Rodriguez tweeted that this date “is a reason to celebrate the African legacy to the Cuban cultural heritage.”
He added that “our common history, a rich cultural heritage and strong identity ties strengthen the unweavering friendship between Africa and Cuba.
The arrival in Cuba of large shipments of Africans, brought by Spanish colonizers to work as slaves in sugar cane plantations in the 17th and 18th centuries defined Cuba’s ethnic and social composition. Africa’s influence in Cuba thus became an essential component in all aspects of its culture and the formation of its nationality, from religion and food habits to the most varied artistic manifestations.
Moreover, African descendants became an essential part of the forces that fought for the Cuban independence from Spanish oppression in the second half of the 19th century, after hero Carlos Manuel de Cespedes freed his slaves at the beginning of the war, on October 10, 1868.
In the 20th century, thousands of Cuban fighters, many of whom were descendants of those slaves, decisively contributed to the emancipation of the peoples of Angola, Namibia and Mozambique, among others, and the defeat of Apartheid in South Africa.