HAVANA – Spain’s secretary of state for international cooperation and Ibero-America, Fernando Garcia Casas, on Monday began a two-day official visit to Cuba to strengthen bilateral ties.
“I think that Cuba and Spain are partners, we’re societies that are very close, who have a very intense framework of bilateral relations ... which we have to advance. We’ve got more and more people with dual nationality, it’s already over 150,000,” said Garcia Casas in remarks to EFE.
The Spanish secretary said that he had brought to Cuba a formal invitation for the island’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez, to visit Spain this year, a trip that Garcia Casas hopes opens the door to other top-level visits between the two countries.
“I’m convinced that in this way we will enter into a virtuous circle in which we can do many things together,” said the official after meeting with Cuba’s vice president and economy minister, Ricardo Cabrisas.
He noted that the invitation to Minister Rodriguez, which he will deliver in a meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon, is the next step after the meeting he held in Brussels with Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Alfonso Dastis with an eye toward signing the political dialogue and cooperation agreement between the island and the European Union on Dec. 12.
In the new relationship with the European bloc, Spain is going to “support and accompany” Cuba in whatever is necessary, because “Spain has always been a facilitator of the convergence of the Latin American countries with the EU.”
“That occurred with the EU-Mercosur accord, with the one with Mexico, with the one with Central America and with the Andean countries. It’s a normal role, a regular role for Spain,” emphasized Garcia Casas, who is visiting Cuba for the first time in his current post.
The Spanish diplomat is scheduled to meet with other top Cuban government officials, representatives from the cultural sphere and the Catholic hierarchy on the island before wrapping up his visit on Tuesday morning.