Cuba and Mexico continue to strengthen their ties of friendship with the visit of the president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, to the Mexican state of Campeche during last weekend. On Saturday, February 11, the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), bestowed upon the Cuban president the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest decoration awarded to a foreign head of state. The act represents a new seal on a close bilateral relationship that goes beyond the symbolic.
Since his coming to power in 2018, López Obrador has been recovering the traditional relation between Mexico Cuba, a relation that had cooled during the last few governments of Mexico. The rapprochement has been forged with economic agreements and political links until reaching its most intense point last year when, demonstrating strong diplomatic support, the Mexican president refused to attend the Summit of the Americas convened by US President Joe Biden in Los Angeles because the Cuban president, among others, was not invited.
“Mexico and Cuba have always maintained relations of political brotherhood,” said AMLO during the tour the presidents took of the museum displaying the works of exemplary Cubans such as José Martí, Pedro Santacilia Palacios, and Manuel Márquez Sterling.
”We could not keep silent as we remember the historic fact that the Granma yacht set sail from the port of Tuxpan, from this Gulf of Mexico, with a group of revolutionaries like Commander Fidel Castro and the legendary guerrilla leader Ernesto Che Guevara, to free Cuba from the Batista dictatorship,” AMLO said. “Most importantly, Cuba has defined, for more than 60 years, with the will and support of an indomitable people, the border that should always exist between sovereignty and the desire for hegemonic domination.”
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The official announcement published by the government of Mexico on Friday, February 10, justifying the high decoration to President Díaz-Canel, which was also given to Fidel Castro, Nelson Mandela and José Mujica, is a compilation of the latest milestones in the Mexico-Cuba relationship.
“For this and many other reasons, you, President Miguel Díaz-Canel, are a distinguished, admired and fraternal guest for the government that I represent. Thank you for coming,” López Obrador stated while awarding the decoration to Díaz-Canel.
‘Always an honor for me to come to the homeland of Benito Juárez’
“I am very happy and honored to set foot on Mexican soil again, to reunite with friends and share, even if it is only for a few hours, with this beloved part of the Latin American family,” said the Cuban president in his message during the welcoming reception.
“We come to thank you for the support we received from you in difficult and uncertain times—the material assistance and technical advice, in vital areas and activities,” the Cuban president highlighted.
“It is always an honor for me to come to the homeland of Benito Juárez, about whom our José Martí wrote such heartfelt appraisals,” he added. “Every Cuban recognizes Juárez as one of the great figures of Our America, a symbol of the dignity of the indigenous peoples and a hero of the struggle against European colonialism and the expansionist ambitions of the powerful neighbor from the north.”
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The two presidents visited a medical center in Campeche where a group of Cuban medical specialists provide service. They are among the nearly 600 Cuban specialists currently working in different parts of Mexico. In May 2022, during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s visit to Cuba, the two countries agreed to send specialists to provide public health services in medical institutions of both countries.
“In less than one year, we are fulfilling what was agreed, and there are already results to show,” President Díaz-Canel commented. “We are very proud to see Cuban doctors here in Campeche.”
Another part of the official tour was dedicated to view the progress of the Mayan Train, an ambitious public railway project which passes through five states of south-east Mexico, including Campeche. The construction project is being carried out with Cuban collaboration. More than 20,000 tons of ballast stones used in construction have been imported from Cuba.
“We will always be indebted to Mexico for having given a home, inspiration, and strength to those who fought for our freedom, like José Martí, Fidel Castro, Raúl, Che Guevara, and the Centennial Generation,” Díaz-Canel concluded. “Thank you for your support and honesty. Thank you Mexico.”
(Resumen Latinoamericano – English) by Alejandra García
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