Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, then president of the Councils of State and Ministers, on April 27, 2017, received His Excellency Mr. Danny Faure, President of the Republic of Seychelles, on an official visit to Cuba. Photo: Estudio Revolución

To bring together those who share fraternal feelings of solidarity with Cuba, on December 21, 2018, the Friends of Cuba Association (ADEC) was founded in the Seychelles Islands, with the purpose of carrying out activities to commemorate historical dates, disseminate the Revolution’s achievements, and support the Cuban people in their struggles.

This was reported to Granma International by Seychellois MP Simon Joachim Gill, adjunct general secretary of the United Seychelles Party and president of the solidarity organization, which will include all those interested in Cuba’s reality. They will promote trips to the island and participate in the solidarity brigades organized by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples.

“Cuba is very dear to the Seychelles. The two governments share common ideas in terms of improving living conditions in their countries. There is agreement on the fight against imperialism and support for progressive forces that want a better life for the population. For us, the figures of José Martí, Che Guevara, and Fidel Castro arouse sentiments and passions. They have been heroes and references in our struggle for national sovereignty,” he added.As part of the Pan African Parliament, Gill is committed to mobilizing members of that body to draft a resolution against the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba, which has taken on new dimensions with the activation of the Helms-Burton Act’s Title III. “I am going to propose this topic to the Assembly that we will hold soon in Johannesburg, South Africa,” he said.He also pointed out that the ADEC has established different specialized committees which will carry out various activities, including efforts to popularize Cuban culture, mainly with the teaching of the Spanish language, dance, and music, which are much admired in the country.More than 60 Cuban collaborators on these Indian Ocean islands are working in the sectors of health, science, sports, and agriculture; while more than 300 young people from the Seychelles have graduated as professionals from Cuban universities, and today contribute to the economic development of their nation.MEMORIES OF A LASTING FRIENDSHIPSimon Joachim Gill also studied in Cuba from 1986 through 1990: “I learned the Spanish language. I came not speaking a word and, within six months, I was writing, reading, and speaking the language. During my first year, I started a research project on the ideological value of Che Guevara’s example. At the end of my studies, I received a Gold Diploma for my grade point average of 4.80 (on a scale of five), and in recognition of my dedication to study. I defended my thesis on the Seychelles’ foreign policy in the context of the Indian Ocean.”For him, this was a tremendous experience, strengthening his revolutionary ideas, which he now shares with other compatriots interested in traveling to the island. Gill commented that his greatest interest in the newly created organization is to participate more directly in the just causes defended by Cuba in the international arena.At present, the Association includes a large number of Seychellois graduates from Cuban universities, but they are looking to expand their membership. “We will mobilize all the people in my country who want to join in supporting the Revolution,” Gill stressed.Douglass Harry Accouche, who is also a Board Member of the Association of Friends of Cuba and studied in Cuba, shares the same opinion: “Cuba is very important to me and that is why I want to give my full support to the continued progress of the Revolution.”Previously there was an organization similar to the current one, but it no longer functions, and for that reason, this group took on the task of putting together another with more comprehensive goals in terms of attracting a greater number of supporters who live in other cities.“The ADEC is based in Victoria, the capital, but is focused on creating a national structure, so that residents in other provinces can participate. Many thank Cuban doctors for their health and express their affection for this people,” Accouche explained.His spouse, Lalatiana Accouche, also attended university in Havana and worked for many years in the Seychelles Foreign Ministry as a specialist in Cuban affairs. She has met young people studying here and many Cuban professionals working in her country, and noted, “I have many friends linked to this Caribbean nation.”“When I met with groups of young people who were coming here, I told them about where they were going. I shared my own experience with them, and discussed the advantages of attending university in Cuba. I always warned them that it would not be easy, but that, in the end, you feel so much love, you don’t want to return. I advised them to visit as many places as they could, and get to know Cubans,” she said.Lalatiana currently serves as the Chargé d’affaires at the Seychelles diplomatic mission in Havana, and stressed that she was very happy when she was offered the opportunity to work here, since her greatest aspiration was to return and be useful. For this reason, her friends and acquaintances call her “La Cubanita.”

IN CONTEXT: - Cuba and the Seychelles Islands established diplomatic relations on April 12, 1978.- Danny Faure, President of the Republic of Seychelles, made an official visit to Cuba in April of 2017, when he inaugurated his country’s Embassy here, the first of this African country in Latin America and the Caribbean.- The two nations maintain close collaboration in the field of medical care, especially the control of diseases and pests, as well as in sports and culture, and economic and social arenas.- According to official data, through April of 2017, more than 200 young people from Seychelles have studied in Cuban universities and other educational centers. President Danny Faure himself graduated in Cuba with a degree in Political Science, in 1985. (Sources: Granma and PL)