Gilma Gómez Oliveros, coordinator of the delegation, noted that the group has traveled to the island to offer a message of gratitude to Cuba for its efforts in the Colombian peace talks. Photo: Karoly Emerson (ICAP)

Gratitude to Cuba for its efforts in supporting the Colombian peace talks was expressed by a delegation from the South American nation visiting the island, during a meeting held at the Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples (ICAP) in Havana.

They also expressed their sadness on learning of the death of Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, November 25, 2016, and recalled the 90th anniversary of the birth of Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, an eternal friend of the Cuban people and their historic leader.

Gilma Gómez Oliveros, coordinator of the delegation, noted that they have traveled to the island as activists, representatives of solidarity groups, and especially members of the Corporación José Martí Pérez.

In addition they brought a message from Colombian Senator Iván Cepeda Castro, of the Alternative Democratic Pole party, and from the House of Representatives Deputy of the same political organization, Alirio Uribe Muñoz, who emphasized the contribution of the Cuban Revolution to achieving peace and social justice in the world.

Gómez Oliveros noted: “We are happy to be in Cuba, happy to come with people who are visiting the Caribbean island for the first time. We want them to come to know this society and be bearers of the teachings that its people offer. We undertake solidarity not only for Cuba, but for our own country, so that every day we know that other worlds are possible.”

She added that the delegation is composed of people from different professions and the program of activities began with a visit to the San Antonio de los Baños International School of Film and Television, in the province Artemisa, to learn about the legacy of Gabriel García Márquez on the island.

Gómez Oliveros also indicated that the group will visit Santa Efigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba, to pay tribute to José Martí and Fidel Castro, as inspiring leaders of Latin American and Caribbean independence struggles.

Members of the Colombian delegation paid tribute to Fidel Castro and writer Gabriel García Márquez, on the 90th anniversary of his birth. Photo: Karoly Emerson

During their tour of the island, they will speak to the Cuban people, intellectuals, and leaders of political and mass organizations of the country, as their greatest interest is to be nourished with knowledge and energy to contribute to the building of a lasting peace in Colombia.

“We are very grateful to Fidel,” noted Gómez Oliveros, “for the opportunity to bring hope to many peoples of the world. We are inspired by his example and defend the Cuban social process, because it offers encouragement for our countries. We know that despite difficulties, when there is unity of political forces, when there are dreams, political training, the people can achieve their self-determination and freedom.”

Another member of the delegation, mechanical engineer Daniel Orjuela Delgado, reported that from a very young age he has been involved with organizations working in solidarity with Cuba, due to the example that the island offers in resisting imperialism and global capitalism.

He hopes that his fellow delegation members learn from the Cuban reality, because the bourgeois media of his country only distorts the truth and works to shape public opinion that a non-capitalist society is impossible.

Orjuela Delgado noted: “We are aware that Cubans live with dignity. Here they are guaranteed free and quality education, medical coverage for one hundred percent of the population, there is mass access to culture and sports. This is the example we have witnessed since the triumph of the Revolution and that is what we transmit to the Colombian people.”

Meanwhile, teacher Melba Rincón Suárez explained that she has participated in several Pedagogy conferences on the island, held every two years, during which the achievements in this sector are demonstrated, and noted that she admires how teaching processes are conducted in Cuba.

She added: “I hope to continue the teachings received on this island and to the same extent devote our efforts to the Cuban people, who teach us how to direct emancipatory causes. We are committed to working to build peace in our country.”

Members of the Colombian delegation paid tribute to Fidel Castro and writer Gabriel García Márquez, on the 90th anniversary of his birth. Photo: Karoly Emerson (ICAP)

Lawyer Luz Nancy García offered a similar view, stressing that the Cuban people offer an example of the struggle against imperialism, which subjects peoples across the world to neoliberal policies of poverty, oppression, and disrespect for the most basic human rights.

She explained that the idea of joining this delegation came after Fidel’s death. Hundreds of Colombians spontaneously flocked to the Cuban Embassy in that country and hoped to organize a special charter flight to accompany the Cuban people during the funeral activities. Although this initiative was not possible, they committed to visit the island later.

She concluded: “All those of us who admire the work of Fidel, those members of left organizations and those who embraced the ideas of social change, we feel very sad. We feel as if we have been left orphaned without a father, and that the great guiding light has left us; it is the loss of a great, intelligent man, but we equally believe that he left us the genius of his work. With that seed we are going to take over the world.”