Cuban Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Enrique Prieto Lopez has hailed Zimbabwe-Cuba relations and called for solidarity in the fight against the illegal sanctions imposed on the two countries by western nations.

Ambassador Lopez was speaking on the commemorations of the 31st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and Cuba.

20 April 1980 marked the establishment of the Cuba-Zimbabwe relations as Cuba was the first country to present its credentials for diplomatic ties with the newly born Southern African nation.

In celebrating 31years of diplomatic relations, the 50th anniversary of Playa Giron’s victory and the declaration of Cuba as a socialist nation, Ambassador Lopez said the celebrations reminds the two countries of their common fight against illegal sanctions.

Zimbabwe-Cuba Friendship Association Chairman, Mr Noel Jasi said the bilateral relations have been of great benefit.

“We have Zimbabwean students pursuing studies in Cuba, so the scholarship programmes are a sign that the relations between the two countries are really fruitful.

Zimbabwe Committee for the Liberation of the Cuban Five Chairman, Mr Lovemore Gwati took the opportunity to demand the release of the 5 Cubans who were wrongly convicted of espionage by the US government in 1998.

Cuba, which is around 200 km from the US, has been under illegal sanctions for half a century.

However, the country has soldiered on and has successfully managed to maintain its culture, a feat Zimbabwe has been called upon to emulate.