Ethio-Cuba Friendship Park attracted thousands for the 44 Karamara Victory Celebration
Last updated on March 5, 2023 at 10:49 P.M. Toronto Time
Yekatit, an Amharic for February, seems to have a special place in the history of Ethiopia in the sense that Ethiopia achieved at least two major battle victories. One is the victory at Adwa at the end of the 19th century and the other one is against the Invading Somalian forces about 44 years ago. In fact the 1974 Ethiopian revolution , which toppled the imperial government of Haileselassie I, also took place in the month of Yekatit.
Today, and it is still Yekatit, Ethiopia has commemorated the Karamara victory at the Ethio-Cuba Friendship Park in the capital Addis Ababa.
There is a reason why it was celebrated at the Ethio-Cuba Friendship park. At the time, Cuba sent over 15,000 troops to fight along with Ethiopia to reverse the Somali invasion and hundreds of soldiers have paid in life. Apart from the military contribution, Cuba under the leadership of Fidel Castro offered 5,000 scholarships to Ethiopian Children including to those whose fathers were killed during the war.
Veterans from the war, government officials, members of the diplomatic community including Cuban Ambassador to Ethiopia (Ambassador Jorge Lefebre Nicolás), attended the event.
Ethiopia was in a period of political transition right after the 1974 revolution when Somalia under Siad Barré ordered the invasion. His forces occupied territories up to 700 kilometres deep inside Ethiopia. The aim was to attain “The Greater Somalian ” dream by incorporating the land it invaded from Ethiopia.
Three hundred thousand forces, a chunk of it militia forces trained in less than three months, were raised to reverse the invasion. And the invading army was defeated. The last battle was fought at Karamara – the reason for the celebration of Karamara victory.
The celebration has been very colourful and has attracted thousands of residents from the city. State media covered the story. The Ethiopian government has a plan to make Ethiopia-Cuba Friendship Park one of Addis Ababa City’s tourist attractions.
Meanwhile, the Federal Security task force is accusing what it called “some political parties, groups and individuals” of attempting to incite ethnic based violence. It is accusing some of those who were attending the Karamara Victory celebration.
Statement from the task force claimed that security forces were restrained in the face of provocation from those groups.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has lost significant public trust due to repeated unpopular decisions. The latest anger was over the government decision to change venue for Adwa victory celebration from Ghiorgis in the city centre where Emperor Mebelik II statue stands, to Adwa bridge.
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