The enduring friendship between Cuba and the peoples of Burkina Faso and the entire African continent cannot be adequately summed up in a few paragraphs. As a people subjected to slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism for several hundred years, few peoples in the world know our struggle and pain better than the peoples of Cuba, Latin America and the Caribbean. In 1983, our country had the courage to challenge a world order based on the exploitation of the many for the enrichment of the few. Thomas Sankara, our brilliant leader, led us with honesty, integrity and bravery as our people organized to assert their dignity and place in the world. We often wonder what would have become of our country and our people had imperialism not penetrated and overthrown our revolutionary process. Cuba answers that question. A revolution born at the tumultuous end of the twentieth century, at a time when the exploited nations of the world were declaring their sovereignty, Cuba is the revolution that has survived. Cuba has been more than a brother to African nations; Cuba is an extension of Africa into the Americas. Cuba dances to the rhythms of Africa. African blood flows through Cuban veins. And Cubans die alongside Africans on the battlefield or in the bush.
The Cuban state is organized to meet the basic needs of all its workers. Cuba offers all its citizens free, universal healthcare and education at all levels. It has trained so many doctors that it is able to send them all over the world, including Africa. Unlike the West, which builds its economy by forcing poor nations into dependence, Cuba is a champion of sovereignty and anti-imperialism. Cuba not only sends its own doctors, it also trains Africans in medicine, both at Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine and in African teaching hospitals, some of which were founded by Cuba.
Our revolution has always been a friend of the Cuban revolution. Under the leadership of Thomas Sankara, our revolution organized the people into Comités de Défense de la Révolution (CDR), largely inspired by Cuba’s Comités de Defensa de la Revolución (CDR). Thomas Sankara was awarded Cuba’s highest distinction, the Jose Marti Order. Our revolutionaries have been sent to Cuba for training, and Cuba has sent volunteers to help with our literacy and vaccination campaigns. Even our revolutionary slogans are the same. Every time we proudly declare “la patrie ou la mort, nous vaincrons”, we are paying tribute to Cuba, whether we know it or not.
Yet today, Cuba is classified as a “state sponsor of terrorism“, a label assigned to it by the United States. Cuba is not a militaristic country. Cuba does not have thousands of military bases around the world, on every continent. Cuba does not launch drones that kill innocent civilians, including children, in countries like Yemen, Afghanistan or Somalia. Cuba does not use its economic power to impose sanctions on countries in order to starve their civilians or prevent them from receiving medical care. Cuban spies do not destabilize poor countries, overthrow popular governments, rig elections, organize coups or carry out political assassinations of African or Latin American leaders. The torture camp that operates on the island of Cuba, in the city of Guantanamo, is not even owned or run by the Cuban government. The great irony of our times is that the country responsible for all these acts of terror is none other than the United States itself.
In the city of Havana is a small museum known as the Memorial de la Denuncia, which pays tribute to all Cuban victims of terrorism. The museum contains exhibits, monuments and declassified documents that reveal the extent of U.S. terrorism against the Cuban people. From Operation Peter Pan, a mass kidnapping of Cuban children, to the biochemical warfare of injecting Cuban children with dengue fever, to the more than 600 assassination attempts against Fidel Castro, the evidence is clearly presented.
We, too, know about the terrorism of the United States and its NATO allies. Our revolution too quickly attracted the attention of the CIA. We know that the American secret services were involved in the assassination of our valiant leader Thomas Sankara. We know the power of the United States through its military operations and its control of the World Bank. In recent years, our people have regularly taken to the streets to denounce the NATO countries and their policies of terror and enslavement. The NATO states are led by none other than the United States.
For decades, the United States has imposed a blockade on the Cuban people, denying its citizens access to certain technologies and costing the Cuban economy billions of dollars.
Cuba is a small Caribbean island whose history is marked by resistance to slavery, colonialism and imperialism. The United States is the most powerful imperialist country in the world. It can therefore rightly be described as a tyrant, tormenting less powerful nations to force them to submit to its will.
We stand resolutely and unwaveringly in solidarity with the Cuban government and people. We demand that the United States remove Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. We insist that the United States has no right to designate any state other than itself and its NATO allies as a “state sponsor of terrorism”. We demand that the United States lift the blockade it has imposed on Cuba over the past six decades, and end all economic warfare against Cuba.
The unity of Cuba and Africa will live forever.
Patria o morte, venceremos!
La Patrie ou la mort, nous vaincrons!
Thomas Sankara Center for African Liberation and Unity
All African People’s Revolutionary Party – Burkina Faso (A-APRP)