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South Africa and Cuba celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations (+Photos)

Pretoria, May 10 (Prensa Latina) South Africa and Cuba will celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations on May 11, although the nations' contacts date back to the early 1960s.

As a distinctive feature, those relations were established during a visit of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, to participate in the inauguration of newly-elected President Nelson Mandela in 1994.

Cuban Ambassador in Pretoria Enrique Orta Gonzalez stated that during these three decades, Cuba-South Africa relations have proven to be a successful example of South-South cooperation, with a direct effect on both peoples, deepening their mutual appreciation and respect.

In particular, the formalization of bilateral relations with Cuba was considered one of the first foreign policy acts by the democratic government of South Africa.

Orta Gonzalez told Prensa Latina that Cuba was the first country to receive diplomatic recognition from the Government of the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party since then in South Africa.

However, contacts between the two nations began in 1961, when young South Africans from the anti-apartheid forces arrived in Cuba to receive medical care or professional training in medicine and science.

They were the first group of many to receive military and medical training in the decades that followed in Cuba.

The ambassador noted that hundreds of South African liberation movement cadres have been trained in Cuba and by the Cubans abroad.