I am writing you this letter from Katjinakatji, a remote village located here in the Kavango Region of Namibia. Shortly after your historic inauguration, my brother Kayando and I engaged in a spirited discussion about what your presidency would mean to Africa as well as to people of African descent both inside and outside the United States.
My brother argued that you were the star on the map of history of the world. I had no reason to disagree. My wish then was to see in particular how you would deal or rectify the US’s bad relations with Zimbabwe and Cuba.
As you know the blood of Africa runs not only in the veins of USA but also in Cuba. After all, the latter is the only country which sent soldiers to die for Africans particularly for Angola and Namibia during the liberation struggle. If there was truth and universal justice in the world by now, Commandant Fidel Castro would have received a Nobel Peace Prize for his historic role in the freedom and independence of Namibia, Angola and South Africa.
In other words, it is common knowledge over here that Cuba fought alongside us whereas the USA fought alongside Apartheid South Africa. It would appear that successive USA administrations have maintained the sanctions and embargoes on Cuba partly because it dared to extend its compassion and solidarity to the African people and downtrodden worldwide.
The US punishment of Cuba has taken the form of inhuman and barbaric embargo imposed on Cuba under the Helms-Burton law which continues to undermine their freedom, sovereignty, dignity and human rights primarily through anti-Cuban right-wing groups [Omega 7, Alpha 66, Brothers to the Rescue, Brigada 2506 and Commandos F4] in Miami. Moreover, the USA has engaged in countless terrorist activities against Cuba, against Cuban-Americans and anyone who calls for a normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States of America. These terrorist groups have been sponsored and hosted by the people and Government of the United States of America.
The irony of it all is that the United States Government and its Western allies, rightly so, are the loudest to condemn sponsors of terrorism elsewhere and after 11 September terrorist attacks, it has even invaded countries under the pretext of weapons of mass destruction and destroying safe havens of terrorists. But when it comes to Cuba, the same USA and its Western allies have for decades condoned the terrorist activities of the anti-Cuba extremists in Miami, USA.
Your Excellency, President Obama, thus in writing this letter, I wish to draw your attention to the plight of the Cuban Five who are languishing in your Federal Prisons. Their names are Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labanino, Rene Gonzallez and Fernando Gonzalez and were involved in monitoring the actions of terrorist right-wing groups in Miami.
I recall that on the 22nd September 2007, the families of the Cuban Five were here in Namibia. I was happy to meet them so too were many Namibians because, as indicated above, Cuba has been a true friend to SWAPO, as a liberation movement, and the people of Namibia’s just struggle for freedom and independence from the Western-backed Apartheid tyranny.
By way of this letter, I am adding my voice to millions worldwide who have called on your administration to release the Cuban Five. Their continuing incarceration is a violation of their human dignity and universal human rights.
In the same vein, I wish to reiterate and support earlier calls on the Government of the United States of America to lift the barbaric and inhuman embargoes imposed on Cuba by successive US administrations for the past five decades. If the US Government truly cares and respect human rights and “trust in God”, the time to demonstrate such commitment is now. The world (especially Africa) is waiting for that action on the part of the US Government!
Greetings and best regards,
Dr Elijah Ngurare
17 January 2011