The strong and deep-rooted ties between Vietnam and Cuba

WVR - During his visit to Vietnam (September 24-28), President of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba Esteban Lazo Hernandez returned to the historic site of Quang Tri, where 50 years ago, Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro visited Liberation Zone of South Vietnam, to see a strong and long-lasting Vietnam-Cuba camaraderie bond.
Tổng Bí thư Nguyễn Phú Trọng tiếp Chủ tịch Quốc hội Cuba Esteban Lazo Hernandez. (Nguồn: TTXVN)
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong receives President of the National Assembly of People's Power of Cuba Esteban Lazo Hernandez. (Photo: VNA)

Five decades have passed, President Fidel Castro's immortal words "For Vietnam we are ready to shed our blood" are forever remembered in every generation of Vietnamese, like the lines of poetry in the poem "From Cuba" by Poet To Huu still touches people's hearts...

On September 27 afternoon, during the reception for the Cuban National Assembly leader, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong emphasized that this visit to Vietnam by President of the National Assembly of People's Power Esteban Lazo Hernandez is of historically great significance, reaffirming the historical importance of and the great encouragement from Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro's visit to the Liberation Zone of South Vietnam (September, 1973 - 2023) with the immortal words "For Vietnam, we are ready to shed our blood."

Walking in historical footsteps

Every road and bridge on the sunny and windy land of Quang Tri province nowadays recalls the friendly and faithful relationship between Vietnam and Cuba. On this land, 50 years ago, the Cuban revolutionary leader was the "main character" of a memorable victory, the one who was talking to the Division 304 (Victory Division) right at Peak 241 that used to be the enemy's impenetrable Cam Lo military base.

History remains intact on the journey of Leader Fidel. That journey came alive again when National Assembly President Esteban Lazo Hernandez and a high-ranking Cuban delegation visited Hien Luong Bridge, the Museum of the Special National Relic Area on the banks of Hien Luong - Ben Hai River, and the Headquarters Relic Area of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam in Cam Loc district, and especially at the warm and solemn Grand Celebration of the 50th anniversary of Leader Fidel Castro's visit to Vietnam and the Liberation Zone of the Southern Vietnam.

It must be the most special visit to Vietnam by President of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba Esteban Lazo Hernandez though this is his fourth visit to the South Asian country. Everyone have been touched emotionally when the Chairman of the Cuban National Assembly and the high-ranking delegation arrived at the places where Leader Fidel had visited with Prime Minister Pham Van Dong despite Vietnamese leaders had persuaded Fidel not to go because of risks. The historic site reminded all the participants the moment when Cuban President hugged the heroic soldiers who always believed in victory, said to them that the most steadfast support, admiration and affection of Cuban people were at their sides.

“When it comes to the exemplary brotherly relationship between Cuba and Vietnam, the image of President Fidel joyfully raising the flag of the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam at the High Peak 241, just a few kilometers from the enemy, has become immortal", National Assembly President Esteban Lazo Hernandez said.

50 years ago, the Cuban leader visited many places in the liberated area of Quang Tri province when this land still smelled of gunpowder and was full of bombs and bullets. Many places that Leader Fidel Castro visited were only more than 10 km from the southern bank of the Thach Han River, a place where the enemy was still temporarily occupied at that time. Yet, when returning from that dangerous place, the Cuban Revolutionary exclaimed: "Thank you Vietnam, thank you a thousand times!".

Chủ tịch nước Võ Văn Thưởng tiếp Chủ tịch Quốc hội Cuba Esteban Lazo Hernández. (Ảnh: Anh Sơn)
President Vo Van Thuong receives President of the Cuban National Assembly of People's Power Esteban Lazo Hernández. (Photo: WVR/Anh Son)

Both countries will certainly never forget that historic visit. As Politburo member and Permanent Secretary of the Secretariat Truong Thi Mai said at the ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Fidel's visit to Quang Tri, the historic visit left a deep mark in the history of relations between the two countries, surpassing diplomatic practice and has become a great encouragement for the just struggle of the people of South Vietnam in the new period. The visit has also become a source of strong encouragement for the Vietnamese Revolution, a symbol of revolutionary socialism and the pure and noble international solidarity of Cuba and Vietnam, she stated.

Vietnam is always beside Cuba

Though Vietnam and Cuba are half a world and half a time zone apart, the hearts of the Vietnamese and Cuban people still beat in the same rhythm, always looking towards each other with loyalty, sincerity, overcoming difficulties together and remaining confident into the light of the future. Just as President of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba Esteban Lazo Hernandez commented during his visit: "The brotherly atmosphere created from the very beginning of our relationship has consoslidated the long-lasting nature of our friendship."

During the discussions, Vietnamese leaders expressed their gratitude for the the sincere support and assistance of Cuba extended to Vietnam in every stage of development over the past time and affirmed that Vietnam always supports Cuba's cause of national construction and development.

If 50 years ago, on the S-shaped strip of land, there were men bending over to load bullets, women carrying rice on their shoulders, old men gathering grain in the forest to feed the soldiers, and children cutting bamboo shoots for meals, in their schoosl with no walls or chairs... (images mentioned by Leader Fidel during his visit to Vietnam), then 50 years later, as National Assembly President Esteban Lazo Hernandez mentioned, Vietnam has change in “flesh and skin", realizing President Ho Chi Minh's dream of a "dignified and more beautiful" Vietnam.

In such a nature, that is why, sharing and supporting Cuba to overcome difficulties and challenges caused by embargoes, natural disasters as well as negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic is always of Vietnam's concern. The Party, State and people of Vietnam always looks towards Cuba. State President Vo Van Thuong affirmed "Vietnam’s unwavering commitment to supporting and cooperating with Cuba' at the reception for the guest from the "island of fire, island of passion".

The President also stated that Việt Nam has always stood by Cuba and is ready to share its experiences and lessons learned from the reform to help Cuba ensure food security and promote production. Vietnamese businesses are now increasingly interseted in investing in Cuba in many fields.

Trade and investment cooperation between Vietnam and Cuba has gained positive results. In terms of trade cooperation, Vietnam is currently Cuba's second largest Asian trade partner. Regarding investment cooperation, Vietnam is Asia's largest foreign investor in Cuba with five implemented projects. To create momentum, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue suggested that Cuba complete legal frameworks and corridors to create favorable conditions and have preferential and flexible mechanisms for Vietnamese businesses investing in Cuba.

Unwavering bond

For Vietnam, preserving and cultivating faithful relationships not only demonstrates the ethic "when drinking water, remember its source" but also the affection and responsibility.

Vietnam always values relations with Cuba, a traditional friend and one of progressive forces in the world. A Vietnam behaving consistently with faithfulness always touches the hearts of friends around the world. In many international forums, Vietnam always calls for an end to the embargo against Cuba. Implementing President Ho Chi Minh's teachings, generations of Vietnamese leaders and people have always affirmed: "Solidarity and support for Cuba is the conscience and responsibility of communists and the entire Vietnamese people."

Các đại biểu tham dự Lễ kỷ niệm 50 năm Lãnh tụ Cuba Fidel Castro thăm vùng giải phóng miền Nam Việt Nam tại Quảng Trị tại thành phố Đông Hà, tỉnh Quảng Trị ngày 26/9. (Nguồn: TTXVN)
Delegates attending the 50th anniversary of Cuban Leader Fidel Castro's visit to the Liberation Zone of Southern Vietnam in Dong Ha city, Quang Tri province on September 26, 2023. (Source: VNA)

The celebration of the 50th anniversary of President Fidel's historic visit and the visit to Vietnam by National Assembly President Esteban Lazo Hernandez are opportunites to affirm the special friendship between Vietnam and Cuba, which has transcended normal boundaries, forged and tested through historical ups and downs and the most difficult moments of each country to last through the years. Future generations of Vietnam and Cuba will always remember and strive to promote this special and invaluable solidarity that will lead the two countries to great success in the coming time.

"In the storm, we still persevere / This love we build will never fade..." - the passionate lyrics of the song "Song on the banks of the Hien Luong River", inspired by the stories of lives on the "line of fire" Vinh Linh - where Leader Fidel once visited, kept echoing in my head as I wrote this conclusion: A long-lasting bond between Vietnam and Cuba!

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