Spanish PM begins historic visit to Cuba

EFE

Spain's Socialist prime minister on Thursday began a two-day visit to Cuba with the traditional laying of a wreath at the tomb of 19th-century independence hero Jose Marti and a meeting with the Communist-ruled island's president.

Pedro Sanchez, who visited the memorial about an hour after his arrival in Havana late Thursday afternoon, is the first prime minister of the Iberian nation to make an official visit to Cuba since Felipe Gonzalez, also a Socialist, in 1986.

The prime minister was accompanied by Cuban soldiers and the island's deputy foreign minister, Rogelio Sierra, during the wreath-laying ceremony at Havana's emblematic Plaza de la Revolucion.

Sanchez and his delegation then posed for a photo in front of the Jose Marti Memorial.

He is being accompanied on his visit to the Caribbean island by his wife, Begona Gomez; Foreign Minister Josep Borrell; Industry Trade and Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto; and numerous senior executives of Spanish companies.

Sanchez subsequently held a one-on-one meeting with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who succeeded Raul Castro in April.

During that meeting, both leaders are expected to express their will to deepen and normalize high-level relations between two countries with strong historical, family and cultural ties.

That meeting is to be a followed by a larger gathering of the countries' respective delegations and the signing of a series of agreements whose content has not yet been divulged.

After that signing ceremony, an official dinner will be held.

Spain's prime minister is not scheduled to meet with opponents of Cuba's Communist Party, the island's sole legal political entity.

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