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Cuba hosts cocktail to mark 25 years of relations with SVG

Cuba hosts cocktail to mark 25 years of relations with SVG

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The beginning of diplomatic relations between St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and Cuba, which was 25 years ago, paved the way for multifaceted collaboration.

Formal diplomatic relations were established on May 26, 1992 and so far, there has been cooperation in areas of health, education and more recently, the contribution towards this country’s largest capital project, the Argyle International Airport (AIA).

In celebration of the 25 years, a series of activities were held locally. The activities commenced with a cocktail reception at the Cuban Embassy last Thursday, May 25.

Speaking during the cocktail, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to SVG Vilma Reyes Valdespino noted that the embassy was pleased to offer an evening of Cuban cultural performances in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the diplomatic relations.

“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 St 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,” said Ambassador Reyes Valdespino.

The Ambassador 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”.

She added that these 25 years of friendship, cooperation and excellent state of bilateral relations are a true tribute to the legacy and memory of Castro.

The gathering at the cultural evening included Venezuelan Ambassador HE Yuri Pimentel and his wife, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Cecil ‘Ces’ McKie, Minister of National Mobilization Frederick Stephenson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of VINLEC Thornley Myers, Speaker of the House Jomo Thomas and former Vincentian Ambassador to Cuba Dexter Rose, among others.

“We’re really tight, we’re really close,” said PM Gonsalves, while commenting on SVG’s relationship with Cuba.

Dr Gonsalves expressed his thanks to the Cuban Embassy for hosting the cultural evening, noting that ties existed between the two countries since the 1970s.

“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 St Vincent and the Grenadines. My own grandfather went to Cuba in 1929 to cut cane in Oriente Province,” said the Prime Minister, who added that over the years, Cuba has greatly assisted SVG.

“To St Vincent and the Grenadines and Cuba, long may the friendship last!” Dr Gonsalves said.

Celebrations also included a cultural showcase at the Peace Memorial Hall last Friday, with cultural performances from Vincentian artistes and the Cuban band, Calle Cuba.

Later today, Tuesday, May 30, this country’s resident Ambassador to Cuba, Ellsworth John, will host a cultural celebration in Havana. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sir Louis Straker and Lady Straker will be on hand to witness the celebration, where pannist Rodney Small, violinist Darren Andrews, soca artiste Rondy “Luta” McIntosh, Kamaro Williams and Brent Williams will perform.

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