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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 14, No. 38, 1 October 2015

In this Issue:

Red Alert

An outstanding revolutionary has fallen, Comrade Jorge Risquet

Statement of the South African Communist Party

The South African Communist Party (SACP) is greatly saddened by the news of the death of a great revolutionary, an outstanding leader, finest combatant, and an internationalist of note, Comrade Jorge Risquet Valdés-Saldaña. The SACP expresses its deepest, sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family of Comrade Risquet, the Communist Party and the people of Cuba, their government and the international movement for socialism, peace.

Comrade Risquet, as he was affectionately known, a co-founder of the Communist Party of Cuba, died on Monday 28 September in Havana, at the age of 85. Comrade Risquet was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba since its founding. He was a member of the Party’s Secretariat from 1973-1990, Political Bureau from 1980-1991, and Deputy to the National Assembly of People’s Power from its founding, following the Cuban Revolution which occurred in 1959, to 1993.

Comrade Risquet received various decorations and distinctions for his selfless dedication and loyalty in the struggle for the liberation of the Cuban people. In October 2012, he was honoured by President Jacob Zuma on behalf of our democratic people as a whole. He was bestowed the Order of the Companion of OR Tambo for friendship shown to South Africa and its people through active expression of solidarity, support, peace and co-operation.

After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, in which a United States backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista Zaldívar was overthrown, Comrade Risquet, who was kidnapped, tortured and imprisoned during Batista’s dictatorship, took over the roles of Head of the Patricio Lumumba Internationalist Battalion in Congo Brazzaville and Director of the Cuban Internationalist Civil Mission in the People’s Republic of Angola between 1975 and 1979.

Among his many engagements in the struggle for African independence and national liberation struggles Comrade Risquet led the Cuban delegation in four-party negotiations between Cuba, Angola, the U.S. and South Africa in 1988. His death reminds us of the great sacrifices of Cuba’s internationalism and the crucial role it has played in our own continent in the struggle for universal human emancipation.

The people of Africa will forever remember the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale which raged on from the end of 1987 and pushed through into 1988, where, Cuban soldiers fought along their Angolan comrades, shed their blood for the liberation of Africa, defeating, for the first time, the arrogant army of apartheid South Africa. This historical victory produced the liberation of Angola and Namibia and paved the way to the negotiations which led to the ending of apartheid in South Africa.

The SACP dips the Red Banner in memory of the revolutionary stalwart, Comrade Risquet.

In memory of Comrade Risquet, the SACP reiterates its just call, to the United States, to lift its illegal, inhumane, imperialist economic blockade of Cuba; to evacuate, unconditionally, the Cuban territory of Guantanamo Bay; to end, with immediate effect, torture and gross violations of human rights on the occupied territory!

Statement of the South African Communist Party, 1 October 2015

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