On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the Republic of Cuba and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Cuban Embassy hosted a cultural evening and cocktail on Thursday, 25th May, at its Embassy in Ratho Mill. Official diplomatic relations between the Republic of Cuba and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines began on 26th May 1992.
The gathering at the cultural evening included the Venezuelan Ambassador to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, H.E.Yuri Pimentel and Mrs. Pimentel; Government officials; Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture, Hon. Cecil ‘Ces’ McKie; Minister of National Mobilisation, Hon Frederick Stephenson; CEO of VINLEC, Mr. Thornley Myers; Speaker of the House, Hon. Jomo Thomas; former Vincentian Ambassador to Cuba, Mr. Dexter Rose; friends of Cuba; and well-wishers.
Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Her Excellency Vilma Reyes Valdespino, stated that the Embassy was pleased to offer an evening of Cuban cultural performances in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the diplomatic relations. According to her, “the opening of the embassies of the two countries in the corresponding capitals and the signing of an important group of agreements between the Governments of Cuba and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, paved the way for the multifaceted collaboration and the narrowing of the economic and cultural political ties of which we enjoy today, both bilaterally and in the context of regional integration”.
Her Excellency Valdespino used the opportunity to pay tribute to former Cuban President Fidel Castro for “his vision of the need for Latin American and Caribbean unity and integration, to his tireless search for solutions to the specific problems and worthy nations of the Caribbean, his enthusiasm and commitment to the projects undertaken. These 25 years of friendship, co-operation and excellent state of our bilateral relations, are a true tribute to the legacy and memory of Fidel”.
Prime Minister, Dr., The Hon., Ralph E. Gonsalves, said of Cuba, “we’re really tight, we’re really close”. Dr. Gonsalves expressed his thanks to the Cuban Embassy for hosting the cultural evening in celebration of relations between Cuba and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He referred to the 1970s where informal ties existed between the two countries: “For years, from the colonial period, our country had contact at a people to people level with Cuba. That’s why, for instance, there are a few Cubans here whose grandparents - at least one of them - would have come from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. My own grandfather went to Cuba in 1929 to cut cane in Oriente Province”.
Prime Minister Gonsalves mentioned Mr. Renrick Rose, former General Secretary of the Youlou United Liberation Movement (YOULIMO) “which was formed in 1974 and the UPM out of which it grew, left organisation - socialist - in the case of YOULIMO [it] was a Marxist group and there were party to party links between YOULIMO and the UPM, and the Cuban Communist Party, even before diplomatic relationships were established”.
Over the years, Cuba has greatly assisted Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Dr. Gonsalves referred to the “many projects on which we have worked together, on vision mow, which is called Miracle Mission in Cuba, and we worked very closely on the airport. The airport which you came in - that beautiful airport which was built with a lot of love and caring – without Fidel and Chavez and Raoul and Maduro, without Venezuela and Cuba, that airport will not be there and that is why we have photographs of Fidel and Chavez prominently displayed in the airport”.
“To Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Cuba, long may the friendship last”, Dr. Gonsalves affirmed.