On his second day in France, Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz completed a full work agenda, meeting with important government authorities, as well as the director general of the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).
The day began early in UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, a site visited by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, in 1995, after participating in the Copenhagen World Summit of Social Development.
Meeting Raúl at the main entrance was Director General Irina Bokova, who has held this position since 2009, and visited Havana on two occasions, most recently in September of 2015.
She accompanied Raúl through the building, well-known not only for housing the important institution, but also for its extraordinary architecture, to a room where UNESCO officials awaited him. With cell phones in hand, they recorded the visit, applauding and cheering. Some had also witnessed Fidel’s visit to the Paris headquarters more than 20 years ago.
As has been the case in all of Raúl’s meetings here, an atmosphere of cordiality reigned, one based on the almost 70 year relationship between Cuba and UNESCO. Discussion focused on the importance of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, recently approved by the UN, in which all countries committed themselves to quality education and the eradication of poverty, among other objectives.
Bokova said that UNESCO will continue to accompany Cuba every step of the way, emphasizing that prospects for cooperation between the two parties are significant, and describing Cuba’s accomplishments in education as very positive.
For his part, Raúl affirmed that Cuba is willing to continue collaborating with all the world’s countries, as it has done, for example, in the Colombian peace talks and efforts to combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Following his activities at UNESCO headquarters, the Cuban leader moved on to the French National Assembly to meet its President, Claude Bartolone. He was again surprised by the reception, another gala ceremony like that at the Arc
de Triomphe, with the Republican Guard cavalry.
He traveled next to the Senate to meet its leader, Gerard Larcher, the country’s second most high ranking official, and then to see the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, who described Raúl’s visit as historic.
The marathon for Cuba’s delegation continued with a meeting at the Hotel de Matignon with Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
As evening fell, the Cuban President arrived to visit the Museum of Man, and after an hour touring its exhibits, exited to be greeted by friends of Cuba, again chanting and cheering Raúl, Fidel and the Cuban Revolution.
(Leticia Martínez, Granma)