Cuban Foreign Ministry delegation arrives in South Africa

Cuban First Deputy Foreign Minister, Marcelino Medina, arrived this Wednesday in South Africa as part of an official visit to this continent, during which he will address issues of common interest on the bilateral agenda and the international scenario.

Medina's visit includes, in addition to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Rwanda, countries in which he will head a bilateral political dialogue and hold exchanges with different authorities and personalities.

According to the official program, during his two-day stay in South Africa, the high-ranking official will meet with leaders of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party and representatives of the Friendship with Cuba Association, among other figures.

The 15th Meeting of the Joint Consultative Mechanism, presided over by Medina and the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Alvin Botes, is scheduled to be held at the ministry headquarters in Pretoria.

The meeting coincides with the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between these two nations, signed on May 11, 1994, by Presidents Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro, even though the historical ties between both countries date back to the years of the struggle against apartheid.

Hundreds of South African students have graduated in Cuba obtainintg various university degrees, and 700 of them returned to Cuba in 2018 to undertake the last year of Medicine, while in 2019 more than 650 will return to complete their training.

South Africa, on the other hand, constantly supports the Cuban Revolution, rejecting the US economic, commercial and financial blockade, imposed for almost 60 years, and numerous leaders and personalities have condemned the full application of the Helms Burton Act, which tightens sanctions against Cuba.

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S. Africa descends into chaos amid widespread riots, looting & violence against foreigners

Police have used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to try and quell an ongoing outbreak of violence, rioting and looting across South Africa. So far, over 90 people have been arrested.

Rioters looted shops, created flaming barricades on roads and engaged in street fights with police, as attacks on immigrants and foreign-owned businesses increase. Some 50 businesses were looted and damaged on Sunday alone. It’s the second outbreak of such violence in the country in the space of a week.

David Tembe, Chief of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) urged motorists to exercise extreme caution on the highways and to avoid the Maritzburg street area entirely.

“We've stabilised the situation and arrested a few dozen people already,” Johannesburg police spokesman Wayne Minaar said.

“We can’t confirm the final figure right now but they will be charged for public violence ... There’s also a charge of attempted murder being investigated.”

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The wave of violence began last week in Pretoria, the country’s administrative capital, reportedly after a taxi driver was shot dead by a presumed drug dealer, who was a foreign national.   

Some reports indicate that the current riots began after a fire in a building that killed three residents while others speculate that, with unemployment close to 30 percent, the general population is becoming increasingly desperate.

The unrest comes amid a backdrop of escalating tensions between authorities and foreign nationals over widespread efforts to shut down illegally operated businesses, including taxis and commercial trucking.

Truck and bus drivers have been warned by the International Cross-Border Traders Association that they may be targeted in attacks, as the situation continues to deteriorate. 

Meanwhile the Zambian Ministry of Transport and Communications has issued a directive instructing Zambian truck and bus drivers to park their vehicles and avoid traveling to or through South Africa while the current wave of violence continues.

The continuing spate of xenophobic violence has been widely condemned by politicians and human rights organisations.

The Nigerian Minister for Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama described the situation as “sickening and depressing” while also decrying “ineffective police protection.”

Police Minister Bheki Cele declared the Johannesburg looting as a national emergency.


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In solidarity with the people of Cuba – SACP

SACP pledges resolute solidarity with the people of Cuba, strongly condemns imperialist machination and draconian measures pushed by the Trump administration

The South African Communist Party (SACP) strongly condemns United States (US) imperialist aggression and machination directed at the people of Cuba, their land and other basic wealth. The SACP unwaveringly pledges its international solidarity with the Cuban people, and fully supports their fundamental right to self-determination. Exercising their democratic national sovereignty, the Cuban people have chosen their own path of transformation and development, the pursuit of socialism as opposed to capitalist barbarity. In negative reaction against Cuban independence, the US unleashed a variety of extraterritorial measures and other forms of imperialist interference, for over half-a-century now, since the triumph of the Cuban revolution in January 1959 against a US-backed dictatorship led by one Mr Fulgencio Batista.

The US has been occupying until now the Cuban territory of Guantanamo Bay for many decades predating the Cuban revolution and has been sponsoring all sorts of regime change attacks on Cuba against the revolution. Very recently the Trump administration chose a warmongering path of tightening draconian measures to destroy Cuban independence and subordinate Cuba to the dictates and interests of the US ruling class. The latest measures aim to extend the United States imposed illegal blockade against Cuba.

The Helms-Burton Act of 1996, sponsored by the so-called “democrats” and “republicans” working in collaboration with each other, is now being pushed by the Trump Administration to agitate for and permit lawsuits to be filed in the US against Cuban entities. This draconian action will have adverse social and economic impact on the Cuban people, including on but not limited to the ownership of their homes, schools and polyclinics where they receive medical care. Through the machination, the Trump administration intends to seize the wealth of the Cuban people, including infrastructure, agricultural land, industries, and mineral and energy resources.

The disregard of international law by the Trump administration, through its unilateralism and imperialism, must be strongly condemned and practically opposed by the peace loving and democratic people across the world.

Issued by Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo, National Spokesperson & Head of Communications, SACP, 6 August 2019

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Cuba, SA and international solidarity

On July 26, 1953, the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba was the site of an armed attack by a group of 135 revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro.
This attack is widely accepted as the spark that ignited the Cuban revolution. Castro was charged and ended his legal defence with the now-famous closing argument: “History will absolve me.” This resonates with Nelson Mandela’s statement from the dock that ended: “It is an ideal for which I hope to live and see realised ... but if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Cuba’s relations with African liberation movements began in 1963, soon after the struggle’s triumph over the Batista dictatorship in Cuba. Members of the Cuban leadership travelled to Algiers to build formal relations with the Algerian National Liberation Front, and Che Guevara’s trip around Africa in 1963 was a significant turning point in strengthening Cuba’s relationship with liberation movements around the continent.

Thus from 1963 until 1991, Cuba supported interventions in 17 African countries involving hundreds of thousands of Cuban soldiers, doctors and social workers.

Another aspect of Cuba’s foreign policy was its strong stance against the apartheid regime at international fora. Cuba’s support for UN Resolution 435, as well as direct support to Angola’s struggle to defend its independence from 1975 until 1988 against apartheid military incursions, formed the centrepiece of Cuban policy towards southern African liberation movements.

Indeed, history did absolve Fidel Castro and continues to absolve him. The evidence indicates that the Cuban revolution created a better life for all its citizens, which included wiping out illiteracy; free, quality education from early childhood development to tertiary level; returning the land and houses to the people; and free health care and social services, which increased the quality of life and life expectancy, thus giving back dignity to the ordinary people of Cuba.

Despite different ideologies and degrees of development, Cuba and South Africa share aspects of a historical legacy of colonisation, racism, slavery, liberation struggle, revolution, and post-colonial reconstruction and development.

As South Africa proceeds through another decade of transformation and post-apartheid rule, her relationship with Cuba is bound by our mutual developmental agenda as the country balances its internal needs with competitiveness in the global arena.

Equally, born more than half a century ago, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) embodied the collective identity and aspirations of newly independent nations in Africa and Asia.

The genesis of the NAM is relevant as a voice advocating for the poor, less-developed countries and highly indebted countries. Deepening South-South solidarity and using NAM as a pivotal instrument to build bridges with the North and highly industrialised countries of the world may present the best interlocutor for international diplomacy.

As we begin our next 25 years of democracy, we will continue to support our friends such as Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Palestine, Nicaragua, Western Sahara and every other country which suffers from unilateral economic blockades, violations of international law and territorial sovereignty.

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14 Lions Escape South Africa's Kruger National Park, Alert Issued

Johannesburg: A pride of 14 lions is on the loose near a mining community bordering South Africa's Kruger National Park, officials said Friday, and warned members of the public to be alert.

The lions have been spotted roaming around the Foskor phosphate mine outside the town of Phalaborwa on the western boundary of the famed wildlife park, which is fenced in.

It is suspected the big cats escaped from the park, said the government of the northern Limpopo province, which has allocated rangers to monitor the pride while officials decide where to send them.

"Employees at Foskor Mine and members of the public are hereby advised to be alert at all times," the provincial department of environment and tourism said in an online statement.

It said a meeting of government and park officials had concluded that the lions must be captured and released into the Kruger National Park.

But park spokesman Ike Phaahla said this was not feasible, as the new arrivals "will continually break out as other dominant lions will chase them out."

He added that any animal outside the park "is the responsibility of the provincial authority."

Until the matter is settled, Phaahla warned "there is a danger to members of the public who are working in the area.

"There is the possibility of wildlife-human conflict, so people have to be careful," he told SABC public television. "We need to identify a park where they can be taken and establish their own area."

It was not clear how long the lions have been on the loose.

Earlier this week, a leopard killed a two-year-old boy inside a fenced-off staff compound in the Kruger.

A team of rangers hunted down two suspected leopards and shot them dead to avoid the risk of a repeat.

The park covers nearly two million hectares (4.9 million acres) and is home to over 500 bird species and 147 mammal species.

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The friendship between Cuba and South Africa has very deep roots

Salvador Valdés Mesa, a first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers, attended the inauguration May 25 of the newly elected President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa

Valdés Mesa, who is undertaking an official visit to the country, conveyed his best wishes to Ramaphosa and his governmental.

On his official Twitter account, the Cuban First Vice President recalled that the two nations celebrated the first quarter of a century of their diplomatic relations on May 25, coinciding with Africa Day.

According to Prensa Latina, in his inaugural speech, Ramaphosa addressed the main challenges facing his country and reiterated his will to fight against poverty, create jobs and end inequality. “This is a defining moment for a young nation like ours,” he said.

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South Africa: 4,311 Migrants Dead or Missing in 'Land of Gold'

From Hillbrow, after research, they are taken to Olifantsvlei cemetery in Johannesburg. The bodies are then grouped in fives and buried together in nine-feet-deep holes.

In South Africa’s Guateng (Land of Gold) province, 4,311 migrants have been reported dead, between 2014 and 2017, and remain unidentified.

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When undocumented migrants pass away and they remain unclaimed, they are not repatriated. “A lot of dead bodies end up in a mortuary in Hillbrow, one of the city’s most dangerous and notorious neighborhoods, for pathological research. It’s South Africa’s biggest morgue, with 3,000 bodies being investigated every year. Ten percent of those remain unclaimed and unidentified,” according to the Daily Journal.

But, this is not the last stop. From Hillbrow, after research, they are taken to Olifantsvlei cemetery, in the city of Johannesburg. The bodies are then grouped in fives and buried together in nine-feet-deep holes.

The graves are marked by insignia that read basic information such as “Unknown B/Male” in areas labeled with plaques that read “Pauper Block.”

African migrants come to the province of Guateng looking for work in the prospering underground economy.

Authorities keep DNA records of the diseased which are used to build a database for the purpose of identifying the bodies in the future.

This type of report is very difficult, and it can only be considered an approximation since there are difficulties in obtaining accurate information. For example, many families do not report their missing because of their illegal status, or for a lack of knowledge of their destinations and whereabouts after leaving home.

The anti-immigration sentiment, which translates to concrete political policies, both the in the United States and Europe is generating a decrease in funding for migrant support projects which means fewer resources are allocated to tracking migrants, according to The Republic.

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New Statue at UN Recalls Legacy of Nelson Mandela

A statue in tribute to Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) recalls today at the Unitesd Nations the legacy of the anti-apartheid fighter, to whom this year the multilateral entity dedicated several events.

The sculpture is now part of the numerous works of art shown in the halls and public spaces of the U.N. general quarters in New York.

Recently unveiled during the high-level segment of the General Assembly, the real-size figure is a present from South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

In its inauguration on September 24, the South African head of State thanked the enthusiasm showed by the international community on occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Mandela.

He also recalled the first negro South African president is revered in his country as founding father of democracy and that his life of sacrifices continues inspiring different generations.

Over 150 speakers from all over the world were gathered on September 24 at the UN for the Peace Summit Nelson Mandela, and due to numerous applications to speak at the event, previous Tuesday there was a second session of this event.

A resolution to declare the period 2019-2028 as the Decade for Peace Nelson Mandela was also approved.

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