NEW DELHI: Ambassador Alejandro Simancas Marín, Cuba’s Envoy to India on Monday said Cuba and India work out ways to boost trade and transactions amid a strict and stiff blockade imposed by the US. Calling the blockade “illegal and unilateral”, the envoy asserted in New Delhi that Havana will explore ways to lift the blockade.
The bilateral trade between India and Cuba in recent years declined immensely from nearly $300 million in the 1980s and 90s to just $50-80 million, the Indian mission in Cuba earlier informed the Foreign Affairs correspondent of The New Indian. The arable nation highly depends on Indian tractors and seeks to import more tractors from India and explore the areas like agro-products, food processing, and sugar market.
India and Cuba are working together to create different facilities. The duo hosted business meets regularly and a big one recently in Hyderabad. An Indian business delegation will travel to Cuba soon, the Cuban envoy informed. A plethora of commercial opportunities will be there in the Havana International Fair to be held in November, the Cuban side informed The New Indian.
“Agriculture is one of the most important sectors for cooperation. We would like to have more Indian investments in Cuba on food processing,” Ambassador Marín said. The Latin American nation relies on India and other Asian nations for rice.
“In this case, the US blockade is unilateral. The blockade has very negative and territorial impacts on economic relations with Cuba. Standing against blockade is an illegal criminal stance and against justice,” the Envoy affirmed.
The Cuban envoy mentioned India and other countries’ support for lifting the economic blockade.
“Cuba is not alone. Every year 190 countries support the lifting of the blockade. So the vote in the United Nations General Assembly in the resolution gained the biggest support in the multilateral organistaions. Every year, the world supports the Cuban demand to lift the blockade. Of Course, the United States doesn’t listen to that.
“We have the support of the entire world except for the US and a few other countries,” he added.
Speaking on the Ukraine crisis, the envoy said, “Cuba has a position defending international law, justice, and impartiality. We think the only way to solve the Ukraine situation is taking into consideration the challenges created by the expansion of NATO to the East, the border of Russia.”
“It’s difficult to make a serious assessment of the situation without talking about NATO deciding to go to the east. We have been warning of the fear created by NATO. We are against war and for peace. We believe to mitigate the issue via dialogue,” he added.
While responding to a question about whether there will be a breakthrough in US-Cuban relations in the Biden Era, the envoy said the situation remains like his predecessor Trump’s time. But the Obama administration was a little different. The two neighbours at that time showed a different scenario in terms of bilateral relations, Ambassador Marin asserted.
Responding to a question from The New Indian, about whether Cuba will be in a state to accommodate the massive strength of Indian medical aspirants due to inadequate capacity and especially after the Ukraine crisis, the envoy answered, “Cuba is ready to help India according to capacity and possibility. Some young Indians went to Cuba to study and few have come back as a doctor.”
The Cuban curriculum in Spanish doesn’t encourage Indians to study medicine in the state, despite hundreds studying there. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the infrastructure is no more like earlier but Cuba will rebuild the infrastructure again for the Indians, the Ambassador said.