Either a cab driver in this capital sings the “Guantanamela” or a salesman knows about Fidel Castro, most of them are old people who lived through the historic years of leader Mao Zedong and the dispute with the United States, hence the admiration for Cuba.
There are also students who learned Spanish in Cuba in the 1960s, and more than 3,000 Chinese people who did the same recently.
China has a population of 1.4 billion inhabitants who easily identify a small nation in the Caribbean, and part of that history is an achievement by the traditional friendship between the two countries, a rapprochement is celebrating the 63th anniversary of diplomatic ties on Thursday.
The historic ties are deeper, since 176 years ago, the first Chinese immigrants (coolies) arrived in Cuba, and their imprint on Cuba’s nationality is well documented, as well as their contribution to the struggles for independence.
For María Chen, who was among the students who went to Cuba to learn Spanish in 1960, Cuba is part of her life and she always remembers her stay there with nostalgia and admiration.
“Fidel is a unique national hero, much loved and respected by the people of China,” she told Prensa Latina in her almost perfect Spanish.
Aurora Lin Hai, in turn, regretted not having personally met the Cuban leader when she lived as a diplomat in Cuba and celebrated the vision for closer ties between the two nations.
“Cuba was the first country in the Western hemisphere to establish relations with China, Fidel and our Chairman Mao Zedong were great statesmen with a long-term vision on bilateral ties,” she commented.
The young generations also maintain a special relationship with Cuba. Translator Gae Lin lived after 2006 for seven years in Havana, a city to where she recently returned with her family, eager to show them where she studied.
The general manager of the Tumei International Travel Agency, Elena Chen, admires Cuba for the security it provides to visitors, the beauty of its nature and the interesting cultural heritage, which is why she bets on Cuba as a destination.
At a Beijing club, hundreds of Chinese dance with real tropical moves to the beat of Cuban music. Among them is Professor Li Wen (Fido), an introverted young man who is transformed when he hears Cuban salsa.
“Cuba is my second homeland, I go there every year,” the dancer and choreographer who has been working for the last decade to bring his fellow citizens closer to Latin music with the Mapa Salsero project told Prensa Latina.
There are many other examples, Cuba-China friendship cannot be limited to high-level exchanges or collaboration agreements, but overcomes geographical, historic, cultural and idiomatic distances to become part of popular wisdom.