Tamara Kunanayakam, Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in Cuba paid homage today to Commander of the Revolution Juan Almeida Bosque, Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba, Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba, emblematic leader of the Cuban Revolution, who passed away on Friday, 11 September 2009.. She placed a wreath of red roses and lilies beside a photograph of the Hero of the Republic at Havana’s Jose Marti Memorial.
In a letter addressed to His Excellency Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Cuba, Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam extended her deepest sympathies to the leadership and people of Cuba, and to the family of Commander Juan Almeida Bosque.
She paid tribute to “a committed leader” of the Cuban Revolution, “a man of principles.” “I will always remember with deep affection the very warm and exceptionally long welcome extended to me,” she wrote, referring to her meeting with Juan Almeida Bosque on 19 March 2009, when she presented her credentials to the Vice President of the Council of State and historical leader of the Cuban Revolution. A founder of the Rebel Army, close companion and comrade-in-arms of the Commander in Chief of the Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz, Juan Almeida Bosque was beloved and much admired by the Cuban masses.
“I was touched by the sincerity with which he expressed his solidarity with our struggle to preserve our national independence and sovereignty and of the desire of Cuba to reinforce relations with Sri Lanka. I was particularly moved by his humanity and personal interest in the history of my people and in the engagement of my own family in the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggle,” recalled Ambassador Kunanayakam. Speaking of the man who coined the enduring slogan of the Cuban Revolution when he shouted out to his wounded comrade and friend Che Guevara, "Aquí nadie se rinde" (“Here, no one gives up!”), she further recalled his readiness to support her in her efforts as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Cuba.”
In tribute to the man known for his simplicity, humanity, and universality, Ambassador Kunanayakam reiterated her commitment to strengthening the solidarity and friendship that already exists between the peoples of Cuba and Sri Lanka: “His words have been and will continue to be of immense encouragement to me in the pursuit of my efforts to fortify the friendship and solidarity that already exists between our two countries and peoples, as reflected in this our 50th Anniversary of Friendship and Cooperation.”
Embassy of Sri Lanka, Havana, Cuba
13th September 2009