Foreign relations of Cuba
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politics and government of
Cuba's foreign policy has been fluid throughout history depending on world events and other variables, including relations with the United States. Without massive Soviet subsidies and its primary trading partner, Cuba became increasingly isolated in the late 1980s and early 1990s after the fall of the USSR and the end of the Cold War, but Cuba opened up more with the rest of the world again starting in the late 1990s when they have since entered bilateral co-operation with several South American countries, most notably Venezuela and Bolivia beginning in the late 1990s, especially after the Venezuela election of Hugo Chávez in 1999, who became a staunch ally of Castro's Cuba. The United States used to stick to a policy of isolating Cuba until December 2014, when Barack Obama announced a new policy of diplomatic and economic engagement. The European Union accuses Cuba of "continuing flagrant violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms". Cuba has developed a growing relationship with the People's Republic of China and Russia. In all, Cuba continues to have formal relations with 160 nations, and provided civilian assistance workers – principally medical – in more than 20 nations. More than one million exiles have escaped to foreign countries. Cuba's present foreign minister is Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.
Cuba is currently a lead country on the United Nations Human Rights Council, and is a founding member of the organization known as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, a member of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Latin American Integration Association and the United Nations. Cuba is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and hosted its September 2006 summit. In addition as a member of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Cuba was re-appointed as the chair- of the special committee on transportation issues for the Caribbean region. Following a meeting in November 2004, several leaders of South America have attempted to make Cuba either a full or associate member of the South American trade bloc known as Mercosur.
Spanish colonial period
Prior to achieving its independence, Cuba was a colony of Spain.
Prior to the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, Cuba maintained strong economic and political ties to the United States. From 1902 until its abrogation in 1934, the Platt Amendment authorized the US to use military force to preserve Cuba's independence.
In 1917, Cuba entered World War I on the side of the allies.
Cuba joined the League of Nations in 1920.
In 1941, Cuba declared war on Italy, Germany, and Japan.
Cuba joined the United Nations in 1945.
Cuba joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1948.
During the Presidency of Fulgencio Batista, Cuba did not initially face trade restrictions. In mid-1958, the United States imposed an arms embargo on the Batista administration.
The Cold War
Following the establishment of diplomatic ties to the Soviet Union, and after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuba became increasingly dependent on Soviet markets and military and economic aid. Castro was able to build a formidable military force with the help of Soviet equipment and military advisors. The KGB kept in close touch with Havana, and Castro tightened Communist Party control over all levels of government, the media, and the educational system, while developing a Soviet-style internal police force.
Castro's alliance with the Soviet Union caused something of a split between him and Guevara. In 1966, Guevara left for Bolivia in an ill-fated attempt to stir up revolution against the country's government.
On August 23, 1968, Castro made a public gesture to the USSR that caused the Soviet leadership to reaffirm their support for him. Two days after Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia to repress the Prague Spring, Castro took to the airwaves and publicly denounced the Czech rebellion. Castro warned the Cuban people about the Czechoslovakian 'counterrevolutionaries', who "were moving Czechoslovakia towards capitalism and into the arms of imperialists". He called the leaders of the rebellion "the agents of West Germany and fascist reactionary rabble." In return for his public backing of the invasion, at a time when some Soviet allies were deeming the invasion an infringement of Czechoslovakia's sovereignty, the Soviets bailed out the Cuban economy with extra loans and an immediate increase in oil exports.
The relationship between the Soviet Union's KGB and the Cuban Intelligence Directorate was complex and marked by times of extremely close cooperation and times of extreme competition. The Soviet Union saw the new revolutionary government in Cuba as an excellent proxy agent in areas of the world where Soviet involvement was not popular on a local level. Nikolai Leninov, the KGB Chief in Mexico City, was one of the first Soviet officials to recognize Fidel Castro's potential as a revolutionary and urged the Soviet Union to strengthen ties with the new Cuban leader. Moscow saw Cuba as having far more appeal with new revolutionary movements, western intellectuals, and members of the New Left with Cuba's perceived David and Goliath struggle against US imperialism. Shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1963, Moscow invited 1,500 DI agents, including Che Guevara, to the KGB's Moscow Center for intensive training in intelligence operations.
After the revolution of 1959, Cuba soon took actions inimical to American trade interests on the island. In response, the U.S. stopped buying Cuban sugar and refused to supply its former trading partner with much needed oil. Relations between the countries deteriorated rapidly. In April 1961, following air attacks preparing for the Bay of Pigs Invasion by CIA-trained Cuban exiles, prime minister Fidel Castro declared Cuba to be a socialist republic, and moved quickly to develop the growing relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union.
In 1962, Cuba was expelled from the Organization of American States. Shortly afterwards, many nations throughout Latin America broke ties with Cuba, leaving the island increasingly isolated in the region and dependent on Soviet trade and cooperation.
Following the establishment of diplomatic ties, and after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Cuba became increasingly dependent on Soviet markets and military and economic aid. Cuba was able to build a large military force with the help of Soviet equipment and military advisers, but as the years passed, Cuba's economy began to decline as a result on mismanagement of the economy and low productivity, which was further aggravated by the U.S. embargo. Despite this, the Soviets also kept in close touch with Havana, sharing varying close relations until the collapse of the bloc in 1990.
Relations in Latin America during the Cold War
"Cuba has a unique symbolic allure. It is the small country that confronted the U.S. empire and has survived despite the attempts by all U.S. presidents since to subdue its communist government. It is the island with iconic leaders like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, and the Latin American country that in the language of revolutionaries everywhere embodies the struggle of socialist humanism against the materialism of capitalist societies. Cuba is also the small nation that in the past sent its troops to die in faraway lands in Latin America and even Africa fighting for the poor."
During the Cold War, Cuba's influence in the Americas was inhibited by the Monroe Doctrine and the dominance of the United States. Despite this Fidel Castro became an influential figurehead for leftist groups in the region, extending support to Marxist Revolutionary movements throughout Latin America, most notably aiding the Sandinistas in overthrowing Somoza in Nicaragua in 1979. In 1971, Fidel Castro took a month-long visit to Chile. The visit, in which Castro participated actively in the internal politics of the country, holding massive rallies and giving public advice to Salvador Allende, was seen by those on the political right as proof to support their view that "The Chilean Way to Socialism" was an effort to put Chile on the same path as Cuba.
Intervention in Cold War conflicts
Africa was the target for Cuba's entry into a leadership role in world affairs. It was chosen in part to represent Cuban solidarity with its own large element of African descent. More important, it made Cuban revolutionary traditions a worldwide model, and the more often that model was followed, the stronger Cuba would be in terms of prestige and untouchability. Wolf Grabendorff says, "Most African states view Cuban intervention in Africa as help in achieving independence through self-help rather than as a step toward the type of dependence which would result from a similar commitment by the super-powers." Starting in the 1970s, Cuba's intervention in Africa targeted 17 different nations and three insurgencies. It soon leading Cuban soldiers engaging in frontline military combat. In doing so Castro aligned Cuba with African insurgencies against colonial vestiges and specifically against South Africa. Furthermore, by providing military aid Cuba won trading partners for the Soviet bloc and potential converts to Marxism.
In the 1970s, Cuba expanded military aid programs to Africa in the Middle East, sending military missions to Sierra Leone in 1972, South Yemen in 1973, Equatorial Guinea in 1973, and Somalia in 1974. It sent combat troops to Syria in 1973 to fight against Israel. Cuba was following the general Soviet policy of détente with the West, and secret discussions were opened with the United States about peaceful coexistence. They ended abruptly when Cuba sent combat troops to fight in Angola.
Intervention in Angola
On November 4, 1975, Castro ordered the deployment of Cuban troops to Angola to aid the Marxist MPLA against UNITA forces, which were being supported by the People's Republic of China, and later the United States, Israel, and South Africa (see: Cuba in Angola). After two months on their own, Moscow aided the Cuban mission with the USSR engaging in a massive airlift of Cuban forces into Angola. On this, Nelson Mandela is said to have remarked "Cuban internationalists have done so much for African independence, freedom, and justice." Cuban troops were also sent to Marxist Ethiopia to assist Ethiopian forces in the Ogaden War with Somalia in 1977. Cuba sent troops along with the Soviet Union to aid the FRELIMO and MPLA governments in Mozambique and Angola, respectively, while they were fighting U.S. and South African-backed insurgent groups RENAMO (supported by Rhodesia as well) and UNITA. He also aided the government of Mengistu Haile Mariam in Ethiopia during its conflict with Somalia. Castro never disclosed the number of casualties in Soviet African wars, but one estimate is 14,000, a high number for the small country.
Intervention in Latin America
In addition, Castro extended support to Marxist Revolutionary movements throughout Latin America, such as aiding the Sandinistas in overthrowing the Somoza government in Nicaragua in 1979. It has been claimed by the Carthage Foundation-funded Center for a Free Cuba that an estimated 14,000 Cubans were killed in Cuban military actions abroad.
Leadership of non-aligned movement
In the 1970s, Cuba made a major effort to assume a leadership role in the world's nonalignment movement, which represented over 90 Third World nations. Its combat troops in Angola greatly impressed fellow non-aligned nations. Cuba also established military advisory missions, and economic and social reform programs. Apart from interventions in revolutionary conflicts and civil wars, Cuba made world-wide commitments to social-and economic programs in 40 poor countries. This was made possible by the improved Cuban economy in the 1970s. The largest programs involved major construction projects, in which 8,000 Cubans provided technical advice, planning, and training of engineers. Educational programs involved 3,500 teachers. In addition thousands of specialists, technicians, and engineers were sent as advisors to agricultural mining and transportation sectors around the globe. Cuba hosted 10,000 foreign students, chiefly from Africa and Latin America, in health programs and technical schools. Cuba's extensive program of medical support to international attention. A 2007 study reported:
- Since the early 1960s, 28,422 Cuban health workers have worked in 37 Latin American countries, 31,181 in 33 African countries, and 7,986 in 24 Asian countries. Throughout a period of four decades, Cuba sent 67,000 health workers to structural cooperation programs, usually for at least two years, in 94 countries ... an average of 3,350 health workers working abroad every year between 1960 and 2000.
The 1976 world conference of the Nonaligned Movement applauded Cuban internationalism, "which assisted the people of Angola in frustrating the expansionist and colonialist strategy of South Africa's racist regime and its allies." The next nonaligned conference was scheduled for Havana in 1979, to be chaired by Castro, with his becoming the de facto spokesman for the Movement. The conference in September 1979 marked the zenith of Cuban prestige. The nonaligned nations believed that Cuba was not aligned with the Soviet camp in the Cold War. However, in December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, an active member of the Nonaligned Movement. At the United Nations, Nonaligned members voted 56 to 9, with 26 abstaining, to condemn the Soviet Union. Cuba in fact was deeply in debt financially and politically to Moscow, and voted against the resolution. It lost its reputation as nonaligned in the Cold War. Castro, instead of becoming a high-profile spokesman for the Movement, remain quiet and inactive, and in 1983 leadership passed to India, which had abstained on the UN vote. Cuba lost its bid to become a member of the United Nations Security Council. Cuba's ambitions for a role in global leadership had totally collapsed.
Post–Cold War relations
In the post–Cold War environment Cuban support for guerrilla warfare in Latin America has largely subsided, though the Cuban government continued to provide political assistance and support for left leaning groups and parties in the developing Western Hemisphere.
When Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited Cuba in 1989, the ideological relationship between Havana and Moscow was strained by Gorbachev's implementation of economic and political reforms in the USSR. "We are witnessing sad things in other socialist countries, very sad things", lamented Castro in November 1989, in reference to the changes that were sweeping such communist allies as the Soviet Union, East Germany, Hungary, and Poland. The subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 had an immediate and devastating effect on Cuba.
Cuba today works with a growing bloc of Latin American politicians opposed to the "Washington consensus", the American-led doctrine that free trade, open markets, and privatization will lift poor third world countries out of economic stagnation. The Cuban government condemned neoliberalism as a destructive force in the developing world, creating an alliance with Presidents Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia in opposing such policies.
Currently, Cuba has diplomatically friendly relationships with Presidents Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, with Maduro as perhaps his staunchest ally in the post-Soviet era. Cuba has sent thousands of teachers and medical personnel to Venezuela to assist Maduro's socialist oriented economic programs. Maduro, in turn provides Cuba with lower priced petroleum. Cuba's debt for oil to Venezuela is believed to be on the order of one billion US dollars.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Angola||See Angola–Cuba relations
Angola-Cuba diplomatic relations are, for Angola, second only to relations with the United States. During Angola's civil war, Cuban forces fought to install a Marxist–Leninist MPLA-PT government; against Western-backed UNITA and FLNA guerrillas backed by the South African apartheid state. For the time being South African forces were repelled though the UNITA insurgency continued; eventually Cuban forces withdrew from the country, especially as Cuba faced tremendous economic difficulties as a result of the Soviet Union's collapse. The outcome of Cuban withdrawal and the peace accords resulted in the MPLA changing from a Marxist–Leninist party to a Multi-Party Democratic system based on free market principles (the MPLA also dropped the "PT" extension to their name as a clear sign of dropping their Communist aspirations). From an economic stand point, Cuba has lost its preferred status in Angola and South Africa has become the biggest single investor and trading partner with Angola (outside of oil sales).
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||
|Ethiopia||18 July 1975||See Cuba–Ethiopia relations|
|Kenya||See Cuba–Kenya relations
|Namibia||See Cuba–Namibia relations
Cuban-Namibian relations began during the South African Border War, when Cuba helped establish a number of training camps in Angola for the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), armed wing of the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO). Cuba also supported both SWAPO and PLAN through a number of political and diplomatic initiatives. Since independence, Namibia and Cuba have held joint meetings every two years for Economic, Scientific-Technical and Commercial Cooperation. In 2005, it was reported that 1,460 Cuban professionals had worked in Namibia, including 208 in 2005.
|Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic||30 January 1980||See Cuba–Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic relations
Cuba recognized the SADR on 20 January 1980 and formal diplomatic relations were established on 30 January 1980. A Sahrawi embassy was opened in Havana in April 1980 and the Cuban embassy in Algiers, Algeria is accredited to the SADR.
The Cuban government initially pledged to send one hundred and sixty five health workers to Sierra Leone to take part in combating the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. Later the Cuban government expanded this pledge with an additional three hundred health workers being sent throughout the region.
|South Africa||See Cuba–South Africa relations|
Cuba has supported a number of leftist groups and parties in Latin America and the Caribbean since the 1959 revolution. In the 1960s Cuba established close ties with the emerging Guatemalan social movement led by Luis Augusto Turcios Lima, and supported the establishment of the URNG, a militant organization that has evolved into one of Guatemala's current political parties. In the 1980s Cuba backed both the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and the FMLN in El Salvador, providing military and intelligence training, weapons, guidance, and organizational support.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Argentina||12 May 1909||See Argentina–Cuba relations|
Barbados was one of the first nations in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) bloc to form relations with the Republic of Cuba in 1972. On October 6, 1976 the Cubana de Aviación Flight 455 crashed off the coast of Barbados after a U.S. assisted terrorist plot.
Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1995.
|Bolivia||See Bolivia–Cuba relations
|Brazil||See Brazil–Cuba relations
With the electoral win of the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2002 ties between Cuba and Brazil have steadily warmed. Brazil continues to play its part in trying to revive and upgrade the offshore oil and gas infrastructure of Cuba. In addition, talks led by Brazil are underway seeking to develop a framework for Cuba to become a normalised affiliate member of the Mercosur bloc of countries.
|Canada||1945||See Canada–Cuba relations
Canada has always maintained consistently cordial relations with Cuba, in spite of considerable pressure from the United States, and the island is also one of the most popular travel destinations for Canadian citizens. Canada-Cuba relations can be traced back to the 18th century, when vessels from the Atlantic provinces of Canada traded codfish and beer for rum and sugar. Cuba was the first country in the Caribbean selected by Canada for a diplomatic mission. Official diplomatic relations were established in 1945, when Emile Vaillancourt, a noted writer and historian, was designated Canada's representative in Cuba. Canada and Mexico were the only two countries in the hemisphere to maintain uninterrupted diplomatic relations with Cuba following the Cuban Revolution in 1959.
In 1994, a joint venture was formed between the Cuban Nickel Union and the Canadian firm Sherritt International, which operates a mining and processing plant on the island in Moa. A second enterprise, Cobalt Refinery Co. Inc., was created in Alberta for nickel refining. Canada has been critical of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, and strongly objected to the Helms-Burton Act. In 1996 Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy stated: "Canada shares the U.S. objectives of improving human rights standards and moving to more representative government in Cuba. But we are concerned that the Helms-Burton Act takes the wrong approach. That is why we have been working with other countries to uphold the principles of international law". In 1996 a Private Member's Bill was introduced, but not made law, in the Canadian Parliament; this law called the Godfrey–Milliken Bill was in response to the extraterritoriality of the aforementioned Act.
Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Fidel Castro were personal friends. Castro was among Pierre Trudeau's pallbearers at his funeral in 2000. Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Fidel Castro also maintained a close relationship.
|Chile||See Chile–Cuba relations
Cuba has been since the 1960s a reference point to left wing politicians in Chile. Recently relations to Cuba has been hot subject in Concertación politics since the Christian Democrat Party of Chile, member of the Concertación, has supported a harder line in the diplomatic relations with Cuba while the Socialist Party of Chile has opposed this.
In 1971, despite an Organization of American States convention that no nation in the Western Hemisphere would have a relationship with Cuba (the only exception being Mexico, which had refused to adopt that convention), Castro took a month-long visit to Chile, following the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba. The visit, in which Castro participated actively in the internal politics of the country, holding massive rallies and giving public advice to Salvador Allende, was seen by those on the political right as proof to support their view that "The Chilean Way to Socialism" was an effort to put Chile on the same path as Cuba.
Cuba gave training, money, medicines, weapons and safe haven to members of Colombian guerrilla movements, especially to the ELN and also to members of the FARC, both of which were founded in the early 1960s. In the years leading up to his death, Fidel Castro made gestures of reconciliation with different Colombian government administrations, and has been considered responsible for facilitating talks between them and the opposing guerrilla groups.
Costa Rica broke relations with Cuba in 1961 to protest Cuban support of the left in Central America and renewed formal diplomatic ties with Fidel Castro's government in March 2009. In 1995, Costa Rica established a consular office in Havana. Cuba opened a consular office in Costa Rica in 2001, but relations continued to be difficult. In 2006, shortly after the death of Augusto Pinochet, Costa Rican President Óscar Arias compared Fidel Castro's human rights record to that of the former Chilean president. In response, Cuban officials released a statement describing the Washington aligned Arias as a "vulgar mercenary" of U.S. officials, and asserting that Washington "always had on hand another opportunistic clown ready to follow its aggressive plans against Cuba."
Cuba and El Salvador resumed diplomatic relations on June 1, 2009. El Salvador previously suspended diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 due to the Cuban Revolution. Diplomatic ties were resumed after El Salvador's new president Mauricio Funes, who had pledged to reestablish them, was sworn into office. El Salvador is also the very last Latin American nation to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba.
|Grenada||See Cuba–Grenada relations
|Haiti||See Cuba-Haiti relations
|Mexico||1902||See Cuba–Mexico relations
Before the Cuban revolution, Mexico was the country where several Cubans were exiled fleeing political persecution by the government of Batista like Julio Antonio Mella, Juan Marinello, Fidel Castro and Raúl Castro.
After the Cuban revolution when Cuba was expelled from the Organization of American States, Mexico did not support this resolution and abstained, claiming a non-intervention policy. Relations were stable from 1934 to 1998.
Although the relationship between Cuba and Mexico remains strained, each side appears to make attempts to improve it. In 1998, Fidel Castro apologized when he said that "Mexican kids knew Mickey Mouse better than national heroes of their own country", which led Mexico to recall its ambassador from Havana. Rather, he said, his words were meant to underscore the cultural dominance of the US.
Mexican President Vicente Fox apologized to Fidel Castro in 2002 over statements by Castro, who had taped their telephone conversation, to the effect that Fox forced him to leave a United Nations summit in Mexico so that he would not be in the presence of President Bush, who also attended.
In 2004, Mexico suspended relations with Cuba after businessman Carlos Ahumada was arrested and deported to Mexico and the paperwork provided by the Cuban government proved that there was a plan from the Mexican government to make a complot against the potential presidential candidate from the opposition party Andrés Manuel López Obrador. In April 2012, Mexican president Felipe Calderón made a two-day visit to Havana. In January 2014, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto paid an official visit to Cuba.
Cuba developed close relations with the 1979 Sandinista government in Nicaragua (having supported the Sandinista insurgency against Anastasio Somoza's rule). Cuba proved to be the organization's chief international ally in the civil war against the U.S.-backed Contras. Cuba transported weapons to Panama. From Panama, the Cuban weapons would be taken through Costa Rica to Nicaragua. Cuba continues to have close relations with the Sandinista National Liberation Front, since being re-elected in 2006 for the first time since 1984, they are again the governing party of Nicaragua.
Cuba and Panama have restored diplomatic ties after breaking them off in 2004 when Panama's former president Mireya Moscoso pardoned four Cubans, including Luis Posada Carriles, who were accused of attempting to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro. The foreign minister of each country re-established official diplomatic relations in Havana by signing a document describing a spirit of fraternity that has long linked both nations. In March 2009, the governments of Costa Rica and El Salvador announced that they plan on re-establishing full diplomatic relations with Cuba.
|Peru||See Cuba–Peru relations
|United States||See Cuba–United States relations
The Cuban Revolution led to the deterioration of relations between the two countries, and diplomatic ties were broken on January 3, 1961 after the Eisenhower administration rejected a demand from Fidel Castro to reduce the number of US embassy personnel in Havana. However, since December 2014, relations have improved greatly, and on July 20, 2015, Cuba and the United States re-opened diplomatic relations, upgrading their "interest sections" to embassies. In December 2014, US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced the start of the process to normalize diplomatic relations between the two countries, following 18 months of secret negotiations in Canada and Vatican City. Although relations have greatly improved since then, the United States still holds a trade embargo against Cuba, making it illegal for American companies to do business in Cuba. However, Barack Obama has called for an end to the embargo, saying that it failed to get Cuba to abandon one-party rule.
|Uruguay||See Cuba–Uruguay relations
|Venezuela||See Cuba–Venezuela relations
Relations between Cuba and Venezuela significantly improved during the Presidency of Hugo Chávez. Chávez formed a major alliance with Cuban president Fidel Castro and significant trade relationship with Cuba since his election in 1999. The warm relationship between the two countries continued to intensify. Hugo Chávez described Castro as his mentor and called Cuba "a revolutionary democracy".
Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez was a close ally of Fidel Castro, and described the Fidel Castro–Hugo Chávez–Evo Morales relationship as an "Axis of good". Chávez's formulation is a play on the "axis of evil" phrase used by President Bush when describing governments such as those of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in his 2002 State of the Union Address. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has agreed to barter Venezuelan oil, in exchange for Cuban medical assistance.
On December 15, 2004, an agreement called the ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) was signed to eliminate tariffs and import duties and promote investment as well as technical and educational cooperation between the two countries. Venezuela and Cuba have been close trading partners since a cooperative agreement was signed between them on October 30, 2000. The new agreement meant that Cuban goods and services were to be paid for with Venezuela products and currency. Venezuela will transfer technology, finance development projects in the agriculture, service, energy and infrastructures sectors. Cuba, in addition to providing over 15,000 medical professionals who participate in Barrio Adentro, a social program which provides Cuban healthcare treatment to Venezuelans and trains doctors and specialists, will grant 2,000 annual scholarships to Venezuelan students. Also, the agreement commits the two countries to work together with other Latin American countries to fight illiteracy.
In 2005 the two countries also signed cooperation agreements in the area of energy and electricity, an accord between Venezuela's oil company PDVSA and its Cuban counterpart Cupet to buy and sell crude oil and a crude oil storage agreement between the two companies.
Hugo Chávez, who said he was one of the few people in the world who knew Castro's illness from July 31, 2006, helped Cuba undermine a strict U.S. embargo by sending cheap oil and boosting commercial relations. Agreements between Cuba and Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, have brought more than 20,000 Cuban doctors to Venezuela to provide medical services for the poor. The program, one of numerous oil-funded social projects, helped Chávez build a strong political support base, and he won a reelection bid in December 2006.
A White House point man on plans for a post-Castro transition, Caleb McCarry, recently told the Miami Herald that U.S. estimates of total Venezuelan subsidies to Cuba per year "are up to the $2 billion figure." This is comparable to the $4 billion to $6 billion that the Soviet Union once pumped into Cuba per year.
|Region||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Armenia||27 March 1992|
|China||See China–Cuba relations
As the economy of the Soviet Union fell into a decline which ultimately led to its collapse in 1991, the People's Republic of China has emerged as a new key partner for Cuba's foreign relations and the guardian of socialist countries around the world. Relations between Cuba and China continue to grow including deals for China to set up a possible military base in Cuba, similar to the Bejucal Base and an agreement was signed between China and Cuba for China open more factories producing local goods such as televisions. Cuba has also purchased from China a wide range of items including bicycles, rice cookers, energy-saving lightbulbs and diesel-electric locomotives with the aim of providing a boost to Cuba's national infrastructure.
|Georgia||18 April 1992||
|India||See Cuba–India relations
Relations between India and Cuba have generally been warm and cordial since the Cuban revolution. Both nations are part of the Non-Aligned Movement and Cuba has repeatedly called for a more "democratic" representation of the United Nations Security Council, supporting India's candidacy for permanent membership on a reformed Security Council. Fidel Castro had said that "The maturity of India…, its unconditional adherence to the principles which lay at the foundation of the Non-Aligned Movement give us the assurances that under the wise leadership of Indira Gandhi (the former Prime Minister of India), the non-aligned countries will continue advancing in their inalienable role as a bastion for peace, national independence and development…" 
India provided Cuba with 10,000 tonnes of wheat and 10,000 tonnes of rice in 1992 when Cuba was undergoing hardship.Fidel Castro termed the donation as the "Bread of India" because it was sufficient for one loaf of bread for each one of the then Cuban population of eleven million people. India also provided donations worth two million dollars during the Cuban earthquake.
|Indonesia||See Cuba–Indonesia relations
|Iran||See Iran–Cuba relations
Iran has a productive trade balance with Cuba. The two governments signed a document to bolster cooperation in Havana in January 2006. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called relations "firm and progressive" over the past three decades. Ahmadinejad made an official visit to the island in January 2012 as part of a series of official visits to various countries in Latin America. During his brief stay in Cuba, Ahmadinejad met with Fidel Castro and said that the two countries were "fighting on the same front."
|Iraq||See Cuba–Iraq relations
|Israel||See Cuba–Israel relations
On 29 November 1947, Cuba voted against the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, the Cuban delegation stating they would vote against partition because they could not be party to coercing the majority in Palestine. Nevertheless, Israel came into being on 14 May 1948, and Cuba recognised the State of Israel de facto on 14 January 1949. In March 1949 Cuba voted in the UN Security Council in favour of admission of Israel to the United Nations, and recognised Israel de jure on 18 April 1949. In May of that year Cuba also voted in favour of Israel's admission to the UN in the UN General Assembly.
Israel-Cuba relations have been icy since the 1960s. Cuba didn't succumb to Arab pressure to sever relations with Israel, but sent troops to fight against Israel during the War of Attrition (1967–70), and also joined the expeditionary forces during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and broke diplomatic relations with Israel the same year. Israel has been the only country to consistently vote with the U.S. in the UN General Assembly against the annual resolution criticizing the embargo, which began in 1992.
In late 2010, Fidel Castro, who no longer held office in Cuba's government, stated that he believes Israel has a "right to exist", which is a shift from his regime's earlier policy. Margalit Bejarano posed in 2015 that any future relationship between Israel and Cuba will not solely rest on the course that will take Havana-Washington ties, but will also factor in Cuba's dependence on Iran, on Venezuela and its closeness to the Palestinians.
In the light of the thaw in US-Cuba relations, the Israeli government is re-examining the state of its relations with Cuba – Israel is presently represented in Cuba through an interest section in the Canadian embassy.
|Malaysia||See Cuba–Malaysia relations
|North Korea||29 August 1960||See Cuba–North Korea relations
The Republic of Cuba has had diplomatic relations with North Korea since 29 August 1960. Cuba maintains an embassy in Pyongyang and North Korea maintains an embassy in Havana. Che Guevara then a Cuban government minister visited North Korea in 1960 and proclaimed it a model for Cuba to follow. Cuban leader Fidel Castro visited in 1986. In 2013 a North Korean cargo ship seized while travelling through the Panama Canal and was found to be carrying weapons from Cuba, apparently to be repaired in North Korea. The ship was later returned to the North Korean government.
|Pakistan||See Cuba–Pakistan relations
The relations between the two countries strengthened after Cuba provided humanitarian assistance to the victims of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. Both nations continue to strengthen the bilateral relations especially in the fields of higher education, agriculture, industry and science and technology and have also held talks for military cooperation. In March 2008 ambassador Gustavo Machin Gomez met Gen. Tariq Majid, the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) at Joint Staff Headquarters and discussed issues related to military cooperation. Both of them expressed positive views over the increasing relations between the two nations and were optimistic that the bilateral cooperation will expand in different fields. Majid stressed that Pakistan has formed strong defence infrastructure both in defence production and in shape of military academies to provide help and cooperation to the Military of Cuba. He also said that both countries should use their capacity for expanding military cooperation. In an interview with Overseas Pakistani Friends, Machin Gomez suggested further ways that Cuba and Pakistan might be able to help each other.
|Philippines||See Cuba-Philippines relations
Like Cuba, the Philippines was once a Spanish possession, and Spanish rule in both colonies ended with the victory of the United States in the Spanish–American War. Provisions in the subsequent 1898 Treaty of Paris gave Cuba independence while giving the Philippine Islands over to American control, which was gradually lessened until the country achieved full sovereignty on 4 July 1946. Despite the Philippines being a long-time American ally, it has denounced the American sanctions against Cuba.
|South Korea||Diplomatic relations severed in January 1959||
There is no official-level diplomatic relation between the Cuba and South Korea since Jan 1959. Despite this there has been unofficial interactions in the economic level between the two countries. For instance South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries sent Packaged power station mobile generators to Cuba for the country's power grids. A picture of a PPS was later incorporated into the 10 Cuban convertible peso banknote.
|Thailand||15 May 1958||
|United Arab Emirates||
|Uzbekistan||13 March 2006||See Cuba–Uzbekistan relations|
|Vietnam||December 1960||See Cuba–Vietnam relations
Diplomatic relations between the two countries was established in December 1960. Since then, Vietnam has become Cuba's second-largest trading partner in Asia, with Vietnam trailing behind China. Vietnam, just as Cuba is, is a Communist state and socialist state.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|European Union||See Cuba–European Union relations
European Union (EU) relations with Cuba are governed by the Common Position, as approved by the European Council of Ministers in 1996, which is updated every six months following regular evaluations. According to the Common Position "the objective of the European Union in its relations with Cuba is to encourage a process of transition to a pluralist democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as sustainable recovery and improvement in the living standards of the Cuban people". Cuba rejects the Common Position as interference in its internal affairs. There is an EU Delegation in Havana that works under the responsibility of the EC Delegation in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Cuba benefits from the GPS (Generalized Preference System) preferential treatment for its exports. Furthermore, Cuba does not benefit from the ACP-EU Sugar Protocol but from a sugar quota granted by the EU (some 59,000 tonnes per year; duty paid on this quota is EUR 98/t).
|Andorra||19 October 1995||
|France||See Cuba–France relations|
|Greece||See Cuba–Greece relations
|Holy See||See Cuba–Holy See relations
|Poland||1933||See Cuba–Poland relations
|Russia||See Cuba–Russia relations
Relations between the two countries suffered somewhat during the Boris Yeltsin administration, as Cuba was forced to look for new major allies, such as China, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Relations improved when Vladimir Putin was elected as the new Russian President. Putin, and later Dmitry Medvedev, emphasized re-establishing strong relations with old Soviet allies. In 2008, Medvedev visited Havana and Raúl Castro made a week-long trip to Moscow. In that same year the two governments signed multiple economic agreements and Russia sent tons of humanitarian aid to Cuba. Cuba, meanwhile, gave staunch political support for Russia during the 2008 South Ossetia war. Relations between the two nations are currently at a post-Soviet high, and talks about potentially re-establishing a Russian military presence in Cuba are even beginning to surface.
|Serbia||See Cuba–Serbia relations
Cuba and Serbia have a long history of diplomatic relations from the period of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia when both countries were members of Non-Aligned Movement. Cuba supports Serbia in its stance towards Kosovo considering Kosovo's independence an illegitimate act and a violation of international law and principles of the United Nations Charter. Serbia supports Cuba at the United Nations in condemning the United States embargo.
|Spain||1899||See Cuba–Spain relations|
|United Kingdom||See Cuba–United Kingdom relations|
Cuba has two embassies in Oceania, located in Wellington (opened in November 2007) and also one in Canberra opened October 24, 2008. It also has a Consulate General in Sydney. However, Cuba has official diplomatic relations with Nauru since 2002 and the Solomon Islands since 2003, and maintains relations with other Pacific countries by providing aid.
In 2008, Cuba will reportedly be sending doctors to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Nauru and Papua New Guinea, while seventeen medical students from Vanuatu will study in Cuba. It may also provide training for Fiji doctors. Indeed, Fiji's ambassador to the United Nations, Berenado Vunibobo, has stated that his country may seek closer relations with Cuba, and in particular medical assistance, following a decline in Fiji's relations with New Zealand.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
Australia and Cuba have a growing relationship on positive terms. Relations began in 1989. Relations were given a rebirth in 2009 when the foreign minister Stephen Smith visited Cuba. In 2010, Cuba's foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez visited Australia. The ministers signed a memorandum of understanding in political cooperation between the foreign ministries and for closer bilateral relations. There is a Cuban embassy in Australia. It was opened on 24 October 2008. There are only two Australia–Cuba bilateral treaties, extended to Australia by the British Empire covering extradition.
|Kiribati||See Cuba–Kiribati relations
Relations between Cuba and Kiribati are nascent, having developed in the 2000s (decade). Like other countries in Oceania, Kiribati is a beneficiary of Cuban medical aid; bilateral relations between Tarawa and Havana should be viewed within the scope of Cuba's regional policy in Oceania.
There are currently sixteen Cuban doctors providing specialised medical care in Kiribati, with sixteen more scheduled to join them. Cubans have also offered training to I-Kiribati doctors. Cuban doctors have reportedly provided a dramatic improvement to the field of medical care in Kiribati, reducing the child mortality rate in that country by 80 percent, and winning the proverbial hearts and minds in the Pacific. In response, the Solomon Islands began recruiting Cuban doctors in July 2007, while Papua New Guinea and Fiji considered following suit.
In June 2007, Nauru adopted the "Cuban literacy method", reportedly used also in several other countries. In October 2007, Nauruan Foreign Minister and Trade Minister David Adeang travelled to Cuba to strengthen relations between the two island nations. This led to the creation of a Cuba-Nauru Joint Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation. An unspecified number of Cuban doctors are serving in Nauru.
|Solomon Islands||See Cuba – Solomon Islands relations
Relations between the Solomon Islands and Cuba have only a short history. The two countries moved to establish relations from the 2000s (decade), and particularly from 2007, within the context of Cuba's growing interest in the Pacific Islands region. Like other countries in Oceania, Solomon Islands is a beneficiary of Cuban medical aid; bilateral relations between Havana and Honiara must be viewed within the scope of Cuba's regional policy in Oceania.
In April 2007, the Solomon Star reported that the Solomon Islands' High Commissioner to the United Nations was soon to be sworn in as Ambassador to Cuba. In September 2007, it was announced that 40 Cuban doctors would be sent to the Solomon Islands. The Solomons' Minister of Foreign Affairs Patterson Oti said that Solomon Islander doctors would "learn from their Cuban colleagues in specialized areas". In addition to providing doctors, Cuba provided scholarships for 50 Solomon Islanders to study medicine in Cuba for free.
|Tuvalu||See Cuba–Tuvalu relations
Relations between Tuvalu and Cuba are recent, having developed in the 2000s (decade). Like other countries in Oceania, Tuvalu is a beneficiary of Cuban medical aid; bilateral relations between Funafuti and Havana must be viewed within the scope of Cuba's regional policy in Oceania.
|Vanuatu||See Cuba–Vanuatu relations
Relations between the Republic of Vanuatu and Cuba began shortly after the former gained its independence from France and the United Kingdom in 1980, and began establishing its own foreign policy as a newly independent state. Vanuatu and Cuba established official diplomatic relations in 1983.
International organizations and groups
ACS • ALBA • AOSIS • CELAC • CTO • ECLAC • G33 • G77 • IAEA • ICAO • ICRM • IFAD • ILO • IMO • Interpol • IOC • ISO • ITU • LAES • NAM • OAS • OEI • OPANAL • OPCW • PAHO • Rio Group • UN • UNCTAD • UNESCO • UPU • WCO • WHO • WIPO • WMO
Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Ties between the nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Cuba have remained cordial over the course of the later half of the 20th century. Formal diplomatic relations between the CARICOM economic giants: Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago have existed since 1972, and have over time led to an increase in cooperation between the CARICOM Heads of Government and Cuba. At a summit meeting of sixteen Caribbean countries in 1998, Fidel Castro called for regional unity, saying that only strengthened cooperation between Caribbean countries would prevent their domination by rich nations in a global economy. Cuba, for many years regionally isolated, increased grants and scholarships to the Caribbean countries.
To celebrate ties between the Caribbean Community and Cuba in 2002 the Heads of Government of Cuba and CARICOM have designated the day of December 8 to be called 'CARICOM-Cuba Day'. The day is the exact date of the formal opening of diplomatic relations between the first CARICOM-four and Cuba.
In December 2005, during the second CARICOM/CUBA summit held in Barbados, heads of CARICOM and Cuba agreed to deepen their ties in the areas of socio-economic and political cooperation in addition to medical care assistance. Since the meeting, Cuba has opened four additional embassies in the Caribbean Community including: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Suriname, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This development makes Cuba the only nation to have embassies in all independent countries of the Caribbean Community. CARICOM and Canadian politicians have jointly maintained that through the International inclusion of Cuba, a more positive change might indeed be brought about there (politically) as has been witnessed in the People's Republic of China.
Cuban cooperation with the Caribbean was extended by a joint health programme between Cuba and Venezuela named Operación Milagro, set up in 2004. The initiative is part of the Sandino commitment, which sees both countries coming together with the aim of offering free ophthalmology operations to an estimated 4.5 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean over a ten-year period. According to Denzil Douglas, the prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and the current Caricom chairman, more than 1,300 students from member nations are studying in Cuba while more than 1,000 Cuban doctors, nurses and other technicians are working throughout the region. In 1998 Trinidad Prime Minister Patrick Manning had a heart valve replacement surgery in Cuba and returned in 2004 to have a pacemaker implanted.
In December 2008 the CARICOM Heads of Government opened the third Cuba-CARICOM Summit in Cuba. The summit is to look at closer integration of the Caribbean Community and Cuba. During the summit the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) bestowed Fidel Castro with the highest honour of CARICOM, The Honorary Order of the Caribbean Community which is presented in exceptional circumstances to those who have offered their services in an outstanding way and have made significant contributions to the region.
Organization of American States
Cuba was formerly excluded from participation in the Organization of American States under a decision adopted by the Eighth Meeting of Consultation in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on 21 January 1962. The resolution stated that as Cuba had officially identified itself as a Marxist–Leninist government, it was incompatible with "the principles and objectives of the inter-American system." This stance was frequently questioned by some member states. This situation came to an end on 3 June 2009, when foreign ministers assembled in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for the OAS's 39th General Assembly, passed a vote to lift Cuba's suspension from the OAS. In its resolution (AG/RES 2438), the General Assembly decided that:
- Resolution VI, [...] which excluded the Government of Cuba from its participation in the Inter-American system, hereby ceases to have effect
- The participation of the Republic of Cuba in the OAS will be the result of a process of dialogue initiated at the request of the Government of Cuba, and in accordance with the practices, purposes, and principles of the OAS.
The reincorporation of Cuba as an active member had arisen regularly as a topic within the inter-American system (e.g., it was intimated by the outgoing ambassador of Mexico in 1998) but most observers did not see it as a serious possibility while the Socialist government remained in power. On 6 May 2005, President Fidel Castro reiterated that the island nation would not "be part of a disgraceful institution that has only humiliated the honor of Latin American nations".
In an editorial published by Granma, Fidel Castro applauded the Assembly's "rebellious" move and said that the date would "be recalled by future generations." However, a Declaration of the Revolutionary Government dated 8 June 2009 stated that while Cuba welcomed the Assembly's gesture, in light of the Organization's historical record "Cuba will not return to the OAS".
Cuba joined the Latin American Integration Association becoming the tenth member (out of 12) on 26 August 1999. The organization was set up in 1980 to encourage trade integration association. Its main objective is the establishment of a common market, in pursuit of the economic and social development of the region.
Cuban intervention abroad: 1959 – Early 1990s
Aided by a massive buildup of Soviet advisors, military personnel, and advanced weaponry during the Cold War, Cuba became a staunch ally of the USSR during Castro's rule, modeling its political structure after that of the CPSU. Owing to this huge amount of support, Cuba became a major sponsor of Marxist "wars of national liberation" not only in Latin America, but worldwide.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Cuba openly supported the black nationalist and Marxist-oriented Black Panther Party of the U.S. Many members found their way into Cuba for political asylum, where Cuba welcomed them after they had been convicted of crimes in the U.S.
Cuba also lent support to Palestinian nationalist groups against Israel, namely the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and lesser-known Marxist–Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Fidel Castro called Israel practices "Zionist Fascism." The Palestinians received training from Cuba's General Intelligence Directorate, as well as financial and diplomatic support from the Cuban government. However, in 2010, Castro indicated that he also strongly supported Israel's right to exist.
The Irish Republican political party, Sinn Féin has political links to the Cuban government. Fidel Castro expressed support for the Irish Republican cause of a United Ireland. The Cuban government supported and still supports the Republican cause, but opposed the attacks which took place on civilian targets by Sinn Féin's allies.
Since the establishment of the Revolutionary Government of Cuba in 1959, the country has sent more than 52,000 medical workers abroad to work in needy countries, including countries affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. There are currently about 20,000 Cuban doctors working in 68 countries across three continents, including a 135-strong medical team in Java, Indonesia.
Read more about Cuba's medical collaboration in Africa at:
- White Coats by the Gambia River
Cuba provides Medical Aid to Children Affected by Chernobyl Nuclear Accident:
- The children of Chernobyl in My Memory
List of Foreign Ministers of Cuba
- Censorship in Cuba
- Cocktail Wars
- Human rights in Cuba
- Intelligence Directorate
- List of diplomatic missions in Cuba
- List of diplomatic missions of Cuba
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