Economic ties with Europe will continue to be a priority for Cuba in building an efficient and sustainable socialist economy, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez stated in Brussels on December 12.
Speaking at the signing of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between Havana and the European Union (EU), Rodríguez noted that this agreement will contribute to enriching a historically and culturally intense relationship, and to further developing political, cultural, commercial, financial, scientific, academic, sports, and cooperation ties.
During his speech, the minister recalled the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, during a meeting of heads of state and government of the region in 2014 in Havana.
According to Rodríguez, this declaration urges “all member states of the international community to fully respect this declaration in their relations with CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) member states.” He added that “This is how we treat others and thus how we hope to be treated.”
Rodríguez noted that this “is the basis for achieving a civilized and beneficial coexistence among nations, regardless of their dimensions, socio-political models, and levels of development.”
Referring to Havana’s relations with the EU, he recalled Cuba’s readiness over decades to work to negotiate an agreement such as that being signed today.
He also recalled the words of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, in 2003: “When the European Union was created, we applauded it, because it was the only intelligent and useful thing they could do as a counterweight to the hegemonism of their powerful military ally and economic competitor” (in reference to the United States).
According to the minister, in the current context, “It is imperative to build a democratic and multipolar world to save humanity.”
To this end, he considered as essential a commitment to the defense of peace, mindful of the interconnection between peace and development, the imperative of eliminating poverty, of guaranteeing the dignity of all human beings, and of halting the threats of nuclear weapons and climate change.
Rodríguez recalled the words of Cuban President Raúl Castro on stating that the country is open to building a new stage in relations with the EU, on the basis of respect and reciprocity.
There are particularly favorable opportunities and conditions, despite the persistent extraterritorial application of the U.S. blockade of Cuba, for the European Union and the countries that comprise it, to play a greater part in our development plans,” the Cuban minister concluded.