Diplomatic relations between Barbados and Cuba continue to be on a sound footing.

This was reiterated yesterday by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, during a courtesy call with newly appointed Cuban Ambassador to Barbados, Lissette P??rez P??rez, at the Ministry’s Culloden Road, Headquarters.

Senator McClean said the two nations had enjoyed "excellent relations for many years". She added that during this period, a number of bilateral agreements had been signed including the eye care project "Operaciόn Milagro," (translated as Operation Miracle), which allowed many Barbadians to receive treatment in Cuba. Senator McClean pointed out that it had been extremely beneficial to patients.

The Foreign Affairs Minister noted that Barbados was interested in collaborative efforts, particularly in the areas of technical and business development training. Senator McClean told the Ambassador that since Barbados had made significant achievements in using solar energy to reduce energy costs, it was, therefore, desirous of offering assistance in this area. She further mentioned the possibility of exploring other initiatives in the health sector, and commended Cuba for its exceptionally managed disaster preparedness programme.

Ambassador P??rez P??rez underscored the importance of the diplomatic relations, and thanked Barbados for its continued support against the trade blockade, especially in the international arena. The Cuban envoy stated that maintaining good relations with CARICOM states was a priority for her country, since it was vital for regional integration. She expressed hope that her country could offer further assistance in the area of cultural development.

Barbados officially opened its consulate in Cuba last month. Over the years, the two countries have cooperated in such areas as health, sports, education, and culture.

Barbados and Cuba established diplomatic relations on December 8, 1972. clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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