Havana, Cuba. January 16, 2019. The Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, made his first official visit to the Republic of Cuba.
On January 15th, Prime Minister Barrow was invited by the President of Cuba, His Excellency Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the base of the towering star-shaped monument to Cuba’s national hero, José Martí. This was followed by an inspection of the national guards at the Palace of the Revolution.
Prime Minister Barrow and President Díaz-Canel then held talks about bilateral cooperation in a number of key areas such as multi-destination tourism, culture, health, agriculture, and scholarships offered by both Cuba and Belize to increase capacity in both countries. They discussed the long-standing ties between both countries and Cuba’s support leading up to Belize’s independence in 1981.
The Cuban President reminded those present that formal diplomatic relations with Cuba were signed with the approval of Prime Minister Barrow in his role in 1995 as Foreign Minister. He also thanked Belize for expressions of support at moments critical to Cuba, and in particular the tribute in memory of Fidel Castro at the National Assembly in November 2018, and for Belize’s unwavering support to end economic blockade against Cuba.
The leaders noted that Cuba and Belize will be holding important referendums in 2019. Cuba’s people will vote in February to decide on a new Constitution; Belizeans will decide on whether to end Guatemala’s claim at the International Court of Justice on 10 April 2019.
They also seized the opportunity to discuss regional issues affecting both countries and expressed the hope to continue to seek ways to work for the good of the region through dialogue and peaceful action.
The Cuban delegation included President Diaz-Canel Bermúdez, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, Director General of Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Eugenio Martínez Enríquez (a former Ambassador to Belize), and the present Ambassador for Cuba to Belize Lissette Pérez Pérez. Prime Minister Barrow was accompanied by Ambassador for Belize to Cuba Lou-Anne Burns Martinez and First Secretary Shantal Marin.