President of Spain Assesses Fund for Investments in Cuba

Cuba and Spain created a joint fund of 415 million euros to support investments here by Spanish companies, the president of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sanchez, said on Friday.

This is part of the reordering of Cuba's foreign debt, Sanchez stressed at a bilateral business forum, also chaired by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, at the modern Hotel Iberostar Grand Packard.

The fund, Sanchez noted, allows financing to be channeled to strategic investments for Cuba's economic development and at the same time, to support Spanish business. The challenge, he said, is to speed up the operation of this mechanism.

Spain, he added, is currently among Cuba's top three suppliers, with nearly 900 million euros in annual exports.

It is also Cuba's main European partner, with a market share of nearly 40 percent, in a difficult international environment in the shadow of global protectionism, Sanchez pointed out.

Despite adversities in the international arena, in 2018, Spanish exports to Cuba grew by 5 percent, 'a figure that we must put in context to assess it with justice,' the Spanish president underlined.

Another strength is the high participation of Spanish small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in these business, since it establishes 'a doubly beneficial field of action' and a model of sustainable development, the head of the Spanish Government assessed.

In addition, Spain occupies one of the top positions as an investor in Cuba, with a stock of 370 million euros, recalled Sanchez, who praised, in particular, the results in the sphere of tourism.

He stressed that the Spanish Government has a clear understanding of the financial problems being faced by the Cuban State; hence, the recent decision by the Spanish public company of export credit insurance to open coverage to Cuba in the short term.

In addition, the Spanish Development Financing Company allocated 40 million euros to projects in Cuba and works hard to mobilize more resources.

'The objective, therefore, is solid to support more and better projects to implement productive investments in Cuba,' he said.

According to Sanchez, his presence in Havana is a message of security: 'The obstacles we face along the way are not going to interrupt or slow down the increase in commerce and investment between our two countries,' he said.

'It would be unforgivable that we did not take advantage of all the opportunities of this meeting to advance in Cuba's modernization and opening and to strengthen economic and commercial ties,' he noted.

The bilateral forum, attended by executives from more than 300 firms, developed several sectoral panels and included the signing of two agreements for financial support for investments.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba to Celebrate 100th Birthday of US Musician Leonard Bernstein

Cuba will celebrate the 100th birthday of the US composer, musician and orchestra conductor Leonard Bernstein with a selection of his most renowned musical works at Havana's Marti Theater, organizers said here.

The shows are scheduled for December 1 and 2, as part of a joint work by Cuba's National Lyric Theater, the Duchesne Cuzan Philarmonic Orchestra, the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television's Choir and the Laura Alonso Ballet.

The tribute to Leonard Bernstein, entitled 'Bernstein Gala' will have the participation of outstanding singers such as the sopranos Dayri Llanes, Angeline Diaz and Daili Roche, and the Swedish mezzosoprano singer Charlotta Huldt, as a guest, under the musical direction of Cesar Eduardo Ramos.

The program consists of a selection of the comic operetta 'Candide' and the musical show West Side Story, a classic in the highly acclaimed artist's repertoire.

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was a versatile US musician whose 100th birthday has been celebrated in the world since August 2017, with a program consisting of 2,000 shows in all continents, including concerts and exhibitions at important cultural centers.

  • Published in Culture


Spanish premier Pedro Sanchez agreed with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel to deepen bilateral political ties on Thursday, at the start of the first official visit by a Spanish leader to the Caribbean island in three decades.

The two leaders signed an agreement instituting annual high-level political dialogue meetings between Spain and Cuba, touching on an array of topics including human rights.

Relations between Cuba and the European Union have steadily improved since being formally relaunched in 2016 after a two-decade chill, even as they have festered between the island and the United States (US).

This is the first official visit by a Spanish Prime Minister since that of Sanchez’s fellow social democrat Felipe Gonzalez in 1986. Spain is Cuba’s third largest trading partner and maintains strong cultural ties with its former colony.

Sanchez and Diaz-Canel, who succeeded Raul Castro as president in April, also agreed to increase cultural cooperation on Thursday, after holding talks in Havana’s Revolution Palace.

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Sanchez, who is travelling with executives from two dozen companies, will on Friday morning inaugurate a Spanish-Cuban business forum in a hotel that the administration of US President Donald Trump recently added to a list of places banned to US travellers.

Spanish-Cuban annual bilateral commerce is already around $1.3 billion, according to Cuban data. The tourism sector is dominated by alliances between Spanish hotel chains and Cuban companies.

  • Published in World

Spanish President Pedro Sanchez Arrives in Cuba

Havana, Nov 22 (Prensa Latina) The president of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sanchez, arrived in Cuba on Thursday on a two-day official visit, during which he will hold talks with local authorities.

Upon arrival at the Jose Marti international airport in Havana, Sanchez was welcomed by Vice Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra.

The Spanish leader was accompanied by Foreign Minister Josep Borrell and and Industry Minister Reyes Maroto.

In Cuba, Sanchez will have a busy agenda that includes a meeting with President Miguel Diaz-Canel, a tribute to National Hero Jose Marti and his participation in the signing of agreements and a business forum, as well as a tour of Old Havana.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban President confirms new North Korean ambassador in Havana ceremony

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel on Wednesday accepted the credentials of incoming North Korean ambassador Ma Chol Su in a ceremony in Havana, local state news outlet Prensa Latina reported.

Ma, who was appointed to the position of ambassador to Cuba by the DPRK’s Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly last month, replaces Pak Chang Yul.

The new ambassador begins work just weeks after a landmark summit between the two countries earlier in the month – the first of its kind in over 30 years.

That meeting saw the Cuban President and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un reaffirm the two countries’ “special friendship” and agree to expand scientific and economic cooperation.

Ma has extensive experience in working with North Korea’s longtime allies and as a liaison between Pyongyang and other sympathetic nations and individuals.

2017 saw Ma visit Cambodia in his capacity as a Workers’ Party official responsible for international affairs, where he met with Prince Norodom Ranariddh and discussed building ties between their two political parties.

An ambassador to Vietnam from 2006-10, he most recently served as Secretary-General of the DPRK-Japan Friendship Association, overseeing sports exchanges between the two countries and a visit in 2014 by former professional wrestler and current member of Japan’s House of Councillors Antonio Inoki.

His appointment as ambassador sees him take over responsibility for one of North Korea’s most important diplomatic relationships, with the embassy in Havana reportedly critical in conducting arms deals and other illicit transactions between the two, including in the now-notorious Chong Chon Gang incident.

It also comes as Pyongyang seeks to improve ties in the region, with the country’s nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam set to visit the region this week.

North Korean state media on Sunday reported that Kim, who serves as President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, would soon pay an official visit to Cuba and to Venezuela, as well as attend the inauguration of Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Saturday.

Kim was spotted by South Korean press at Beijing Capital Airport on Tuesday, presumed to en route to Latin America.

  • Published in Cuba

Brazilian People Favors More Doctors Program

The Brazilian people and political and social organizations have reacted to the end of the Cuban presence in the More Doctors Program due to the hostile attitude of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, and recognized the work by the Cuban physicians.

The performance by Cuban doctors and their professional preparation has been one of the most debated topics in the press and social networks.

In fact, one of the causes of Cuba's decision not to continue in the program that has been implemented since 2013 is the questioning by President-elect Jair Bolsonaro about the professionalism of the Cuban physicians and his conditioning their permanence on the revalidation of their titles.

Bolsonaro shot at the feet of the Brazilian people: Doctors from Cuba and Brazil have similar performance in test demanded by Bolsonaro, Paulo Teixeira, a federal lawmaker and vice president of the Workers Party (PT), commented on his Twitter account.

Regarding the work by the Cuban professional, Caraol Pires, from the newspaper The New York Times in Spanish, echoed an article published by the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, which refers that Cuban and Brazilian doctors trained abroad have similar results against the revalidation test required by the Brazilian Medical Association.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban President Regrets Death of Venezuelan Ambassador

President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Tuesday lamented the death of Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba, Ali Rodriguez Araque, and sent his solidarity to the family of the outstanding revolutionary.

'Our heartfelt embrace to the Bolivarian family that suffers the loss of an exemplary revolutionary, Ali Rodriguez Araque, Embajador de #Venezuela en #Cuba. Guerrilla fighter, politician, intellectual and Latin Americanist, already inseparable from #Cuba. Farewell, brother. #SomosCuba, 'the president posted on his Twitter account @DiazCanelB.

Rodriguez Araque was an active guerrilla leader against the ruling right-wing governments in Venezuela in the 60s and 70s of the last century.

After the triumph of the Bolivarian Revolution, he held important posts in the administrations of the then President Hugo Chavez (1954-2013), among them Minister of Energy and Mines-Energy and Petroleum, Foreign Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance.

He also was the president of the Union of South American Nations and led in 2014 Venezuela's diplomatic representation in Cuba until his death on Monday in Havana.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban Foreign Trade Minister visits Canada to expand trade links

Cuba's Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, is making an official visit to Canada until Thursday, November 22, to participate in official meetings with politicians and representatives of the business sectors in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

Local media report that the Cuban official will meet with Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, and Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development, to discuss the expansion of trade relations, investment and cooperation between the two nations.

Malmierca will also hold meetings with the presidents of the Canadian Senate and House of Commons, George Furey and Geoff Regan, respectively.

The Cuban minister and his delegation will make several presentations on new investment opportunities in Cuba and will hold conversations with executives of Canadian companies with a long presence in Cuba, including Sherritt International, as well as businessmen, officials and academics from the government of Quebec, whose province is Cuba's largest trading partner in Canada.

Canada is Cuba's fourth-largest trading partner in the world, the second-largest investor and the first source of tourists to the island.

  • Published in Cuba
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