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Cuba continues to improve South African lives

26 October 2015

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa led a high-level government and business delegation to Cuba to strengthen bilateral, political, economic and trade relations between South Africa and Cuba.
 
Deputy President Ramaphosa visited Cuba at the invitation of his counterpart First Vice President Miguel Diaz Canel Bermudez.
 
During the visit Deputy President Ramaphosa paid a courtesy call on President Raul Castro and held bilateral discussions with Vice President Canel. During these discussions Deputy President Ramaphosa reiterated the gratitude of the South African people for the moral, political and material support that Cuba provided to the liberation movement during the struggle against apartheid.

Photo: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during the meeting with the Vice President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel and the delegations from both countries in Havanna, Cuba. (Kopano Tlape GCIS)
 
Deputy President Ramaphosa reiterated South Africa’s support for the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America initiated under the leadership of President Raul Castro and President Barrack Obama. In this regard, Deputy President also called for an end to the blockade against Cuba and the removal of all punitive measures that have been directed against the Cuban people.
 
Outlining the objectives of the visit to Cuba, Deputy President Ramaphosa said “We are keen to hear about the process that Cuba has initiated to meet the challenges of the 21st century, particularly since the 2008 global financial crisis and the decline of commodity prices, which have brought economic hardship to many developing countries,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa.
 
“We are keen to hear about the steps that Cuba has taken in the revitalisation of the state and economy. We are particularly keen to strengthen our economic relations with Cuba. We hope the visit will contribute to increased trade and investment between South Africa and Cuba,” continued Deputy President Ramaphosa.
 
“Not only has Cuba contributed to our freedom by supporting our struggle and fighting side by side with us, but you continue to improve the lives of our people by training doctors and providing scholarships for over 80 students annually to study medicine in Cuba. Apart from doctors, Cuba has provided 45 engineers deployed in four provinces in collaboration with the Department of Human Settlements. Our department of Water and Sanitation also has 35 Cuban engineers deployed across the country,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa.
 
Deputy President Ramaphosa also used the opportunity to pay his respects at the Jose Marti Monument at the Plaza de la Revolucion and the Oliver Tambo Bust at the Park for African heroes. The Deputy President also had an occasion to interact with the management of the Latin American School of Medicine where a number of South African students are being trained to become doctors.
 
During the visit Deputy President also held a meeting with leaders and the broader South African student body studying medicine in Cuba.
 
In addition, Deputy President Ramaphosa visited the Cuban Combined Cycle Gas Plant to study how Cubans cope with energy challenges as well as the Cuban Molecular Immunology Centre including the local Policlinic and the Military Historical Park Morro in Havana.

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