;
Dear First Lady Monica Geingob;
Distinguished leaders of the Namibian Parliament, Government, local authorities, political parties, traditional religious leaders and other institutions;
Heroes and heroines;
Sisters and brothers of Namibia:
Allow me to convey warm greetings from the Communist Party of Cuba, the Cuban Government and people to the heroic people of the Republic of Namibia, to whom we are bound by indestructible bonds of brotherhood.
I am also the bearer of an affectionate greeting for all of you from Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, Leader of the Cuban Revolution.
I am grateful for the invitation of the dear comrade President Geingob not only to make an official visit to Namibia, but on behalf of Cuba to participate as a special guest in this important commemoration of August 26, Namibian Heroes’ Day.
Today, together with you, we pay emotional and well-deserved tribute to the heroes and heroines of this country, who with the sacrifice of their lives paved the way to the definitive independence of their homeland. A special recognition to the founding father of this nation, Dr. Sam Nujoma, dear friend of Fidel and of all our people.
“Namibia is the land of the brave,” says its beautiful anthem, as the Cuban internationalists who shared a trench with the SWAPO fighters in the difficult days of the war in Angola can attest.
You fought injustice on the battlefield and at the negotiating table, and Cuba is honored to have supported you. There was no more honorable path to the independence of this brotherly country.
From March 21, 1990, Namibia became a symbol of resistance in South West Africa, and with its victory it definitively dug the grave of the ignominious apartheid regime, which like a deadly virus had spread from South Africa to these lands.
That day the barbarism ended and the sufferings of the Namibian people ended, in whose memory the traces of Dantesque episodes such as the Cassinga massacre remain. There the cowardly and genocidal entrails of the South African racists were revealed, capable of mercilessly gunning down women and children who had taken refuge in a SWAPO camp.
Rescued by Cuban internationalists, child survivors of the massacre found family, home and school in our country. There Fidel welcomed them as sons, not only to study but to cure them of the horror they experienced.
I know that some of those victims are in this today. To the memory of your fallen relatives and to the dignified resistance that allowed you to survive the horror, we pay heartfelt tribute today.
Since 1990, Namibia has managed to be an example of peace and harmony as a nation, values that radiate to the region and the world.
With the same firmness with which it refused to remain a colony, Namibia today exhibits admirable upright principles against the injustices of this world and in defence of the causes of peoples.
Our nations are marching together on the arduous path to development. To that end, thousands of our compatriots have worked in this country and continue to do so in health, education, fishing, transport and construction.
The Cubans who fought in Angola for Namibia in fulfillment of the sacred internationalist duty, can feel satisfied, because their sacrifice contributed decisively to the independence of a nation that makes its children proud, and Cuba won forever the respect and affection of a firm, courageous and honest ally.
Sisters and brothers:
It is no secret to anyone, least of all to those who closely follow the reality of the country, that Cuba is going through a difficult socio-economic situation whose main cause is the persistence, for more than sixty years, of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States of America, which has escalated in the last three years to unprecedented levels of pressure. with very visible effects on the standard of living of our people.
The siege is so brutal that not even during the difficult period of the COVID-19 pandemic did the government of that country listen to the global demand that unilateral coercive measures against Cuba be reduced or eased.
If we add to the above the harmful effects of the different global crises that are strongly impacting food prices, access to fuels and climate change, we will understand the seriousness of the challenges we face.
That is why we sincerely thank the Government of Namibia for promoting every year in the African Union the adoption of resolutions against the blockade of Cuba, and for making its voice heard from the podium of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization and maintaining consistent support in favor of resolutions on the subject in that body.
Master of Ceremonies;
Dear President Geingob,
Being in Namibia on the day when it honors its heroes and heroines, when it thanks its veterans and exalts the honorable contribution of all the people in the struggle for a free and independent homeland, brings to mind a song that all of Cuba sings in days of honoring heroes and that was always one of Fidel’s favorites. I conclude my words with one of his most popular stanzas:
“Heroes / are remembered without tears, / are remembered in their arms, / are remembered on earth; / And that makes me think / that they have not died in the end, / and that they live there / where there is a man, / ready to fight, / to continue.”
Eternal glory to the heroes and martyrs of Namibia! (Exclamations of: “Glory!”)
Long live the eternal friendship between our peoples! (Exclamations of: “Viva!”)
The struggle continues, the victory is certain!
Fatherland or Death!
We will overcome! (Exclamations of: “We will overcome!”)