The contact and friendship between the two peoples of China and Cuba have a long history. As early as the period of Cuba's two independence wars, the heroic deeds of Chinese nationals in Cuba who fought side by side with the Cuban people had been deeply engraved in the latter's hearts. On the tablet of merits of overseas Chinese in Havana were written with these words, "There is not a single deserter, nor a traitor among the Chinese in Cuba", this was the highest praise and honor granted by the Cuban people to the vast number of overseas Chinese for their fearless heroic spirit and mettle and it has become the eternal symbol of the friendship between the Chinese and Cuban peoples.
On January 1, 1959, the Cuban people fought bloody battles under the leadership of Fidel Castro and finally overthrew the reactionary dictatorship of Batista that had ruled Cuba for decades, and established a brand new people's government. In a bid to woo Cuba, the Chiang Kai-shek clique declared on January 7 recognition of the new Cuban government. The Cuban government and people, however, deeply felt that only the government of the People's Republic of China could really represent the Chinese people, so they determinedly severed "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan and thus made Cuba become the first country in the Western Hemisphere, that recognized New China.
The Chinese government and people have always sympathized with and supported Cuba's just cause of opposing foreign intervention and defending national independence and State sovereignty. In 1961 when US mercenaries invaded Cuba, the Chinese people were burning with mounting public indignation, they held rallies and staged demonstrations, voicing support for the Cuban people's struggle. The Chinese government published a satement, voicing "firm support for the Cuban people's just struggle in defense of their motherland and resolutely opposing the criminal acts of US imperialist armed invasion of Cuba."
As is well known, due to special reasons, twists and difficulties once emerged in Sino-Cuban relations. In 1989, the exchange of visits between the foreign ministers of the two countries led to the comprehensive restoration of bilateral relations. Between the late 80s and early
90s when Eastern Europe experienced radical changes and the Soviet Union disintegrated, Cuba also sustained serious impact, taking advantage of this opportunity, the United States intensified its blockade and sanctions against Cuba in an attempt to undermine socialist Cuba at one stroke. However, the Cuban people, under the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party with President Fidel Castro at the core, stood up to foreign intervention, blockade and embargo and overcame various difficulties, bringing the economy on to the path of rehabilitation and recording tremendous achievements. The Chinese government and people extended help as best as they could to Cuba. The Cuban government and people have always firmly supported China on the issues such as human rights, Taiwan, Tibet and China's accession to the WTO. At present, top leaders of the two countries frequently visit each other, their friendly cooperation and exchanges in political, economic, cultural, military and other fields have continued to expand; in international affairs, the two sides support each other and conduct close cooperation.
In November 1993, after attending the unofficial conference of the APEC leaders held in Seattle, President Jiang Zemin paid a short visit to Cuba, so the head of State of China stepped for the first time on to Cuba, known as the "Caribbean Pearl". The Cuban government paid great attention to the visit of President Jiang and gave him a grand reception, Party, government and military leaders at or above the ministerial level all went to greet him, the masses numbering 10,000 at the airport, along the road and in front of the guesthouse, accorded him a warm welcome. President Fidel Castro personally granted President Jiang the Marti Medal, the highest medal of the Cuban State. Two years later, i.e., in November 1995, President Fidel Castro realized his long-cherished wish when he paid a State visit to China where he was accorded a grand welcome by the Chinese people. On the ancient Great Wall, he highly praised the glorious history made by the Chinese people, in the rapidly developing Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, he saw the hope of China. That was President Fidel Catro's first China visit, President Jiang Zemin first conducted three-hour talks with him in the Great Hall of the People. During President Fidel Castro's visit to Shenzhen, President Jiang once again had a meeting with him. The two leaders have since forged profound friendship. The Sino-Cuban relations of friendly cooperation have also entered a new period of stable and all-round development.
Along with the arrival of the mew century, Sino-Cuban relations have welcomed in a broader prospect for development.
China attaches great attention to developing friendly and cooperative relations with Cuba and wishes to advance hand in hand with the Cuban people and jointly open up a better future and make still greater contribution to world peace and development. Wish Sino-Cuban friendhip last s long as the universe!
(This article is written by Yi Chu in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Sino-Cuban diplomatic ties.)
(People's Daily 09/29/2000)