The visit of Party General-Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong shows the faithful solidarity and friendship of the Party, State and people of Vietnam towards the Party, State and people of Cuba in the context that Cuba is undergoing a shift of leadership and engaging in the upgrading of their socio-economic development model. Featuring various activities, the visit is to contribute to strengthening political trust and promoting and increasing economic, trade and investment cooperation to be on par with their potential. The visit also shows Vietnam’s fervent wish to develop its relations with Latin American countries in general and Cuba in particular, contributing to implementing the foreign policy adopted at the 12th Party National Congress and to enhancing Vietnam’s standing in the international arena.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (L) arrives in Havana on March 28 afternoon (local time), beginning his State visit to Cuba

Under the leadership of its Communist Party, Cuba has gained encouraging achievements. The country successfully held their previous elections of councilors to people’s councils at all levels in November 2017 and the election of deputies for the National Assembly this March. The socio-economic development model “upgrading” policy has been implemented both intensively and extensively in cautious steps, bringing about initial promising results. The economic structure has been shifting towards a positive direction with a lot of measures to encourage the private economic sector and the people, to actively increase productivity to improve the capacity to supply goods for the public.

In 2017, Cuba’s economy enjoyed a growth rate of 1.6%, which is considered a victory of the country in the context that this Caribbean island nation is facing sanctions and embargos and had suffered a lot of recent natural disasters. The intellectual realm is still the spearheaded export area of the country, raking in about USD 10-11 billion annually. At present, more than 80,000 Cuban experts, including over 50,000 medical workers, are working in more than 60 countries in the world. Tourism continues to be one of the strong sectors, recording high rates of growth, reaching 4.7 million tourists in 2017, increasing by nearly 20% compared to 2016.

Cuba is step by step adjusting its foreign policy in line with the new context. The country is proactively and actively joining international organizations and multilateral forums, taking advantage of their support to break the blockage and embargos and to continue expanding and diversifying its international relations so as to solve socio-economic, security and defense issues in the region’s complicated situation.

Cuba has always considered the development of bilateral relations with Vietnam a priority. Since the establishment of the Vietnam-Cuba diplomatic relations in 1960, the solidarity, support and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries have been ever-improving and developing. Cuba was the leading country in the world in the movement supporting Vietnam during the Southeast Asian country’s struggle for national salvation. It also pays special attention to boosting comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam, especially in areas of its strength such as construction, transport, biotechnology, education, healthcare, sports, and agriculture.

Meanwhile, generations of Vietnam’s leaders have many times confirmed the country’s consistent policy and priority in strengthening solidarity, friendship and comprehensive cooperation with Cuba, and its whole-hearted support to the people of Cuba in the cause of national construction and development.

Besides the fine political ties, the two countries have always attached special attention to developing economic and trade cooperation via cooperation and investment programs and projects. Vietnam is currently among 10 leading countries, ranking the second in Asia, in terms of trade with Cuba. The two-way trade turnover in 2017 reached USD 224.4 million. Vietnam and Cuba are making efforts to increase this number to USD 500 million in 2020.

The State visit to Cuba by the Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and his entourage takes place in the context that the traditional friendship between Vietnam and Cuba is flourishing. The visit will surely be a success that will help further heighten the Vietnam-Cuba cooperation relations to be on par with the longstanding and fraternal friendship of the two countries.

Written by the People’s Army Newspaper

Translated by Huu Duong