In recognition of Cuba’s immeasurable generosity and solidarity

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H. E. Alejandro Simancas Marin

Farewell ceremony for Cuban Ambassador Alejandro Simancas Marin, Castries, Saint Lucia, Friday, April 9, 2021

Distinguished Members and Friends

When our president and sister, Marlene Alexander, told me that ambassador Alejandro was leaving Saint Lucia, and that his mission here had come to an end, she expressed some dismay, and even some sorrow, about his relatively short tenure as ambassador here.

I was also saddened, for several reasons, including the fact that Ambassador Alejandro is a very personable individual; in Saint Lucia, we would say, “Alexander is a nice guy.” In Cuba, we would say: “Alejandro es buena gente.” But this “nice guy” characteristic is one of the fundamental underpinning qualities of every Cuban ambassador. Why? Because the Cuban Revolution has taught all its sons and daughters to be humble. And this humility, in turn, is the idiosyncratic basis for all the love and generosity that Cuba and the Revolution continue to impart in all the five continents, to millions of human beings.

So, although each Cuban ambassador is an individual human being, with his or her own personal qualities, each Cuban ambassador is also a humble ambassador, thanks to the sterling humanitarian values of the Cuban educational system, and the Cuban Revolution. And that humility, my esteemed Comrades and listeners, is one of the attributes that allow each Cuban ambassador, no matter how brief his/her tenure, and no matter how sudden his/her recall to Havana maybe, to gracefully accept the end of his/her diplomatic stint of duty, in any foreign country.

But, my friends, president Marlene’s kind invitation for me to make a few remarks here this afternoon, on the occasion of the farewell ceremony for Alejandro, provides a welcome opportunity for me to share with you, something that most people, including top government officials, are unaware of, and that is, that diplomatic postings, as a matter of the proper management and the proper technical and political functioning of a country’s foreign service, are meant to be of measured duration. If a country is serious about the proper development of its ministry of foreign affairs, in other words, its foreign service, this country’s ambassadors have to be posted to its various embassies around the world, to different countries, for a determined period of time.

In my experience as a foreign service officer and a Saint Lucian diplomat overseas, I believe that five years is a good cut-off point. ambassadors should not be allowed to remain beyond an average of five years, in the same country, for several very important reasons. I will mention only three of these reasons:1) an ambassador must not remain abroad so long, that he/she becomes alienated from the realities of his/her country;2) an ambassador must continue to be, must continue to feel, must continue to identify himself/herself, as a national of his/her country; 3) an ambassador must remain firmly rooted in his/her nationality, and must not in effect become a foreigner to his own country.

Of course, these three examples are all deeply intertwined and are essentially inseparable from the other. If these principles, among others, are not properly applied in the management of a country’s foreign service, that country will not have a properly functioning and efficient foreign service, and its foreign ministry will not be contributing as it should to the proper development of that country. Sadly, my friends, this is the case of the Saint Lucia foreign service, where I served for more than a decade. Most of our ambassadors have remained abroad for so many years, that they are no longer Saint Lucian patriots abroad, they have become foreigners to Saint Lucia, and have become insensitive to Saint Lucian interests abroad. The examples are too numerous to mention and bring great shame to me, personally, as a Saint Lucian patriot.

So, what does ambassador Alejandro’s relatively brief stint tell us about Cuba? It tells us, among other things, that the nepotism and corruption that are the order of the day in the foreign ministries of so many countries around the world are not existent in Fidel Castro’s Cuba and the Cuban ministry of foreign affairs. It tells us that Cuba’s ambassadors, every single one of them, in over 100 countries, are constantly redeployed, constantly repatriated, and constantly rehabilitated and re-aligned to Cuba’s vital interests abroad, keeping a vibrant Cuban ministry of foreign affairs, and a vibrant Cuban foreign service, actively engaged in the progressive economic, social, political and cultural development of the Cuban nation.

Ambassador, I am sorry that your time here was shorter than the average number of years by about two years, and that your sudden departure has not allowed us to smoke a cigar together, but I feel certain that we will smoke a Cohiba one of these days, whether in a balcony in Havana, or Santiago, or in a park in some other country.

I thank you. 

Comrade Peter Lansiquot

First Vice President 

St Lucia-Cuba Humanistic Solidarity Association (HSA) 

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