Army General Raúl Castro Ruz arrived in the Mexican city of Mérida, in the state of Yucatan, on the invitation of President Enrique Peña Nieto, to complete his first official visit to the country since he assumed the Presidency in 2008. He was received by his counterpart with a decorous ceremony, in the colonial-era government palace located in the city’s central historic district.
There the Presidents held official talks, and attended the signing of several bilateral agreements, among them two memoranda of understanding, one addressing the goal of achieving legal, safe and orderly migration between the two countries, and another on diplomatic-academic collaboration. Also approved were cooperation programs in tourism, agriculture, commercial fishing, and education.
Speaking to the press following the talks, Peña Nieto commented that since he took office, 14 agreements have been signed with Cuba, just one less than the total established since 1928, reflecting both countries’ desire to strengthen the relationship. He welcomed Raúl, saying he hoped the Cuban President would feel at home in Mexico.
For his part, Raúl said he was honored to visit the country, noting that the special relations were not based solely on geography, but reflect shared traditions of struggle, in addition to cultural and family ties, recalling that Mexico was the only Latin American country to resist U.S. pressure and maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba after the Revolution. He added, “With the re-launching undertaken by the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, ties between the two countries are being renovated and strengthened not only in the political arena, but also in cultural and economic-commercial areas, and scientific-technical cooperation.” Raúl likewise expressed his satisfaction with the interest displayed by Mexican businesses in investing in Cuba, specifically in the agricultural and tourism sectors, in which Mexico has important experience.