A memorandum of understanding between diplomatic institutions and a program for cooperation in sectors such as science, sports and culture were the most significant results of a visit to Cuba by Portugal’s Foreign Minister, Augusto Santos, last month.

During a stay that commenced on June 27, the Foreign Minister undertook a range of activities that all served to express interest in enhancing cooperation between the two countries.

Santos thanked his host, Bruno Rodríguez, for making his first visit to Cuba possible and he highlighted the possibilities that existed for cooperation between two states that share both a similar sized population and national territory.

For his part, the Cuban diplomatic chief stated that links between both nations were characterized by a fluid and cordial exchanges of opinions and he confirmed a desire to extend trade and investment ties.

Rodriguez also thanked Portugal for its stance against the now more than fifty year old economic, commercial and financial Blockade of Cuba by the U.S. and indicated his support for enhanced cultural, technical and scientific and academic relations, commercial and investment cooperation and the reception of Portuguese tourists.

Both ministers were present for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between their diplomatic institutions, that according to Cuban foreign Ministry communication, gives form to the reciprocal interest in establishing and developing of joint collaborations.

In addition to the Memorandum, Cuba and Portugal signed a Program for Cooperation between 2016 and 2019 in the language, education, science, culture, youth, sport and social communication fields.

During his time in Cuba Santos also met with Cuba’s first vice-president Miguel Díaz-Canel, with whom he discussed isues regarding world affairs and concurred on the positive state of bilateral ties and their potential for development.

The Portuguese minister also took advantage of his visit to proclaim during a conference he presented to the Institute of International Relations in Havana in favor of more intense and culturally centered political and economic talks between Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe.

Santos, who also visited the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, added that cultural dialogue should not be viewed merely as economic or geopolitical window dressing, but rather as a decisive instrument to bring about a more equal and just international order.

He emphasized the importance of the Latin American economy, led by nations such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina and he reiterated that there were different forms of promoting ties between Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, amongst which rank cooperation accords and academic exchanges.

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