Letter from Sam Nujoma on the death of Cuban combatant Orestes “Primo” Valdivia.

Letter from Sam Nujoma on the death of Cuban combatant Orestes “Primo” Valdivia.

01 October 2021

The Widow, Comrade Lidya de La Lastra

Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Namibia

37 Quenta Str., Ludwigsdorf


Dear Comrade Lidya de La Lastra and the Entire Bereaved Family,

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing on of your beloved husband and a Veteran of our National Liberation Struggle, Comrade Orestes Valdivia, affectionately known as “Primo” on Thursday, 30 September 2021.   

We are consumed with grief as we mourn the passing on of one of the fearless and relentless freedom fighters whom we met in Angola as a Cuban Internationalist Combatant, yet we also celebrate a Former Cuban fisheries specialist in Namibia and the only Cuban citizen recognized by the SWAPO Party as a PLAN Combatant.   

Comrade “Primo” and his wife, Comrade Lidya de La Lastra, affectionately known as “Lilito”, were the first Cubans to assist our children in exile when they opened the Chibia School followed by another school at N'dalatando, Cuanza Norte Province, after the Cassinga massacre perpetrated by the white minority South African troops against our people in Angola on the 4th of May 1978.

Comrade “Primo” and his wife were instrumental in helping to transport the Namibian children, many of whom were Cassinga Massacre survivors and taught them Spanish before they travelled to Cuba for further studies.  The couple made sure that these children were well taken care of. 

Comrade “Primo” and his wife also had strong friendship bonds with many Namibians including myself and my wife.  In paying tribute to him this day we therefore also pay tribute to the Widow, Comrade Lidya de La Lastra, for her leadership, nurturing and mentoring spirit. 

Comrade “Primo” thus left a rich and indelible legacy.  He will be remembered by our people for his kindness, his boundless optimism, his humility and humanity.  Let us draw guidance and inspiration from his life and let his legacy and his values live on in each one of us.

On behalf of the Veterans of our National Liberation Struggle, the Nujoma family and indeed on my own behalf, allow me therefore to extend our deepest condolences and sincere sympathies to the bereaved family and all Comrades for this irreparable loss.  May we all be granted fortitude during these trying times.

May His Soul Rest In Eternal Peace!



Sam Nujoma


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