STATEMENT BY H.E. DR. FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA, UPON HIS ARRIVAL AT KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA. MAY 10, 2001
I deeply appreciate the invitation extended to me by His Majesty Sultan Salehuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Aljah and by my dear friend Primer Minister Mahathir bin Mohammad for this official visit to Malaysia that will allow me to fulfill my old wishes to know this country and its people, its ancient culture, its long tradition of struggle, its beautiful nature and its fertile and creative work in the field of economic and social development.
The Cuban-Malaysian relations, which at a diplomatic level date from 1975, have been unfolding in a satisfactory way. A decisive contribution to that effect has been made by Primer Minister Mahathir who visited our country in 1997 and again in 2000 to take part in the South Summit. I am certain that the presence of our delegation in Kuala Lumpur now will also lead to the upgrading of such mutually beneficial relations and cooperation between our two countries.
Cuba and Malaysia have many things in common, despite distance and cultural differences. We are bound together by the shared history of a colonial past as well as by our common condition of underdeveloped countries bent on progress but with a clear perception of the grave hazards threatening the Third World today and with a common decision to resist the sacrifice of our identity and self-determination to a globalization marked by injustice and danger.
Cuba feels special admiration for the way in which Malaysia and its government courageously faced --without relinquishing the defense of its sovereignty, its currency and, ultimately, its independence-- the catastrophic effects of the arbitrary manipulation of international financial markets in 1997 by unscrupulous speculators that brought about a severe crisis on the Malaysian economy and the sharp loss of many achievements attained by the Malaysian people in years of tenacious work.
The Cuban people, which have been the victims of a ferocious economic war lasting more than forty years, feel in solidarity with Malaysia that has also sustained its share of suffering as a consequence of the prevailing unfair world economic order.
On the occasion of this my first visit to this country, I would like to extend my greetings to the Malaysian people and to convey Cuba's wishes for its wellbeing, peace and prosperity as well as for the expansion of our reciprocal friendship and cooperation.
Fidel Castro Ruz
Kuala Lumpur, May 10, 2001