Zimbabwe has the capacity to weather Western sanctions better than Cuba could do, as the Southern African country has vast natural resources and wealth compared to the latter – a small island living under the shadow of the United States blockade.
Cuba has endured 63 years of sanctions imposed by the United States, and has often been given as an example of the punitive nature and longevity of Western embargo, while Zimbabwe has spent the last two decades under sanctions.
Cuba has learnt to live with the sanctions, developing internal solutions and managing to export services such as health and education.
Outgoing Cuban Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Carmelina Ramirez Rodriguez told Review & Mail in an exclusive interview in Harare thatZimbabwe had good land and vast mineral resources that could help the country stave off the effects of sanctions.
“Cuba has been under sanctions for 63 years and we don’t simply call them sanctions; but it’s a blockade because it’s financial, commercial and economic. The ferocity of the blockade is not only the sanctions, because if you compare Cuba and Zimbabwe, the internal economic situation is not the same,” said Rodriguez.
“So that’s why we call the sanctions a blockade that affect the daily life. Zimbabwe has been under sanctions for about 20 years now and this is not the same with Cuba, which has been under this blockade for a good 63 years. But even so, we have developed it, we have been very creative to try and overcome all these limitations for example with the case of our vaccines that we produce.”
The diplomat – who now heads back to Havana in a week’s time – added: “This is a good example that we have to demonstrate how Cuba has developed and taken advantage of its own human resources; for example the scientists and technicians. It’s also very important to have unity as a country, and we are a country just like Zimbabwe also and we love our independence and sovereignty and we have paid a high price for that.”
Ramirez urged Zimbabwe to put in place good policies that promote a good environment for business to thrive and promote self-reliance.
“If you have a better environment which allows foreign investment, Zimbabwe can go very far without depending on anybody and the people here are very hardworking. So the issue of unity is very important and people should work for their country and love it to develop it,” she said.