President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia has suspended his appearance in two campaign events to mourn the death of Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro.
Jammeh in most part sees himself as the Castro of The Gambia claiming to have masterminded a revolution.
President Jammeh established diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1995, a year after he came to power as a junior military officer in a coup. Jammeh was faced with international sanctions from Western states and only nations like Libya and Cuba came to his aid.
“The demise of Fidel Castro is a great loss not only to Cuba but Gambia as well. The Cuban government stood by The Gambia during the dawn of our own revolution when many western countries isolated us,” said Bala Garba Jahumpa, The Gambia’s Infrastructure Minister and former Ambassador to Cuba.
Members of the Cuban Medical Team provide medical services in Gambian hospitals, although many have been accused of misdiagnosing patients, resulting in many deaths and amputations.
The Gambia’s government said at least 400 of its citizens have been trained in agriculture, medicine and other fields in Cuba, some of whom have returned to the West African nation and pursuing their respective careers.
Castro has ruled Cuba, some 90 miles south of the United States for nearly half a century. Castro fell apart with the U.S. and with the missiles crisis, his country faced sanctions. President Barack Obama relaxed the sanctions and re-established relations with Havana.
Gambia’s President Jammeh called Castro a “friend and a brother.”