Cuba and Mexico are living an “exceptional moment” in their bilateral relations. This is the opinion of the new Mexican Ambassador to the island, Miguel Díaz Reynoso, who argues that the turn to the left of the Mexican government with the arrival to the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has opened a new range of opportunities strongly rooted in historical and cultural links.
“It is not only about the temporary coincidence of two new administrations: that of López Obrador and that of Miguel Díaz-Canel, but also the coincidence of visions and objectives, the interest of each government in improving the living conditions of its people, to meet their daily needs and promote their well-being,” says Díaz Reynoso in an exclusive interview with OnCuba.
For the diplomat, appointed last March and who still hasn’t presented his credentials before the Cuban authorities, a convergence “also of politics” is now added to the “long centuries of relations” between the two nations.
“It cannot be overlooked that next to López Obrador on the day of his ‘Taking of Protest’ in Mexico was President Díaz-Canel, as a clear sign of the link between the two countries and the two new governments. And that marks from then until today very good relations at the political level, demonstrated in visits and governmental exchanges,” affirms the Ambassador, who says he has never ceased being near to Cuba since serving as a cultural attaché in Havana in the complex 1990s.
Now, at the head of the Embassy, his purpose is to “find the way to improve collaboration” and contribute to “taking advantage of the closeness between the two governments and peoples so that we can move forward and take a leap in the historical relations we have.”
The new Mexican ambassador to the island, Miguel Díaz Reynoso, comments on economy, health, tourism, emigration and denies the alleged arrival of Cuban doctors to Mexico.
What potentials exist for this leap in the economic field, based on the fact that Mexico is currently one of Cuba’s main economic partners, both in Latin America and worldwide?
In the economic field we have enormous possibilities. In Mexico, the changes implemented in the Cuban economy have been observed with great interest, based on the laws to promote investments and the provisions of the new Cuban Constitution. Currently, the trade balance between the two countries greatly favors Mexico, which in 2018 exported between 450 and 500 million dollars (USD) to Cuba, while Cuban exports to Mexico were between 10 and 20 million. However, these figures can improve.
The geographical proximity is an advantage that we haven’t been able to take full advantage of, because my country is only one day away from the port of Havana or other Cuban ports where products can be unloaded at a good price, because if there is a saving in freight costs that can benefit the consumer. There are opportunities to increase the list of products that Mexico can export to Cuba, and there are processes for the realization of new projects in this regard. We are working precisely on that: in identifying the items in which Cuba would have more interest to boost their marketing.
On the subject of investment, it is good to remember that there are two Mexican companies approved in the Mariel Special Development Zone, although in different stages of implementation, and, in addition, we have other companies waiting for the corresponding authorizations, as well as two projects that are already very advanced. I hope that we can soon announce their formal start-ups and we can also talk about the goals and contributions they can make. They are clearly Mexican companies with a very interesting aspiration to grow in Cuba and I think they will be the ones that encourage others to invest here.
But in addition to investment and trade, there is the possibility of cooperation not only from Mexico to Cuba but also in the opposite direction. The recent visit of the Cuban minister of health to my country confirmed that there is a real and very interesting possibility for Mexico to benefit from advances in biotechnology and the production of medicines in Cuba, and also in terms of technical assistance and that is, undoubtedly, good news.