April 6th, 2019, marks twenty-five (25) years since Antigua and Barbuda and the Republic of Cuba established diplomatic relations.
On April 6th, 1994, the Governments of Antigua and Barbuda and the Republic of Cuba signed a joint communiqué in New York, which formalized the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
At the time, pioneering leaders, namely the former Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Lester Bird, and the late former President of the Republic of Cuba, Fidel Castro, recognized the potential for an excellent and constructive friendship. Their acute foresight laid the foundation for the exceptionally close relations, which successive leaders have continued to build upon today.
Diplomatic relations between Antigua and Barbuda are characterized by solidarity, support, and mutually beneficial cooperation. Bilateral relations were further consolidated by increased high-level visits, especially in 2017 when His Excellency Raul Castro, former President of the Republic of Cuba, visited Antigua and Barbuda for the convening of the CARICOM-Cuba Summit, and for a bilateral meeting with the Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.
Over the ensuing decades, Cuba has made significant contributions towards Antigua and Barbuda’s socioeconomic development through assistance in health, education, public works, sports, and culture, amongst others.
Cuba’s extensive deployment of medical personnel to Antigua and Barbuda has served to bolster health services, and has improved patient access to quality healthcare. In addition, Cuba has contributed towards the building of human resource capacity in Antigua and Barbuda through the provision of scholarships.
In 2018, the main cooperation initiatives extended to Antigua and Barbuda by Cuba were the following:
• Fifty four (54) members of the Cuban Medical Brigade worked with the Ministry Health and provided extensive health services to Antiguan and Barbudan nationals
• Three (3) hydraulic resources engineers worked with the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA)
• Two (2) construction engineers worked within the Ministry of Public Works
In addition, eleven (11) students obtained scholarships granted by the Cuban government.
At present, seventy-five (75) students of Antiguan and Barbudan nationality are presently undertaken studies in Cuba. Areas of studies include: Accounting, Psychology, Architecture, Physical Education, Electrical Engineering, Informatics, Spanish as a second language, and General Medicine. Medical Specialties include General Surgery, Urology, Oncology, Pediatrics and Imageology.
The Government and people of Cuba have demonstrated unwavering generosity despite the punitive measures that have been imposed on the country in the form of a six-decade economic embargo.
In this connection, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda remains fully committed towards the principles of the United Nations Charter, and in particular, the sovereign equality of states, non-intervention and non-interference in internal affairs. The Government continues to reiterate its call for the ending of the unjust economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against the Republic of Cuba.
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