Foreign Minister stresses importance of deepening relations with the South

In remarks on Cuban television, Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez, has set out Cuba’s Foreign Policy objectives for 2019, laying emphasis on the growing threat from the US and the need to deepen relations with other nations in the hemisphere.

In remarks made on the flagship current affairs programme Mesa Redonda, Rodríguez said that “the defence of the cause of the southern countries” will be a priority this year for Cuban foreign policy. He also said that Cuba saw Venezuela as “an essential place for the independence and sovereignty of Our Americas”.

Laying particular emphasis on strengthening relations with Latin America and the Caribbean in the light of their “growing complexity” due to the “application of the Monroe Doctrine (by the US)” he said that  “changes in the correlation of forces …. have meant the rise to power of governments with conservative and even neo-fascist tendencies”.

He noted specifically that the Bolivarian Alternative (ALBA), the summits of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and CELAC’s meetings with the European Union provided opportunities “for the mobilisation of the forces of the left”. He also made mention of the significance of the December 2017 CARICOM-Cuba Summit, attended by the former President, Raúl Castro.

Speaking about relations with the US, Rodríguez said that accusations about the alleged health incidents involving US diplomats had  been “framed” in order to affect the bilateral ties which had improved in 2015 and 2016 under President Obama. This “political manipulation continues to affect relations”, he said, noting that the current US Administration continues “to pursue a scenario of bilateral confrontation”. He also warned that in 2019 “some officials may seek new measures to aggravate the impact (of the embargo)”.

Despite this, he said, the number of Americans visiting Cuba continues to grow. Although the US Government was promoting a “scenario of confrontation”, more than 630,000 US citizens visited in 2018 suggesting, he said, that the American people do not believe the “hoaxes” that have been perpetrated about Cuba.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he emphasised the importance of addressing climate change in the multilateral sphere; strengthening relations with Africa given Cuba’s historic ties and the continent’s economic advancement; the significant number of Cubans living outside of the country who continue to visit; the need to address orderly and safe migration; and the importance of strengthening the Ministry’s communications nationally and internationally using social media.

Cuba’s 2019 foreign policy would, he said, “be one of continuity, permanent updating and renewal”.

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