Honoring Fidel Castro and the Cubans in African Liberation
Note: With the sad news of the passing of Fidel Castro I can't help but be reminded of seeing him on the stage in Pretoria, South Africa at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994. I was blessed to be there for the event. What an honor and thrill that was.In combination with the African National Congress and South African liberation movement, it was the Cuban troops that demoralized and defeated the South African military that then, finally, led to the downfall of the apartheid state. Castro was remarkable and defiant throughout it all. Here is Mandela referring to this in 1991 while in Cuba:
"We come here with a sense of the great debt that is owed the people of Cuba ... What other country can point to a record of greater selflessness than Cuba has displayed in its relations to Africa?" (Mandela - Global Learning)
Yes, countless South Africans wisely love him for his diligence and commitment in helping to end the painful apartheid system that oppressed the Southern African region altogether. Countless numbers of those of us involved in the anti-apartheid movement outside of South Africa also adore the great man. Not only did Cuba play a major role in the downfall of apartheid but in its aftermath, Cuba also assisted Africans in their advancement in education and in medicine. Here is some information about this:
ELAM (Latin American School of Medicine) Cuba Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM), formerly Escuela Latinoamericana de Ciencias Médicas (in Spanish; in English: Latin American School of Medicine (LASM), formerly Latin American School of Medical Sciences), is a major international medical school in Cuba and a prominent part of the Cuban healthcare system.
Established in 1999 and operated by the Cuban government, ELAM has been described as possibly being the largest medical school in the world by enrollment with approximately 19,550 students from 110 countries reported as enrolled in 2013. All those enrolled are international students from outside Cuba and mainly come from Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Africa and Asia. The school accepts students from the United States - 91 were reportedly enrolled as of January 2007. Tuition, accommodation and board are free, and a small stipend is provided for students ....
Preference is given to applicants who are financially needy and/or people of color who show the most commitment to working in their poor communities. (Wikipedia).
Below is an article by scholar Piero Gleijeses about Cuba's important role in Africa. Thank you Fidel Castro and the Cuban people - we honor you for your service to freedom and justice. Peace, Heather Gray URL - Justice Initiative International