Ghana and Venezuela: two sides of the same coin. Celebrating Ghana’s independence and the Year of Return

Ghana is an African country that, although seemingly distant, is closer to Venezuela than we would imagine. In fact, a direct flight from Venezuela to Ghana would be faster than from Venezuela to Paris or London. Our links with Ghana are profound.

This year, 2019, is Ghana’s "Year of Return" to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first time that ships filled with human beings, maliciously considered merchandise, left Africa to be enslaved on the American continent.

But in addition to such a significant date, we might add that this year marks the 110th anniversary of the birth of Ghana's founder, the passionate pan-Africanist, socialist and anti-imperialist Kwame Nkrumah.

After his time in the United States, where he was academically trained, and in the United Kingdom, where he participated in the historic Sixth Pan-African Congress in Manchester, Nkrumah returned to Ghana in 1947 (then called Gold Coast), where he did extensive political agitation, for which, in addition to being imprisoned by British colonial authorities, he won the admiration of his people, who always saw in him the natural leader who would take them to a new stage in the national life of Ghana as an independent country.

Nkrumah achieved such a feat on March 6, 1957. However, Nkrumah always knew that until all of Africa was free, the struggle had to continue.

Nkrumah’s links with the Caribbean were also present. The influential intellectual and activist George Padmore from Trinidad was both Nkrumah’s mentor and advisor. In addition, Nkrumah once said that “of all the literature I have studied, the book that did more to me than any other to fuel my enthusiasm was ‘The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey.’” This is why Nkrumah paid tribute to Marcus Garvey by including Garvey’s Black Star insignia in the new flag of independent Ghana.

Predictably, in 1966 the CIA led a coup d'état against Nkrumah while he was in China on a peace mission in favour of Vietnam.

It is not difficult to see the similarities with Venezuela. No doubt for 400 years the destinies of Ghana and Venezuela have coincided.

Therefore, in Venezuela we must feel profoundly identified with the historical and cultural force that naturally emanates from the "Year of Return" in Ghana and the struggle of Nkrumah, as well as today’s independence of Ghana, since these are aspects that touch our national spirit, in a year like 2019, in which we are called to exalt our patriotism in the midst of imperial threats.

Alvaro Sanchez Cordero is the Charge D’Affaires of the Embassy of Venezuela to Barbados

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