Vasu wants Sri Lanka to emulate Cuba without giving in to western pressure


By Harischandra Gunaratna

Former UPFA Minister and veteran leftist, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, yesterday said that the US was adopting a dubious policy towards Cuba. While it was continuing with economic sanctions against that country on the one hand it was trying to improve its diplomatic relations with the island nation off the coast of its state of Florida on the other hand, he said.

"Strengthening of diplomatic ties and President Obama’s visit to Cuba was a move by the US to save its face from condemnation of right thinking countries in the world for what it had done to that country," Nanayakkara said. He had recently returned from a tour of Cuba. "The Cuban government believes in self-sufficiency and doesn’t go to other countries with a begging bowl like the Sri Lankan government and it doesn’t bow down to the dictates of powerful countries in spite of pressure."

Addressing a news conference organised by the Democratic Left Front, its Leader said, "Sri Lanka could take a cue from Cuba where development is concerned and its health service and education were at a very high level compared with Sri Lanka." he said.

The gap between the haves and have nots in Cuba had been reduced and there were no taxes on essential goods and services which had immensely helped people there to lead a better life, he said.

Nanayakkara said that country’s GDP was at a healthy level and economic benefits reached the lowest stratum of the population unlike in  Sri Lanka, where only a handful of persons enjoyed economic benefits.

In Cuba for one US dollar only 85 cents was paid in its currency, he said, adding that as a result Cuba’s tourism industry was at a very high level and Sri Lanka had a lot to learn from it. Though Cuba’s economy was not strong all its citizens had housing and were employed, he said. In Cuba the May Day was considered a national event and the security forces marched along with the masses. It had concluded with 750,000 people joining the rally, Nanayakkara said.

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