Chile receives Cuban
Vice President Díaz-Canel also pays his
respects to Salvador Allende and
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet
on March 11 received Cuba’s First Vice President
Miguel Díaz-Canel, who led the country’s delegation
to the inaugural ceremony during which Bachelet
assumed the presidency.
During the positive encounter, Díaz-Canel
conveyed greetings from President Raúl Castro and
expressed Cuba’s willingness to renew and expand
relations with Chile, not only on the diplomatic
level, but in the areas of economy, trade and
The Chilean President acknowledged
the important role played by Cuba in the Community
of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and
reaffirmed her commitment to strengthening relations
between the two countries.
In a statement to Prensa Latina,
Díaz-Canel said that he traveled to Chile with the
intention of improving ties with the South American
country and described his meeting with the new
President as warm and amiable.
He commented that the two leaders
analyzed all the opportunities which exist for
strengthening political relations, as well as
cooperative, economic, and commercial ties.
He expressed the opinion that there
is great potential for a closer relationship based
on several collaborative programs which were
approved in 2009 during Bachelet’s previous
administration, affirming that these provide ample
opportunity to move forward and develop stronger
He commented that the historic ties
between the two peoples are long-standing, going
back to the friendship between Allende and Fidel,
which will always be a reference point, he said.
Díaz-Canel also referred to the
commitment made by Bachelet during the recent CELAC
Summit in Havana, in which she emphasized working
together for Latin American integration.
He also took the opportunity to
thank Raúl Benítez, regional director of the UN Food
and Agriculture Organization for his recognition of
Cuba. Díaz-Canel reported that the Cuban delegation
had visited the organization’s headquarters in
Santiago de Chile where the director praised Cuba’s
efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. He
reiterated the country’s commitment to this
The Vice President likewise held a
meeting with Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of
the Economic Commission for Latin America and the
Caribbean (CEPAL) and her staff.
Díaz-Canel reported that during his
short visit to Chile, he additionally met with
representatives of several organizations promoting
solidarity with Cuba and freedom for the Cuban Five.
He expressed the country’s gratitude for these
efforts and his desire to strengthen ties with these
He spoke about the case of the five
Cuban anti-terrorists unjustly imprisoned in the
United States. Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and
Antonio Guerrero continue to serve long sentences,
while Fernando González and René González have
returned to Cuba after completing theirs in full, 17
and 15 years, respectively.
During his stay, Díaz-Canel paid his
respects to deceased President Salvador Allende and
long-time Communist Party leader Gladys Marín at
Santiago de Chile’s main cemetery.
"Two great friends of Cuba, two
unforgettable personalities … We cannot overlook
this tribute which enriches the strong ties between
our peoples," Díaz Canel concluded. (Granma
International news staff)