ST.VINCENT and the Grenadines (SVG) hosted the first sitting President of Cuba for an official state visit over the weekend.
It was a packed three days of meetings and tours for President Miguel Diaz-Canel and his delegation during the visit from Saturday, December 3-6.
The Cuban delegation started with a tour of the Argyle International Airport (AIA), which was constructed with assistance from the Cuban government, as was the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Center which the delegation visited on Sunday, December 4.
It was here that Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph addressed what he described as a lie by the United States government that healthcare personnel sent by the Cuban government to work in countries around the world are victims of human trafficking.
While her husband convened private meetings with senior government officials, the First Lady, Senora Lis Cuesta Peraza paid a visit to Young Island on Sunday to view exhibits of local entrepreneurs and host private discussion with Vincentian women who studied in Cuba.
On the final day of the visit, a special sitting of Parliament was convened where President Diaz-Miguel described his time in SVG as “coming to visit family”.
He said the discussions between the Cuban delegation and SVG addressed “view points on matters of regional interest which pose common challenges.”
The President noted the “bonds of profound brotherhood” between Cuba and SVG, since diplomatic relations were established in 1992, have since bolstered the healthcare system and contributed to the development of other sectors.
“In this island 77 Cuban healthcare workers are deployed, and nearly one dozen are preparing to join them soon. They are all part of the more than 300 health care professionals that serve the population of this country… “We are proud to hear that all of them have had an active participation in the fight against COVID-19 and in the treatment of the victims of La Soufriere last April.”
President Diaz-Canel said the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the economic sanctions imposed on Cuba by the United States but despite the challenges, “Cuba does not feel alone” as SVG continues to lend its support, adding that the support will be reciprocated.
“St.Vincent and the Grenadines will always be able to count on Cuba with the solidarity and affection of the Cuban people. Love can only be repaid with love,” the President stressed.
The Cuban delegation left SVG yesterday, Monday, December 5 for Barbados to attend the Eighth CARICOM-Cuba Summit.