Nelspruit, South Africa 15-17 January 2024
By Iraklis Tsavdaridis, Executive Secretary WPC
Distinguished Comrades from the Organizing Committee and the Friends Of Cuba Society (FOCUS)
Esteemed Comrades from the ANC, the SACP and COSATU
Dear Comrades of the Cuban Delegation of the ICAP and its president Fernando Gonzalez Llort
Dear Comrades and friends from all corners of Africa, friends of Cuba and its Revolution
It is an extraordinary pleasure to be amongst you today here in South Africa to be part of
the big gathering of Solidarity Movements and Groups from the African continent. On behalf of the
World Peace Council, the biggest International Organisation of Peace Movements we convey our
militant fraternal anti-imperialist peace greetings to all of you.
The South African organizers of this conference deserve our respect and congratulations for
their unlimited solidarity on the side of the Cuban Revolution, the Cuban People since the
beginning, 65 years ago.
Allow me above all to express here our heartfelt grief for the loss of one great son of South
Africa, a dedicated champion and internationalist, a special friend of the Cuban Revolution who
passed away one year ago. Chris Matlhako, our brother, comrade and friend was a leading figure
of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and a Member of the WPC Secretariat. His legacy
will always be with us in the struggles for a world without imperialist wars and exploitation!
From our youth times we have learned from our South African friends not only about the
glorious struggles and sacrifices in the times of Apartheid in order to achieve freedom and
democracy in South Africa but also about the political and internationalist struggle hand in hand
with other African peoples against their colonial oppressors. The Cuban people, its selfless
internationalist contribution in many levels and the presence of sons of daughters of Fidel on
African soil played a decisive role without which the liberation of so many countries would not have
been achieved. The historical battle of Cuito Canavale (1987/1988), with the internationalist
support of the Soviet Union, Cuba and the common efforts of the ANC and SWAPO Namibia
marked a milestone for the liberation not only of Angola, but paved the way for many others.
Having had the privilege to be part of the Observer process for the first free elections in
South Africa in April 1994, almost thirty (30) years ago, I learned that the Freedom in political
terms, which was achieved with the overwhelming victory of the ANC then and with the abolition of
the Apartheid since then, will not bring complete democracy and social justice in a country unless
also injustice, exploitation and poverty will be abolished.
Dear Comrades and Friends
These days the South African government took an honorable initiative to file a case at the
International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel for committing Genocide against the Palestinian
People. We hail this initiative and appreciate it highly. It reflects not only the will and feelings of the
South African people but also the legacy of the founding President Nelson Mandela who always
underlined that South Africa’s freedom will be always incomplete without the freedom of Palestine.
From South Africa we denounce the ongoing massacres of the Israeli occupation army
committed for more than 100 days in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, the indiscriminately killing of
almost 24.000 Palestinians, majority women and children, the destruction of houses, infrastructure,
mosques and churches, hospitals and schools etc. We appreciate likewise the strong stand and
support of this initiative of South Africa by the Revolutionary government of Cuba and its people.
We condemn the support the USA and its allies are providing to the Israeli war machine with the
pretext of Israel’s right to self-defense.
Cuba and its people have celebrated recently 65 years of the triumph of the Revolution.
Cuba, a country which defends with dignity and pride its achievements and its right to decide alone
and freely about its fortunes. Cuba is facing the cruelest economical, financial and commercial
blockade by the USA and its successive administrations, regardless to which party the resident of
the White House belongs. The US administration imposes hundreds of sanctions and measures on
Cuba in order to asphyxiate and strangle the economy and the daily life of Cubans with the hope
that the people will revolt against its elected and legitimate government in Cuba. But Cuba stands
on its feet, firm and proud, despite the existing difficulties for its people. Cuba is championing in
the field of internationalist and humanitarian aid with doctors, nurses, medicine and vaccines
where others are sending bombs. Cuba is defending its achievements and despite the blockade, it
is expanding them.
The island of the Revolution remains always a shining example for the peoples of Latin
America and of the entire world, a source of inspiration for the just causes of so many peoples in
We demand the unconditional lifting of the Blockade against Cuba, the removal of Cuba
from the list of states sponsoring terrorism and the shutdown of the US Basis in Guantanamo with
the return of the territory to its real owner, the Cuban people.
Dear Comrades and Friends, fellow fighters for a World of Peace
Cuba stood always on the side of the African peoples, of the African Nations who faced the
occupation, the colonial oppression, the plunder and theft of their richness and their resources.
Being today in South Africa we would never miss to mention and to highlight the last and almost
forgotten case of colonialism in Africa, the case of the just cause of the Western Sahara. The
people of Western Sahara, the Democratic Arab Republic of Sahara is facing since 50 years the
brutal Moroccan occupation of its territories, the oppression and deprivation of its right to self-
determination as provided by the UN resolutions. The WPC stands in Solidarity with the people of
Western Sahara, with the Polissario Front for its right to its own state as a result of a free and fair
referendum under the UN. We know and appreciate highly the firm and principled support of the
Cuban revolution also to this noble cause.
The World Peace Council is completing this year 75 years of struggle on the side of the Poor and
the Oppressed. From South Africa, the symbol of African peoples, we call upon the Organisations
present to join efforts and voices with the WPC, to work together with us in the WPC which had in
the early 1990s the privilege to have a South African comrade as our President, Albertina Sisulu, a
genuine leader of the ANC, to whom we pay our respect and recognition.
Long Live Cuba! Long Live Palestine! Long Live Western Sahara!
Long live the African peoples struggling for their just causes!A Luta Continua! Amandla///
The speech can be viewed here: