Remarks by H.E. Mrs. Anayansi Rodríguez Camejo, Ambassador Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, opening the reception hosted by the Cuban Mission to the UN to commemorate the Africa Day.

Dear African Ambassadors; dear permanent representatives from the Caribbean missions; distinguished guests; brothers and sisters,

It is a matter of great pride for Cuba to celebrate with our African brothers and sisters the Africa Day and commemorate the fifty fourth Anniversary of the constitution, on May 25, 1963, of the Organization for African Unity, now the African Union.

From Africa, we inherited the fighting spirit, strength in adversity and love for freedom that characterize the Cuban people today.  From Africa, the Cuban nation also inherited the nobility, wisdom, humanism, sensitivity, joy and spirit of resistance.

Thousands of Africans, brought to Cuba by force as slaves, and their descendants joined our early struggles for independence as combatants, since its very beginning in the nineteenth Century. 

Our rich culture and idiosyncrasy is full of manifestations of African origin.  Africa had and continues to have, powerful influence in our culture and played a decisive role in the formation of our nationality.

No other people in the world contributed so much to forging the Cuban nation as the African people.

For these and many other reasons, the Cuban people never hesitated to extend its solidarity to Africa and to contribute, modestly, to forge their freedom and development.  Tens of thousands of Cuban health workers, teachers, sports trainers and other specialists of the most diverse branches have fulfilled the solidarity duty in several African nations.  And it has been done accomplishing a basic duty of solidarity and internationalism with our brothers; to pay off part of our historical debt to Africa.

It is, as I said, a matter of pride to see that, today, the African Union continues to consolidate. Today Africa is a group of independent countries that continues striving to reach their full development, with its own voice in the international arena. 

In this context, it is my great pleasure to congratulate all of you because, for the first time in History, a son of the African continent, a son of Ethiopia, has been elected today as the new Director General of the World Health Organization. And Cuba is very proud of that. This election has shown the prestige achieved by Africa within the international community.  This election is also an act of justice to all the developing countries.  The world has to look towards Africa! The world must respect Africa!

We always keep in our minds and our hearts that Africa has permanently supported Cuba in many sensitive matters here in the United Nations and at many other fora.  And we will be eternally grateful for that.

Dear brothers and sisters,

On behalf of the people and Government of Cuba and our Permanent Mission, I wish to express our most sincere congratulations and reiterate that Africa can count on Cuba now and forever. 

This house of Cuba is also your house, so we wish you all to feel here like at home.

Thank you and enjoy the evening.