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Cablegate: Cuba and Mozambique: A Long and Continuing

VZCZCXRO5465
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #0164 0540953
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230953Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8598
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0001
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0121

UNCLAS MAPUTO 000164

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CU PGOV PREL ECON ETRD MZ
SUBJECT: CUBA AND MOZAMBIQUE: A LONG AND CONTINUING
RELATIONSHIP

SENSITIVE

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: More than 3500 Mozambicans have studied
in Cuba since 1977; many of them now occupy important
positions in the Government of Mozambique (GRM) and in the
ruling FRELIMO party, even as close advisors to current
President Armando Guebuza. Relations between the two
countries' governments cooled somewhat when Mozambique
embraced a market economy in the early 1990's. There now
appears to be an attempt by the GRM to at least maintain if
not revive relations between the two countries which share a
revolutionary past, if for nothing else than to continue to
benefit from Cuban doctors still working in country. END
SUMMARY.

2. (U) Cuban support of Mozambican education began in 1977
when former Mozambican President Zamora Machel visited
Havana. During that visit, Fidel Castro offered to educate
thousands of Mozambican youth at Cuba's expense. Many other
Mozambicans received training either in Cuba or in Mozambique
from Cuban instructors who taught courses on health,
education, agriculture, defense and security.

3. (SBU) Nearly 3500 Mozambicans have been trained or
educated in Cuba to date; many received their entire formal
schooling in Cuba. Numerous Cuban-trained Mozambicans hold
or have held positions in the GRM: Aiuba Cuereneia, current
Minister of Planning and Development (one of the ministers
closest to President Guebuza); Edgar Cossa, former Deputy
Spokesperson of FRELIMO in the National Assembly; the late
General Sebastiao Mabote, former army commander; and Castigo
Langa, Minister of Industry and Trade in the Chissano
government and currently Chairman of the Mozambique-Cuba
Friendship Association.

4. (SBU) Cuban political figures are held in high regard
among Mozambicans who studied in Cuba. Stories of how Cuban
intelligence has repeatedly foiled USG attempts to
assassinate Fidel Castro are common. Members of the
Mozambique-Cuba Friendship Association often address each
other in Spanish when they meet, listen to Cuban music and
lead retrospective discussions on what they view as Cuba's
generosity to many nations in need in Africa.

5. (SBU) Cuba continues to provide doctors to the Mozambican
Ministry of Health, though the Mozambicans must provide
housing and a stipend of about $1,000 per month per doctor.
A Ministry of Health contact noted that the number of doctors
has been declining in recent years as other countries
seemingly were able to provide larger stipends for the Cuban
doctors, something the GRM was not prepared to do. Cuba
maintains a small Embassy in Maputo, though its Ambassador,
Evangeline Seoane Dominguez, maintains a low profile and
rarely appears at diplomatic events.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: Cuba's friendly relationship with
FRELIMO and the GRM began during Mozambique's war for
independence but cooled in the early 1990s, when Mozambique
embraced a market economy. There now appear to be efforts by
the GRM to at least maintain if not revive relations between
the two countries. In May 2005, the Mozambican Minister of
Foreign Affairs paid a visit to Cuba during which she praised
the Cuban authorities for their efforts in helping Mozambique
with an anti-cholera vaccine and expressed the hope that
Cuban scientists would provide help to Mozambique in fighting
malaria and tuberculosis. In 2006, on the occasion of the
80th birthday of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the
Mozambique-Cuba Friendship Association held a ceremony in
Gaza province which was attended by the Cuban Ambassador to
Mozambique, Cuban doctors working in Mozambique and
Mozambicans who had studied in Cuba. At the ceremony the
village of Nhpondzone was renamed "Fidel Castro Village." In
2007, the Mozambican Minister of Education expressed the hope
that Cuba would assist in creating a school of medicine at a
university in northern Mozambique. Minister Cuereneia
traveled to Cuba in 2007 to discuss continuing ties between
the two countries. Cuba and Mozambique's relationship is
rooted in its shared revolutionary past. Continuing the
medical assistance received from Cuba would seem to be the
tangible reason for Mozambique's interest in maintaining this
relationship. END COMMENT.
Chapman

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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