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  • Sahrawi women chant songs of independence.

    Sahrawi women chant songs of independence. | Photo: EFE

Published 2 June 2017
Opinion

Having established diplomatic relations in 1980, Sahrawi and Cuba continue the historic work that have strengthened ties between the two nations.

On Friday, Esteban Lazo, President of the Cuban National Assembly, reiterated the island nation's solidarity and support of the self-determination of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, SADR (or Western Sahara), and their fight for independence.

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Prensa Latina reported that Lazo met with Brahim Ghali, president of the African nation. During the meeting, Lazo explained that the Cuban Legislature was preparing to create a friendship group with SADR at its next session. The impetus of the group is to further consolidate ties between the two states.

Ghali expressed his gratitude for the Cuban government's support, especially the solidarity they've shown by sending healthcare workers and educators.

WATCH: Sahrawi children go to a school provided by Cuba and Venezuela

Cuban President Raul Castro also met with Ghali during his visit to Havana.

Having established diplomatic relations in 1980, both leaders agreed to continue the historic work that have strengthened ties between the two nations.

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Born in Smara, Western Sahara, Ghali fought alongside revolutionary leader Sid Brahim Basiri for the liberation of Sahrawi from Spanish colonialism. When Franco's dictatorship fell in 1975, Morocco moved in to occupy and annex the region.

Since then, Morocco has occupied most of the Western Saharan territory. Until a United Nations-brokered cease-fire came into force in the early 1990s, Morocco faced an armed uprising across Western Sahara, led by the Indigenous independence movement, the Polisario Front. Today, a thin strip of the territory's eastern desert is administered by the Polisario.

Under the U.N. cease-fire, both Morocco and SADR agreed to work towards holding a referendum of self-determination across the territory, though the Sahrawi people have long accused Morocco of backpedaling on that pledge.

WATCH: Western Sahara Wall, a symbol of colonialism

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