Thursday, 15 October 2009

All Party Latin America Group to be launched in the Assembly

Yesterday the First Minister welcomed the ambassadors for Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia to the Assembly to celebrate the achievements of the Bolivian Revolution which is currently gaining support throughout Latin America.

In his welcoming speech, Rhodri Morgan referred to Cuba’s successful health innovations, Bolivia’s new support for the survival of the indigenous language against the pressure from ‘imperial’ Spanish, and told us of the horrors he saw in the barrios of Caracas when he visited Venezuela twenty years ago.

The Venezuelan ambassador explained how the Chavez government had used tax from oil to provide health and education programmes to the barrios where there were no public services before Chavez’s election.

There was also reference to the “memorandum of understanding” between the Welsh and Cuban governments in the field of education. The First Minister indicated that there may be further memoranda in areas such as the environment and sport.

While these countries are far from perfect, there are many things a small country like Wales can learn. Prior to the Cuban Revolution in 1959, 23% of the population were illiterate in a country which had become a playground for rich Americans. After a three year literacy programme, it had been brought down to 4%.

The WWF has said that Cuba is the most sustainable in the world.

Further cooperation with these countries will be assisted by the All Party Latin American group which has been set up in the Assembly, with the support of the public sector union UNISON.

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