HAVANA – An Ecuadorian naval training vessel arrived Saturday on an official three-day visit to Havana, where its crew members will hold meetings with Cuban authorities and tour areas of interest in the city.
The Guayas fired a 21-gun salvo upon its arrival at Havana Harbor, a gesture of goodwill that was reciprocated by the Cuba revolutionary armed forces battery located at the old colonial fort of San Carlos de la Cabaña.
The Ecuadorian sailors will carry out a program of activities during their stay that will include courtesy visits to the head of the Cuban navy and provincial government officials, the Cuban armed forces said in a brief note published in the island’s state-run media.
The training vessel, a three-masted sailing ship that is 78.4 meters (257-feet) long and has a 4.5-meter draft, will be open to the public between Saturday and Monday.
Built at a shipyard in Bilbao, Spain, and launched in 1976, the Guayas was named in honor of the Guayas River and the Guayas steamship, a vessel built in 1841 that was the first of its kind to be constructed in South America and which is displayed on Ecuador’s coat of arms.
It marks the fifth time the vessel is making a stop at Havana Harbor during a training journey.
Cuba and Ecuador became close political allies during the 2007-2017 presidency of Ecuadorian former head of state Rafael Correa.
Correa, who stepped down in May, chose Cuba as one of his last trips abroad as president.
He traveled to Santiago de Cuba in May to visit late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro’s tomb.
Correa also visited the Cuban capital, where he received an honorary degree from the University of Havana and the Order of Jose Marti, the highest distinction bestowed by the Communist-ruled island on foreigners, from Cuban leader Raul Castro.