Vietnamese top legislator’s visit to Cuba reaffirms special ties: diplomats

April 17, 2023 - 14:24
Talking to the Vietnam News Agency, Ambassador Hernández Guillén stressed that Fidel Castro was the first and only foreign leader to visit Việt Nam during the war.
Cuba Ambassador to Việt Nam Orlando Nicolás Hernández Guillén in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The official visit to Cuba by National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vương Đình Huệ to Cuba carries significant importance as it is expected to enhance the special ties between the two nations in various areas, especially the relationship between respective parliamentary bodies, according to Cuba Ambassador to Việt Nam Orlando Nicolás Hernández Guillén and Chairman of the NA Committee for External Relations Vũ Hải Hà.

The trip from April 18, at the invitation of President of the National Assembly of the People’s Power of Cuba Esteban Lazo Hernández, takes place on the threshold of the 50th anniversary of Cuban leader Fidel Castro's visit to the liberated zone in South Việt Nam in Quảng Trị Province in September 1973, and 60 years since the establishment of the Cuban Committee for Solidarity with South Việt Nam (September 25, 1963).

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency, Ambassador Hernández Guillén stressed that Fidel Castro was the first and only foreign leader to do so.

The Cuban leader’s presence in Quảng Trị Province, located in the frontline between North and South Việt Nam then, just a few months after the Paris Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Việt Nam was signed in January 1973, and his immortal remark “For Việt Nam, Cuba is willing to shed its blood” became symbols of the close-knit and faithful solidarity and fraternity of the two peoples for the sake of peace, national independence, democracy, and progress in the world.

NA Chairman Huệ is scheduled to deliver a speech at the Cuban parliament on April 19, which will coincide with the anniversary of Cuba’s Giron Victory (April 19, 1961) and the opening of the 10th-tenure Cuban parliament’s first session after the parliamentary elections on March 26.

It will be a historical event only occurring because it is the Việt Nam-Cuba relationship, and bilateral ties are extremely special, according to the diplomat.

Fidel Castro, then First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba's Central Committee and Prime Minister of Cuba, holds the flag of the Khe Sanh Corps of the Trị Thiên-Huế liberation troops when visiting Quảng Trị Province on September 15, 1973. — VNA/VNS File Photo

The two countries boast fraternity, solidarity, and consistent mutual support during the struggle for independence, sovereignty safeguarding, and development, he noted, elaborating that Cuba supported Việt Nam’s fight for national liberation, and when it is facing difficulties at present, Việt Nam has also assisted to and shown its solidarity with the Cuban people.

Cuba and Việt Nam have many cooperation fields of economic complementarity. The Southeast Asian nation has supplied several essential commodities, especially rice, along with many technological products for Cuba, helping the Latin American country guarantee food security and stabilise equipment supply.

Meanwhile, Cuba also produces many world-famous products, including traditional ones like cigars and rum and products of the genetic, biological, and pharmaceutical technologies, Hernández Guillén went on.

Talking about parliamentary cooperation, he noted the two legislative bodies boast long-standing and extensive relations, via which Việt Nam can boost sharing development experience with Cuba.

During Chairman Huệ’s visit, the two sides will also discuss many cooperation areas and sign several important agreements, the diplomat added.

Ahead of the trip, Chairman of the NA Committee for External Relations Vũ Hải Hà said this reaffirms Việt Nam’s great attention to reinforcing and promoting the special solidarity and loyal friendship with Cuba and fostering cooperation between the two legislatures as well as the bilateral partnership in all fields.

Cuba was the first Latin American country to set up diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of Việt Nam (December 2, 1960) before Cuba's Proclamation of Socialist Character of the Revolution in 1961, which makes Cuba the first in the world to recognise the National Liberation Front of South Việt Nam and to accept the representative delegation from it (July 1962), as well as the first to send its ambassador to the front's Central Committee (March 1969).

In the past 63 years, the traditional relationship, with the foundation set by the late President Hồ Chí Minh and Chairman Fidel Castro, has been continually consolidated by generations of leaders and peoples of the two countries.

The relationship between the two Parties, States and peoples, is rare worldwide despite the far geographical distance. Cuba always holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Vietnamese people. Vietnamese people will always remember Cuban leader Fidel’s saying, “For Việt Nam, Cuba is willing to shed blood”, demonstrating a selfless sacrifice and brotherly affection, Hải remarked.

Amid the difficulties of the war, Cuba sent thousands of engineers, workers, doctors and experts to Việt Nam while helping train thousands of Vietnamese students, providing Việt Nam with a lot of equipment, materials, machinery, food and foodstuff, along with aids to Việt Nam to build five important socio-economic projects, most of which are still operating.

Over the past 60 years, the two nations have stood by each other during their struggles for independence and liberation as well as national construction and socialism building, the NA official said.

Although the world has seen many ups and downs, the traditional solidarity and special friendship between Việt Nam and Cuba continue to be promoted and strengthened in all channels substantially. In this, the Party-to-Party relations play the orienting role, reinforcing the mutual trust and political foundation for the comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

The two sides have regularly exchanged delegations and visits in various forms and at all levels, especially the high level. The Việt Nam-Cuba Trade Agreement took effect in April 2020, with many new trade preferential policies, creating favourable conditions for the import-export activities between the two countries.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in May 2020, the Vietnamese NA presented 30,000 masks to the Cuban NA, along with IT equipment, to enhance the operational efficiency of the Cuban NA. The two NAs have established their Friendship with Parliamentarian Groups with each other.

Regarding the message that NA Chairman Huệ will extend in his speech at the Cuban NA, Hà said that the leader would reaffirm the solidarity with the Cuban people and support the economic updating process of Cuba, and share Việt Nam’s experience during its “Đổi mới” (Renewal) cause, affirming that the two countries will stay close to each other for independence, freedom, peace and development in each country.

Hà said that Huệ’s upcoming visit will be the highest-level visit to Cuba and the Latin American region in 2023, aiming to realise the foreign policies announced at the 13th National Party Congress. He will be the first foreign leader to visit Cuba after the country elects the new NA, Hà added. — VNS

National Assembly Chairman Vương Đình Huệ receives Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz in Hà Nội on September 29, 2022. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn