CUBA CALLS ON IMMEDIATE RETURN OF AZERBAIJAN’S TERRITORIES OCCUPIED BY ARMENIA: AMBASSADOR MARCELO CABALLERO TORRES
Dec 28 2009
Cuba’s Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Azerbaijan
Marcelo Caballero Torres spoke in an interview with Trend News on
the eve of Liberation Day and the anniversary of the victory of the
revolution – January 1.
Q.: How can you characterize the relations between the two countries.
What is the potential of their development?
A.: Cuba is not the only Latin American country represented in
Azerbaijan. The Brasilian Embassy in Baku has been recently set up. It
is a sign of developing relations between Azerbaijan and Latin America.
How can the relations between our countries be characterized? Since
the establishment of diplomatic relations April 10, 1992, our friendly
relations become stronger.
Even in the most difficult 1990 Azerbaijan did not vote against Cuba.
In 1993, Azerbaijan was the only CIS country, which has supported
Cuba in the matter of the blockade.
In September 2006, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov
paid an official visit to Cuba. That time a decision was made
to increase the level of diplomatic representations between our
countries. In April 2007, the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan to
the UN Agshin Mehdiyev has been concurrently accredited as ambassador
to Cuba. In October 2007, Azerbaijan has appointed temporary charge
d’affaires in Havana. Cuba established its Embassy in Baku. It should
be noted that time they became the first diplomatic representations
for both countries in corresponding regions – Azerbaijan’s one
in Latin America and the Caribbean and Cuba’s one in the Southern
Caucasus. From that moment, the Azerbaijani-Cuban relations began
to fully develop. The example are the meetings held between the
governmental delegations and signing of the agreements and the projects
Q.: At what level are the economic ties between the two countries,
especially the volume of turnover? What spheres have a wide potential
to expand cooperation?
A.: With regard to economic relations, there is dissatisfaction with
the level of these relations from both sides. They are insufficient.
They do not correspond to the potential of both countries and discord
with the level of political relations. Turnover between us is poor.
Much work should be done in this direction. A working mechanism of
the inter-governmental joint commission on cooperation between the two
countries has been acting since 2007 to correct this problem. So far,
we have already held two sessions. We have signed three important
agreements on cooperation in the fields of culture, tourism and
sports. Over 10 agreements on cooperation in such fields as energy,
health, communication and agriculture are under signing.
Cuba is interested in equipment and machinery produced in Azerbaijan.
At present, about 70 percent of the equipment used by Cuba in oil
industry, have been made in Azerbaijan. We are also interested in
food and agricultural products. Other possible areas of cooperation
include communication, health, Cuban medicines.
With regard to the spheres of mutual interest, their number is
sufficient. The most prospective spheres in our economic relations
are tourism, oil and gas and information sectors, pharmacology and
health care, education, sports and other areas. I reiterate that one
should actively introduce and bring together facilities producing
goods and services. In this regard, participation in various fairs
and economic forums can play an invaluable role.
The third session of the Joint Commission will be held in Havana
in early March 2010. During the session a new impetus will be given
to the important economic and trade relations. Days of Azerbaijan’s
Culture in Cuba will be also held within this activity. This fact is
an example of good bilateral relations between our countries.
Regarding with modern Azerbaijan-Cuba relations, one can say with
confidence that they develop successfully. Both countries have achieved
much for the last years. Cuba knows well about success achieved by
Azerbaijan in social-economic development, as well as a significant
role and authority of the country in the foreign policy.
>From its side, Cuba is a traditionally important country of the
region. It has great authority among the countries of the so-called
‘third world’. A level of political cooperation between our countries
is high. Regular meetings and consultations between the foreign
ministries of both countries are being held. Our countries successfully
cooperate within different international organizations.
Azerbaijan supports Cuba’s position voting for the resolution
condemning the U.S embargo towards Cuba. It is seriously affected,
especially, on ordinary Cuban people.
Q.: There are two critical topics for our countries, including
occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia and the U.S embargo towards
Cuba. Is Havana satisfied with a cooperation level of both countries
on the international arena to solve these problems?
A.: We will be glad when two these problems you have mentioned are
solved. At present, a concrete situation is the following: Cuba
supports and recognizes Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. It calls
on immediate return of territories occupied by Armenia and rapid
solving the Karabakh conflict peacefully within territorial integrity
of Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan strictly adheres to its position
towards economic and financial blockade. The U.S administration has
been conducting it against our country more than 50 years.
Q.: Cuban medicine has got the world recognition. What are the plans
for the development of cooperation with Azerbaijan in this field?
A.: In 2008, two Cuban medical delegations visited Baku to study the
market and consider services and products of biotechnology from Cuba.
Previously, an intensive exchange of information on health systems
of both countries has been already held. Are there specific results?
Unfortunately, there are not any results at this moment.
Q.: January 1 is Liberation Day and the anniversary of the victory
of the Revolution. Please, tell us about this important date.
A.: Liberation Day – the anniversary of the victory of the revolution
of 1959 is celebrated in Cuba on the first of January.
There are some historical facts:
March 10, 1952. Early morning commander-in-chief of Batista’s Army
gave a note to the Cuban President Prio Socarras: "This is the end
for you! I am the government!". It was the beginning of his reign,
which was marked by a ruthless dictatorship.
The dictator immediately began to act decisively. He ceased effect
of the constitution, disbanded the Congress, broke off diplomatic
relations with the Soviet Union, canceled the presidential elections
planned for June that year. According to all forecasts, the opposition
was to win.
July 26, 1953. The majority of Cubans did not support actions of
Batista, especially the radically-minded youth. The leader was a
twenty-five-year-old lawyer, Fidel Castro. In his struggle against
the dictatorial regime, he was unbending.
A preparation for the first assault was made about a year. On July
25, 1953 about 165 patriots in an attempt to seize weapons stormed
the Moncada military barracks. But forces were unequal.
The governmental troops exceeded them 15 times. They managed to
capture many of them. Many participants of the assault were killed.
Fidel Castro was imprisoned for 15 years, his brother Raul – for
May 12, 1955 – prisoner No 4914, Fidel Castro, leaving the prison,
told journalists of the newspapers, radio and television: "We will
not give a single part of our honor for the freedom give to us."
November 25, 1956. Released rebels settled in Mexico, where they began
to prepare a new rebellion. "The Movement July 26" was created. Rebels
bought a relatively small pleasure craft yacht "Granma". On November
25, 1956 at 2 a.m. this too crowded boat moved from the Mexican port
of Tuxpan to the shores of Cuba. There were 82 men on board (Ernesto
Che Guevara was among them, later he became a famous Argentine doctor),
90 guns, 3 machine guns and 2 anti-guns.
Only 22 revolutionaries reached the designated place, including Fidel
Castro and Che Guevara.
1957-1959. Castro’s popularity was increasing quickly. The local
population has rendered much aid to the surviving detachment by giving
them food and informing about the movement of the governmental troops
in the mountains, giving guides to patriots.
The fight of insurgents was gradually turned into a struggle of
people against the military-police regime. "The movement July 26"
has become a national patriotic organization.
On December 31, 1959 the dictator organized a New Year reception.
"They clinked glasses. Batista was theatrical to the last minute. He
closed the New Year ceremony in his usual manner saying: "Hi! Hello!",
a witness recalled.
On the night of January 1, Batista run. A whole line of cars headed
for the heavily guarded military airfield. There were four aircrafts
waiting for the dictator and his entourage.
Speaking at a meeting, Fidel Castro said the triumph of the revolution
does not mean an immediate solution of all Cuba’s problems, as well
as "what each of us will have now and in future life will be just
a cakewalk for us. "We only won the right to begin on January 1!,
leader of the revolution said.