ADDIS ABABA – Nation commemorated the 44th anniversary of the victory in the Ogaden War, a fact known in Ethiopia as the Victory of Karamara whereby Ethiopian troops, with the internationalist support of the Cuban militants, defeated the then Somali dictator’s invading forces yesterday.
Speaking on the occasion, South American and Caribbean Affairs Director with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bekuma Meredasa said Ethiopian troops aided by Cuban combatants, defeated the aggression against the territorial integrity of Ethiopia, promoted from the Mohamed Siad Barre forces in February 1978. During the war 163 Cuban combatants offered their lives, whose sacrifice became then and forever always, the foundation for the relations of brotherhood and solidarity between the Cuban and Ethiopian people.
The director stressed that relations between Ethiopia and Cuba have remained close. More than five thousand Ethiopian students have graduated from Cuban universities since the 1970s and the Cuban government has annually maintained an allocation of scholarships to Ethiopian students to study in Cuba in different specialties. Similarly, Cuba contributes to the health sector and sends doctors who provide services in health institutions in Addis Ababa.
Cuban Ambassador to Ethiopia, Jorge Lefebre Nicolás said for his part that he is ‘emotional’ to take part in a remembrance ceremony to Cuban soldiers who paid noble sacrifice 44 years ago to one main objective–independence. “In this regard, close to 163 brave people have not returned to their homeland, Cuba.”
The Ambassador further noted that Cuba’s then Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro decided to help Ethiopia to repulse Siad Barre’s illusion for greater Somalia that is manifested by the invasion of several kilometers of Ethiopia in 1977-78 Ogaden War. Castro reportedly admired “Ethiopians are brave and they are always struggling for independence, sovereignty, unity, and integrity.”
For Ethiopia and Cuba Peoples Friendship Association Deputy President and Public Relation Head Shebeshi Kassa, at that time when Ethiopia is challenged by complex internal problems and lack a well-trained military force, the Barre consider the situation as favorable to his long standing dream of Greater Somalia.
“Somalia forces entered in the East direction seven hundred kilometers to Awash and in the South direction three hundred kilometer to Bale areas. At a time, Cuba deployed over 15,000 soldiers to Ethiopia to defend the country from Somali invaders.”
Diplomats, government officials, ex-soldiers and families and relatives of the ex-soldiers as well as the public were in attendance of the commemoration event that was held in the Ethio-Cuba Friendship Park.
BY MESERET BEHAILU
The Ethiopian March 6/2022