Guyana, Cuba observing 40 years of diplomacy with grand cultural programme

Guyana and Caricom will commemorate 40 years of diplomatic relations with Cuba with a grand cultural programme planned for December 8, along with other public activities.

According to a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) the anniversary celebrations will include cultural events, special public engagements, and interviews with key stakeholders.

Four independent Caricom countries—Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Guyana—broke the diplomatic embargo and recognised the Republic of Cuba on December 8, 1972.

Guyana and Cuba have continued to enjoy fertile bilateral relations, which have contributed to the development of this country’s human resource base especially in the areas of health and education, the release stated.

The Cuban scholarship programme, which is perhaps the biggest joint venture in Guyana-Cuba relations, started when former president Bharrat Jagdeo and then Cuban president Fidel Castro made a pact for scholarships, retinal surgeries for local patients and the erected of four diagnostic and treatment facilities.

Sixty-nine students from the first batch of 500 that pursued studies on the island are back in Guyana undertaking their final exams.

Two hundred and seventy-eight more students are expected to return next year and, recently, the Cuban Government announced that it will be offering four specialist programmes in the areas of pathology, psychiatry, gynaecology and dermatology.

Cuba also provided financing for Guyana’s National Ophthalmology Hospital at Port Mourant, Berbice and seconded specialised staff, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, administrators and bio-medical technicians to operate the facility until the return of Guyanese medical students.

In October, President Donald Ramotar visited Cuba where the two countries signed another agreement on visa exemptions for holders of diplomatic, official and service passports and cooperation in the areas of sports and health. Guyana also agreed to exempt Cuban nationals from visa requirements to enter and remain in Guyana for periods not exceeding 90 days for the holders of all categories of passports, GINA stated.

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