Thu | Feb 21, 2019

Resilient Cubans mark 60 years since revolution

Published:Tuesday | January 1, 2019 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue/Senior Gleaner Writer
Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica Inez Fors Fernandez with pictures of former Cuban leaders Fidel (left) and Raul Castro inside her office in St Andrew.

As the people of Cuba mark the 60th anniversary of the revolution that toppled the Batista regime, Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica Inez Fors Fernandez is declaring that the country is better today because of the work of its late former leader, Fidel Castro, his brother, Ra?l, and the revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara.

Fors Fern·ndez, who was born four years after the revolution, told The Gleaner last week that while the years have not been economically easy on the Cuban people, the majority are firm in their belief that the country's leaders have done well for the people.

"Cuba and Cubans have faced many obstacles in the 60 years, including the promotion and support of sabotage, economic, financial and commercial blockade, and other political and diplomatic aggressions, as well as the permanent slandering campaign to denigrate the Cuban Revolution and its leaders," said Fors Fern·ndez days after spending her first Christmas in Jamaica.

 

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES

 

She said that Cubans have personified resistance and resilience despite the challenges.

"The 60th anniversary shows it is possible to overcome all obstacles with the active involvement of the Cuban people. Cubans have learned how to transform dreams into reality, have confidence in the face of dangers and threats, how to get over the big setbacks, and how to turn every challenge into a victory to overcome adversity," declared Fors Fern·ndez.

The United States has maintained a decades-long embargo on Cuba and tightened the noose in 1996 with the passing of the Cuban Liberty Democratic Solidarity Act (Helms-Burton Act) co-authored by United States Senator Jesse Helms and Dan Burto.

But Fors Fern·ndez argued that Cuba's survival is a lesson to the world.

Cuba is grappling with severe housing shortages, and some of the oldest model cars still provide personal and domestic transportation in the country. Under Ra?l Castro, the country began opening its doors, creating new economic opportunities, which started under his older brother and revolution hero, Fidel.

Under former US President Barack Obama, diplomatic relations were resumed between the two countries, Internet access was increased for Cubans, and direct flights from the US to Cuba were introduced.

But since then, President Donald Trump has rolled back some of the closer ties forged during the Obama time, arguing that Cuba must improve its human-rights records.

"Cubans have firmly resisted based on sound convictions and on the resolution of all of the people to defend them at any cost. That's why today, the revolution is stronger than ever. It has never failed to stand by its principles, not even in the most difficult circumstances," said Fors Fern·ndez.

The Cuban Revolution saw the overthrow of the Batista regime and the establishment of a new Cuban government led by Fidel Castro on January 1, 1959. The US responded by breaking diplomatic relations with Cuba shortly after to protest against the nationalisation of properties belonging to US citizens and corporations.

The United Nations General Assembly last November again overwhelmingly backed a resolution condemning the US economic embargo.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com