Castro Ends State Visit to Mexico, the Symbol of Renewed Relations

Nov 11, 2015 by

LATIN AMERICAN HERALD TRIBUNE
November 8, 2015

Castro Ends State Visit to Mexico, the Symbol of Renewed Relations

altMERIDA, Mexico – Cuban President Raul Castro left the southwestern city of Merida on Saturday after wrapping up a symbolic state visit during which both countries confirmed the total recovery of their bilateral relationship.

The Mexican presidency told EFE that the president left the country Saturday morning after his first state visit since taking office in 2006.

The visit signifies the definitive restoration of ties between the two nations following the rapprochement with the island sought by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto after a decade of the Mexican government keeping its distance, something the two leaders made clear in a message to the media.

“In the relaunch of this bilateral relationship, in the encounter between sister nations, we have renewed the affection, respect and admiration that both peoples have shared over time,” Peña Nieto said, while Castro recalled the “special relationship” between the two countries.

On Friday night, Castro attended a private reception where he received the General Salvador Alvarado Medal, the highest distinction awarded by the Yucatan state government to distinguished visitors and outstanding personages of the state, the Yucatan government said Saturday in a communique.

State Gov. Rolando Zapata presented the decoration to “the historic leader of the revolution of that Antillean country, which honors men and women who carry the message of social justice, equality, dignity and solidarity.”

In response, Castro said the award “symbolizes and confirms the historic ties that exist between the Yucatan and that Caribbean nation.”

Castro also spoke about the half-century of the U.S. economic embargo, which he slammed as “illegal and immoral” and thanked Mexico for its role in denouncing it internationally.

Nonetheless, the meeting between the presidents focused on other matters, particularly on the interest Mexican business owners and executives have in the island following the economic opening promoted by Castro.

In an interview with EFE, Francisco Gonzalez, director of ProMexico, the organization that promotes Mexico abroad, said that more than 150 companies have approached his group over the past year-and-a-half seeking opportunities in Cuba, particularly attractive for its geographical proximity and the modernization of its economic model.

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