The Order of José Martí, the highest decoration awarded by the Cuban state was granted yesterday, July 1, to the President of Angola, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, who, for his part, in the name of his people awarded the Agosthino Neto Order to the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Army General Raúl Castro Ruz; to the President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez; and Army Corps Generals Leopoldo Cintra Frías and Ramón Espinosa Martín, minister and deputy minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, respectively, and post mortem to Brigadier General Raúl Díaz Argüelles.
In a solemn ceremony held at the Palace of the Revolution in the Cuban capital, Council of State Secretary Homero Acosta stressed that the Angolan President has maintained, with exemplary dedication and in close unity with his people and his Party, the work of nation’s founding father, Agosthino Neto, and that Cuba has been honored with his friendship since the difficult years of the war in Angola. Thus the granting of the José Martí Order is also a sign of the Cuban people’s respect for and friendship with the Angolan people.
For his part, João Lourenço said that in this way “all the people of Angola are being decorated” and that the deep friendship and solidarity between our peoples became eternal when they decided to defend the path of freedom. He also stressed that thanks to the heroic sacrifice of the Cuban people, today Southern Africa is a region of peace, democracy, and social justice.
President Díaz-Canel recalled that Comandante en Jefe Chief Fidel Castro was the first non-African figure to receive the Angolan distinction and that the relationship between that continent and Cuba “is as profound as it is indestructible.”
The Cuban leader noted among the common challenges shared by the two nations, the need to defend our right to development, wellbeing, and social justice, and to safeguard international peace and security, while expressing his gratitude for the recognition, accepted on behalf of the Cuban people, and stating “in the crucible where the Cuban nationality was forged, is Africa.”