Linet Perera Negrin
For the President of the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU– PF), Simon Khaya Moyo, his country and Cuba share a common history and experience in regards to their struggles for independence.
Zimbabwe was colonized by the English, who took control of the land belonging to the indigenous peoples of the areas. Years later, in 1980, Southern Rhodesia – as it was known during the colonial period – achieved independence after years of fighting to reclaim its sovereignty and recuperate its territory appropriated by British colonizers.
The ties of friendship between both countries date back to Cuba’s cooperation in Zimbabwe’s and other African independence struggles.
Khaya Moyo stated that Cuban solidarity has manifested itself in many different forms, from military preparation of Zimbabwe’s revolutionary forces to the training of professionals in various sectors.
Cuba’s contribution to liberation struggles in Africa is of key political importance. “We are conscious of the fact that in this region of African we are what we are in great measure thanks to the sacrifice of Cubans. Of course, I am referring to the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, which was a critical moment in our political push.”
Angola is what it is today thanks in large part to Cuba’s help, the same is true of Namibia and of course South Africa,” stated Khaya Moyo.
The ZANU– PF President emphasized the importance of Fidel’s example for his country. The historic leader of the Cuban Revolution was “an inspiration to our struggle, we continue to admire him and we wish him good health.”
He also mentioned visits by Zimbabwean leaders of the Patriotic Front, deceased former president, Joshua Komo and current President, Robert Mugabe to Cuba, an example of the longstanding relations between the Caribbean nation and the African country.
In addition, Cuba has supported Zimbabwe after years of fighting for its own independence. “Cuba continues to provide and offer us help in different fields, particularly in education and health,” stated Khaya Moyo
He also addressed international issues and questions relating the realities affecting both countries. In this context he denounced the blockade imposed by the U.S. on the island, “Cuba has been subjected to a U.S. blockade for over 50 years without having committed any crime, but for refusing to be an appendix and for wishing to remain sovereign. Despite this illegal blockade, it has shown great revolutionary determination and unity.”
Regarding this issue, Khaya Moyo commented that his country “is also suffering illegal sanctions imposed by the British and U.S. for the mere fact or crime of wanting to return the land to its rightful owners.
“Only some 4,000 while colonizers, mainly from Britain, occupied practically all Zimbabwean land, and we were regarded as visitors in our own country. Over almost 100 years we were pushed out to desert areas where there was little rain and the land was bad…We took up arms because we wanted to reclaim our lands and now we have recuperated them, and because of this they believe that we should be punished,” explained Khaya Moyo.
“Of course the British and their allies have never been comfortable with our position, because they want a regime change; they even created an opposition group and financed it in the hope that it would win the 2008 elections.” That is why “we were forced to create a coalition government between ourselves the true revolutionaries and their puppet revolutionaries,” he added.
Commenting on the tension in Zimbabwe in 2008, he stated that after the coalition didn’t work “during the following five years we organized our people for the 2013 elections. During this time the ZANU-PF was able recuperate and won the elections…through our manifesto which focused on indigenization, empowerment, development and employment…We won over two thirds of the seats in parliament and now we revolutionaries have the majority.”
According to Khaya Moyo, support was won by the ZANU-PF manifesto which proposed and multi-faceted economic project addressing, food security and nutrition, infrastructure, services, social services, the eradication of poverty, development and use of national resources. “We want to export developed or semi-developed products from which our people can benefit.”
Regarding the manifesto proposals and the future of the party he explained that “although the opposition gained a few seats, in 2018 there will be no space for them. In our party we are guided by the wishes of the people who at are the center of our programs and policies and who support them.”
In addition he expressed appreciation for Cuban cooperation “particularly in the spheres of education and health…We have some students here, some have already graduated and returned home. In addition, with the contribution of Cuban expertise, we have created a university of sciences in our country which is one of the most progressive institutions in Zimbabwe.”
Furthermore, he expressed support for the Cuban Five during a visit to the Cuban Friendship Institute. “We are very pleased that two of the five have been released, but three remain imprisoned for no reason (…) we will not give up in our efforts to secure their release.”
Finally, Khaya Moyo stated that despite the country having been subjected to sanctions for 15 years “following the example of the Cuban people, we said that Zimbabwe would cease to be a British colony, that Zimbabwe was not up for sale, and that it will remain a sovereign state under the leadership of our iconic President, Robert Mugabe”.
Khaya Moyo, there exists a clear idea, “with or without sanctions we will continue to be a sovereign state. Our resources are belong to us and we will utilize them for the benefit of all our people.”