BELMOPAN, Fri. Nov. 23, 2018– On January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro and his revolutionary fighters marched triumphantly into Havana, the capital of Cuba, and the world hasn’t been the same since.
At a meeting of the House of Representatives this morning, representatives of Belize’s two main political parties, the governing United Democratic Party (UDP) and the Opposition, People’s United Party (PUP), paid tribute to Fidel Castro on the second anniversary of the death of this giant revolutionary of the Caribbean, whose revolution has enriched the lives of peoples far beyond our region.
Belize and Cuba enjoy excellent bilateral relations, with Cuba assisting Belize in a number of areas, including by means of a medical brigade who attended the ceremony at the National Assembly building along with the Cuban Ambassador to Belize.
Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow opened the tribute in honor of Commandante Castro, who died of natural causes in November 2016 after surviving 11 US presidents and a number of CIA assassination plots.
“No one will ever forget the universalist stance of Cuba under Fidel, the unrelenting campaign against apartheid, the readiness always to offer relief and aid in times of natural disaster and to send it to the opposite ends of the earth—the preparedness to sacrifice Cuban life and limb in the cause of national liberation especially in Africa and the medical brigades dispatched to the remotest of places to combat disease and plagues such as Ebola,” PM Barrow said.
The PM added, “Of course, we have long benefitted from the presence of such a medical brigade. I see members of them in the gallery; I salute you and I thank you.”
Prime Minister Barrow described Fidel’s legacy as “extraordinary and imperishable.”
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. John Briceno, was not present at the House meeting, so Hon. Cordel Hyde, Lake Independence area representative and the PUP National Deputy Leader, spoke on behalf of the Opposition.
“In our case, he is arguably the godfather of our independence movement, the first of the Americas to recognize our right to self-determination and a central player in our march to independence. We Belizeans will forever be indebted to the celestial giant that was Fidel Castro. We are, because of him. Because of him, small people all over the world could have dreamt of freedom, justice and equality. Quoting Ahmed Sekou Toure: ‘Because of him we prefer freedom in poverty to opulence in slavery’,” Hon. Hyde said.
Hon. Hyde said Fidel took on the colonial forces in Africa and twice defeated the previously undefeated apartheid army, bringing white rule to its end.
Hon. Hyde quoted Nelson Mandela, who said of the Cubans who had gone to help them fight the evil apartheid system that “It was the first time people came to Africa and did not want anything from Africa.”
“Say what you want about him, but history has absolved this extraordinary man,” Hon. Hyde said.