Update:  GMT+7

Quang Tri commemorates 50 years of President Fidel Castro’s visit

A ceremony was held on September 26 to commemorate 50 years of the day the late Cuban President Fidel Castro visited the liberated region in Quang Tri Province.

Le Quang Tung, Secretary of the Quang Tri Provincial Party Committee, said that the Vietnamese people will never forget the Cuban president’s quote “For Vietnam, Cuba is willing to shed its blood!”, and the image of the first and only foreign leader to come to Vietnam during the war.

For his entire career, President Fidel mentioned Vietnam in nearly 100 speeches, and made three visits to Vietnam, he said.

Quang Tri commemorates 50 years of President Fidel Castro’s visit

Le Quang Tung, Secretary of the Quang Tri Provincial Party Committee, delivers his remarks at the ceremony. Photo: Duc Viet

“Despite dangers, President Fidel made his historic visit to Quang Tri in September 1973 to see the brave Vietnamese people and soldiers. His visit was a great momentum and motivation for the people of Quang Tri and Vietnam to fight and strive for the national unification,” Tung said.

During his trip, President Fidel arrived at Thach Han River, where the battle still continued and dangers were all over the place. He walked from Dong Ha Bridge to the west to see the bunkers and weapons left behind by the enemy, and witness hard-working people to rebuild their homes after war.

President Fidel Castro also visited Base 241 in Cam Thanh Commune and the headquarters of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam in Cam Lo District. He also stopped by Doc Mieu military base in Gio Linh District, where the US army set up the electronic barrier McNamara Line.

To forever remember the Cuban president and his affection for Vietnamese people, and to strengthen the ties between the two nations, Quang Tri Province in 2018 unveiled the Fidel Central Park in Dong Ha City. This is the first park that is named after the Cuban leader.

At the 37th meeting of the Vietnam-Cuba Intergovernmental Committee in 2019, the Cuban Ministry of Health and Quang Tri Province signed a cooperative agreement to develop a comprehensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Cuba, and between Quang Tri Province and Cuban government agencies in health sector. The two sides will carry out joint programs and activities in health, education and training, and sciences.

In April 2023, during the visit of the National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue to Cuba, Quang Tri and Holguin, the home province to the late President Fidel, inked a Memorandum of Understanding to develop their decentralized relations.

Quang Tri commemorates 50 years of President Fidel Castro’s visit

Truong Thi Mai, Chairwoman of the Party Central Committee’s Organization Commission, delivers her speech at the ceremony. Photo: Duc Viet

On the occasion, Quang Tri donated Holguin some US$50,000 so that the latter can perform its socio-economic growth tasks. Quang Tri is also the must-visit site for Cuban officials and delegates when they arrive in Vietnam.

In May 2023, Cuba’s National Coordinator Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo arrived at all the places where the late President Fidel came 50 years ago.

“Quang Tri people and authorities are working to develop a prosperous province, to be worth the affection of President Fidel, and to lift the Vietnam-Cuban friendship,” the provincial party chief said.

“We hope that the Cuban Communist Party and the Cuban Government will launch new cooperative programs with Vietnam and Quang Tri Province in the fields of healthcare, tourism, and education and training,” Tung said.

Speaking at the meeting, Truong Thi Mai, Chairwoman of the Party Central Committee’s Organization Commission, said that the commemoration ceremony is a chance to honor the special friendship between Vietnam and Cuba.

“Our relations have reached beyond ordinary limits. We together have gone through the toughest times in the history,” she said.

“We always keep in mind that Cuba has provided boundless, pure support for Vietnam despite difficulties,” Mai said.

Mai referred to thousands of Cuban engineers and workers that have assisted the Vietnamese, and even sacrificed on duty. Cuba has also trained thousands of Vietnamese students, and provided Vietnam with medical, food, and machinery support.

When Cuba was embargoed during the 1990s, and executed a socio-economic growth reform in 2011, Vietnam and Cuba have often shared with each other experiences and lessons in development.

Via the Vietnam-Cuba Intergovernmental Committee, Vietnam has provided Cuba with consistent, sufficient rice supplies, assisted the Latin nation in domestic food and fisher production, and got involved in other support and investment programs.

The two nations have remained important international allies for each other. Vietnam always stands for Cuba, and asks the US to lift the embargo on Cuba. The two sides have established close, insightful relations for both parties, governments, national assemblies, ministries, local authorities, and civil societies, and through meetings of the Vietnam-Cuba Intergovernmental Committee.

Quang Tri commemorates 50 years of President Fidel Castro’s visit

President of the National Assembly of People’s Power, Esteban Lazo Hernandez. Photo: Duc Viet

“Despite global uncertainties and adversities, the relations between Vietnam and Cuba have sustained through time. Both nations’ relationship has grown strongly and paves the way for us to carry on with our righteousness,” Mai said.

“Vietnam always takes Cuba in the highest regard. Cuba is a close comrade, a brother, and a faithful friend to Vietnam.”

At the meeting, President of the National Assembly of People’s Power, Esteban Lazo Hernandez, sent his regards to the Vietnamese Communist Party, the Vietnam Government, and the people for the commemoration ceremony, and for Vietnam’s support in the hardest times.

He said that Cuban people have always kept in mind the warm welcome and affection Vietnamese people had for President Fidel Castro when he visited Vietnam and Quang Tri Province.

Esteban recalled that President Fidel immediately took measures to support the Vietnamese for their recovery, including the construction of Thang Loi Hotel in Hanoi, the Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Hospital in Dong Hoi, and the Xuan Mai-Son Tay Route, and provided cattle and poultry breeds.

Cuba also sent specialists and machineries to help Vietnam build the Ho Chi Minh trails, on which the soldiers transported supplies to the South and claim the victory on April 30, 1975, he said.

Cuba will educate young generations about the friendship between the two nations, he said.

*The Vietnam News Agency and Quang Tri Province co-organized a photo exhibition titled “Vietnam-Cuba ...”, displaying 50 photos of President Fidel Castro, the great man and the great friend to the Vietnamese people, and of the visits that both governments and people have made to each other.

Quang Tri commemorates 50 years of President Fidel Castro’s visit

Vietnamese students receive awards for the painting contest. Photo: Duc Viet

The exhibition affirmed the persistent friendship between Vietnam and Cuba, stressing that even in the hardest times, the two nations will always support each other and share the target of advancing to the socialism.

Delegates at the meeting also watched the videos of President Fidel Castro when he visited Quang Tri’s liberated region in 1973.

On the occasion, the organization board awarded prizes to winners of the painting contest “Vietnam - Cuba children in solidarity” and showcased the most outstanding drawings to the public.

Duc Viet - Huy Anh

Duc Viet - Huy Anh

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