Former President Jerry John Rawlings has called on Cuba to continue to offer support towards Ghana’s socio-economic development.
While touting the huge support and sacrifices the people of Cuba had committed towards Ghana and other African countries, Mr. Rawlings asked Cuba to take a hard look at what more it could do to assist Ghana.
“If there’s any assistance you can give Ghana it is extremely crucial that you do so now,” Flt Lt Rawlings said, when the visiting Vice-President of the Cuban Council of State, Madam Mercedes Lopez Acea called on him at his office on Sunday.
The former President said one of the greatest benefits Ghana has received from Cuba are the products of the Isle of Youth in Cuba. He noted that the Isle of Youth, beyond educating Ghanaian youth, also brought out their sense of self-belief by re-inculcating the values of respect, integrity and patriotism, which are sometimes lost through the adoption of the English language as a medium of power that lacks the authority, humility and cultural values inherent in our own languages.
Mr. Rawlings was grateful that Cuba continues to offer education and medical assistance to Ghana and other African countries.
The former president told the visiting delegation how he attempted to impress on some African leaders especially those with oil at that period to assist in financing the Isle of Youth since a good number of African students brought the benefits of studying there back home. He went on to say that Africa had not shown enough gratitude for sacrifices Cuba had made to our continent.
He expressed his displeasure that when the West put pressure on Africa, Cuba could not be allowed to even fish on some African coastal waters. Cuban troops played an integral part in the liberation of some countries in Southern Africa.
Madam Lopez Acea told the former president that the relationship with Africa had a weight of value for Cuba. Cuba, she stated, was keen to sustain its historical relations with Ghana. She said Ghana was the first country to have diplomatic relations with Cuba after the revolution. She emphasized that the strength of cooperation, which is currently manifest in education and medical partnership was beneficial to both countries.
Madam Lopez Acea expressed her country’s gratitude to Ghana for her continued support for Cuba at the United Nations and the African Union.
Former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings also expressed her gratitude to Cuba for the support it offered the 31st December Movement in training teachers, artisans and savings and loans officials. She commended the practical nature of Cuban assistance, which involved a combination of field and academic work.
Ghana’s Ambassador to Cuba, Napoleon Abdulai informed the former president that Cuba’s pharmaceutical sector had developed revolutionary new treatments for diabetes and malaria that could be of immense benefit to Ghana. He indicated that Cuba was ready to cooperate with Ghana for the introduction of the latest medical technology to Ghana.
About 65,000 Cubans have been saved from diabetes related amputation over the past five years, Mr. Abdulai stated.
The Ambassador also noted that Cuba could support Ghana with advanced cancer treatment technology as well as support the resuscitation of Ghana’s sugar manufacturing industry.
Also present at the meeting was Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, Member of Parliament for Klottey Korle.
Madam Mercedes Lopez Acea was accompanied by Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ana Teresita González, the Ambassador of Cuba to Ghana, Pedro L. Despaigne González and Ambassador Sidenio Acosta Aday, official from the Sub-Saharan African Division at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.