Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cuba/México: Mexican Foreign Secretary Visits Havana as Bilateral Trade Doubles

According to The Latin American TribuneMexican Foreign Secretary José Antonio Meade on Monday (September 8) began a visit to Cuba as part of a tour to promote the agenda of the Ibero-American Summit his country is hosting later this year and to strengthen links with the island.

Meade's arrival was preceded by the publication of an article in Cuban Communist Party daily Granma in which Meade confirmed that strengthening relations with Cuba is a “cornerstone of Mexico’s foreign policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean.” 

Meade will hold high-level meetings in Cuba to evaluate the agreements reached in January between Cuban leader Raúl Castro and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

“On this new visit to Cuba, I’m encouraged by what we’re achieving together to fulfill the objectives set by our presidents, contributing new content to the close relationship between our two nations, which is fully under way...with a clear course,” the Foreign Secretary emphasized. 

COMMENT: Meade also emphasizes that México “is paying very close attention” and fully supports the process of economic reforms being pursued by the Castro government to “update” Cuban socialism. 

“There exists a growing interest in the Mexican private sector in being part of the transformations that are taking place on the island. As a result of this very close relationship, attractive areas for investment in different sectors and cooperation on cultural issues have been found,” he added. 

Last May, a Mexican business mission traveled to Havana to help foster tighter trade links and its members participated in the opening of a ProMexico office there to promote the bilateral economic relationship. 

Trade between the two countries doubled over the past decade and now exceeds $500 million per year. 

Peña Nieto’s predecessor, Felipe Calderon, traveled to Cuba in April 2012, putting an end to several years of tensions between the two countries, particularly during the 2000-2006 administration of Mexican President Vicente Fox.