By Tosin Kolade
Abuja – The Nigeria Movement of Solidarity with Cuba, has called for the removal of 60 years economic blockade against Cuba by the U.S and the West, to allow for free trade and economic development.
This was the thrust at the opening of the 6th Nigeria Movement of Solidarity with Cuba Meeting in Abuja on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there have been solidarity of African countries against the United States blockade of Cuba and for the Cuban’s people’s right to self-determination and sovereignty.
The movement comprises labour centres such as the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), and the Trade Union and coalition of other popular groups and women organisations.
Organising Chairperson and NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, noted that celebration of Cuba and its friendship with the African people cannot be complete without speaking up strongly for them.
He said motivation for the meeting was to affirm international support and solidarity with Cuba and to demand respect for Cuba’s right to self-determination and sovereignty.
“For the umpteenth time, we call on the United States and its western allies to lift the economic blockade against the people of Cuba.
“The thought that Cuba will collapse after a few years has now been debunked by the resilience of the Cuban people these past sixty years and counting.
“We believe that if the Cuban people and government could build such great education, health and public service institutions in spite of decades of blockade, Cuba will compete with the most advanced countries of the world if the prison doors are opened.
“We also call on western countries to quit interfering in the sovereignty of nations.”
Wabba added that Africa was not in true solidarity with Cuba if she fails to show love to other Africans.
He noted that the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa would not have happened, if the region truly share in the Cuban ideals of a shared humanity.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, noted that Cuba had made efforts in times past to help African countries in their time of need.
Onu said the NLC has shown commitment with the solidarity mandate, thanking the union for efforts to raise consciousness about the sacrifice of Cuba for independence of some countries.
The Minister noted that during the Ebola pandemic, Cuba sent no fewer than 400 doctors to African countries to curb the spread, calling on Nigerians to imbibe culture of patriotism and self reliant.
“Nigeria must do more to lead Africa and other countries globally, we must put the Xenophobic attack from South Africa aside and provide the needed leadership for liberation of Africa.
” When we do this, it will help to provide leadership, a new civilisation to rise, stronger and respected all over the world. ”
Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, noted that Cuba was the best expression of international solidarity, saying that with unity and support from African countries, it will win the war against western imperialism.
He called on Nigerians to draw lessons of dignity, self reliant and patriotism from the Cuban experience, towards economic growth and development.
According to him, it is important for South African government to condemn Xenophobic attacks on foreigners, urging them to learn humanism from Cuba.
The Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Carlos Trejo, said Cuba had a long history of partnership with Nigeria.
He added that the U.S. blockade of Cuba, which lasted almost 60 years, was the longest single blockade of any country in history.
The ambassador said Cuba had prospered in spite of “imperialist aggressiveness from U.S. , stressing that the country had achieved one of the best healthcare systems as well as education in the world.
He said Cubans were conscious of their cultural affinity with the African people and would always ensure that they share their successes with Nigerians.
Trejo said that past efforts by Cuba in assisting Nigeria had nothing to do with financial gains.