Bruno Rodríguez, in a file picture.
The Diplomat. 02/03/2017
Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez, will make an official visit to Spain in April, responding to a formal invitation sent by his Spanish colleague, Alfonso Dastis. The invitation was transmitted through the Spanish secretary of State for Cooperation and for Ibero-America, Fernando García Casas, during the visit he made to Havana.
García Casas was on the island on Monday and Tuesday, where he developed a long agenda of contacts with the Cuban authorities, among them the foreign minister Rodríguez and the deputy foreign minister Rogelio Sierra. Besides, he tackled economic aspects with the vice-president and Minister of Economy and Planning, Ricardo Cabrisas, and with the deputy minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Antonio Carricarte.
The visit of the secretary of State has served to reactivate the exchange of high level contacts, which was slowed down in the last months due to the political uncertainty in Spain, and that, once the visit of Bruno Rodríguez takes place, could make possible throughout this session a trip of the president of the Government, Mariano Rajoy, to Cuba, if the circumstances allowed it.
According to a statement of the Foreign Ministry, García Casas, who met, in Havana, the Association of Spanish Businesspeople in Cuba, which includes 230 companies, has been able to know first-hand the needs of Spanish companies present on the island and, at the same time, “explore with the local authorities the means for a better and deeper collaboration on economy and investments, especially, facing the economic reforms that the country is developing”.
García Casas announces that a new Spanish Consulate will open in Santiago de Cuba
During his visit, the secretary of State was also interested in the problems derived from the great demand of Spanish nationality in Cuba under the Law on Historical Memory. Therefore, one of the priority projects for Spain in Cuba will be the strengthening of its consular assistance and the opening of an office in the city of Santiago, in the east, given the high number of people with double nationality, amounting to about 150,000. “The consulate of Havana works perfectly, but it is under lots of pressure”, García Casas declared, who also pointed out that a lot has been already discussed with the Cuban authorities regarding this matter.
Besides, the secretary of State was interested in the cooperation programmes that Spain has with Cuba, which amount to around 41.5 million euros, especially focusing on the areas of Havana and the east of the country.