Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, stated on July 17, that his official visit to Cuba had two objectives: expressing his gratitude for the work of the Cuban people and government in the Colombian peace process, and expanding economic and commercial ties.
Santos, who participated in a bilateral business forum, noted that Colombia will always remember Cuba thanks to the support the country provided to ending an internal conflict that had lasted more than 50 years.
Referring to the expansion of economic ties, Santos explained that among the relations shared by Cuba and Colombia are those maintained through the Latin American Integration Association (Aladi), which facilitate commercial transactions and reduce tariffs.
He noted that his country is currently immersed in a process of economic opening, which includes increased investments in Central America and the Caribbean, while commenting that the signing of peace accords had opened up new opportunities for the national economy and tourism, which showed an increase of 40% in the first half of 2017.
Likewise, Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuban minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, reported on the main characteristics of the Cuban economy, noting efforts to attract foreign investment.
Also on July 17, as part of his official visit, the Colombian President paid tribute to Cuba's national hero, José Martí, at the Memorial in Havana's Plaza de la Revolución, placing a floral wreath at the base of the independence hero's statue. He visited the museum at the site, accompanied by Rogelio Sierra, Cuban deputy minister of Foreign Affairs.