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Issue #1855      February 6, 2019

Friendship shared

Timor Leste and Cuba

The friendship shared by Timor Leste and Cuba unites two distant countries. More than 950 young Timorese trained in the Latin American School of Medicine are already serving their people. The brotherhood shared by Cuba and Timor Leste is consolidated every day, the country’s ambassador here, Maubere Lorosae da Silva Horta, (Loro Horta), stated to Granma International, while expressing his gratitude for the preparation received by his young compatriots in Cuban universities.

He described bilateral relations between the nations as close, based on equality and mutual respect, exemplified by the more than 950 young Timorese trained in the Latin American School of Medicine, who already provide medical assistance to their people.

“The commitment made by the leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro to prepare more than a thousand doctors from our nation, will soon be fulfilled, since in Cuban classrooms right now there are about a hundred of them,” the diplomat said, noting that higher education institutions have trained technicians, agronomists, and other specialists, who are playing a leading role in the economic development of the country.

Additionally, a Cuban medical brigade of more than 300 health professionals is assisting the population in remote areas, and its results are evident in better quality of life and improvement of health statistics. ”Official relations between Cuba and Timor Leste began around May 20, 2002. Cuba was the second country after China to recognise our independence from Indonesia, but relations between our peoples were established many years before, during the national liberation struggle,” Horta said.

He gave as a personal example his parents’ participation in the XI World Festival of Youth and Students held in Cuba in 1978. “Over the last 16 years, all our governments have consistently defended relations with Cuba and we have provided our support in the fight against the unjust US blockade,” he added.

He also highlighted that the Timorese people have genuine affection for Comandante Fidel Castro and upon his death, November 25, 2016, spontaneous activities took place in Timor Leste to honour his memory. Masses and commemorations were organized in the country’s 13 districts.

”I think Fidel Castro impacted the independence struggles of many countries in the world. Our young people approach the thought and work of Ernesto Guevara and they look very happy wearing clothing that bears the image of that great Argentine-Cuban fighter or the Comandante en Jefe. The contribution of these leaders to the oppressed peoples of the world is well known,” the ambassador stated.

On the occasion of the celebration in Havana of the 43rd anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Timor Leste ending Portuguese colonialism on November 28, 1975, it was emphasised that the nation was defined as anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist, and pursued strategies for economic development that had as their first priority human beings.

Thus the focus remains on the well-being of the people, with the right to education, health, and a full life, promoting culture through those social goals. In his speech, delivered at the headquarters of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, the ambassador affirmed that cooperation between the Cuban and Timorese governments and peoples will continue, recalling that his country’s infrastructure was devastated after the national liberation struggle, and Cuba has been able to provide important cooperation in efforts to rebuild.

”We have achieved some important milestones in our history as an independent country, which gives us great pride. At the moment, we have one of the highest rates of doctors per resident in Asia, one for every 1,300 inhabitants,” he said. Likewise, Timor Leste has one the lowest crime rates in Asia and economic development is advancing, though challenges exist, including providing more employment opportunities for young people, he added.

The ambassador concluded his remarks affirming that both countries will continue to contribute to peace and sovereignty for the world’s peoples: “We hope that the friendship between Cuba and Timor Leste will remain very deep and close for many generations,” he said.


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