Current Affairs

Current Affairs




PNPYO hosts top Cuban youth leader
Observer Reporter
Tuesday, April 15, 2003


THE People's National Party Youth Organisation yesterday welcomed a top Cuban leader to the island, who is here on a two-day visit.

Otto Rivero, the first secretary of the Union of Young Communist and a deputy in the Cuban National Assembly, arrived yesterday in Jamaica, to strengthen bilateral educational ties with Jamaica and to visit Cuban nurses and teachers working here temporarily.

Rivero, one of the youngest members of the State Council of Cuba, is a good example for Jamaica's youth "because of his achievements", said the PNP's youth organisation's vice-president, Venesha Phillips.

She met Rivero, who is in his 20s, when he addressed the World Federation of Democratic Youth in Cuba on behalf of Cuba's president, Fidel Castro.

Phillips said the PNP's young group discussed "at length" the appropriateness of Rivero's visit in light of Cuba's executions and widely-condemned crackdown on dissidents earlier this month. The arrests started in mid-March and represented Cuba's largest crackdown in decades. The executions were the first carried out in years.

Nevertheless, PNP youth leaders decided to host Rivero anyway, deciding the purpose of his visit had "no bearing" on Cuba's alleged rights violations.

"We are going to be sticking to issues, and we are going to stick to our agenda," Phillips said.

Phillips added that the Cuban Embassy in Kingston had organised Rivero's visit some time ago before the recent wave of rights abuses. Rivero's visit to Jamaica is his first stop on a trip that also will take him to Barbados and St Lucia. He trip was delayed by one week because of a trip to Venezuela, Phillips said.

In addition to holding talks with PNP youth leaders, Rivero's agenda calls for him to visit Jose Marti High School and PNP members of Parliament, said Phillips.

Today, he plans to visit the University Hospital of the West Indies, where he will meet with Cuban nurses and students and other persons from Cuba studying in Jamaica.

Rivero also plans to meet Cubans teaching at the Meadowbrook High School in Kingston.