• The most important thing about this rapprochement is that we have confirmed the affection, respect and admiration the two nations have historically shown each other: EPN.

• The relaunch undertaken by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government has renewed and strengthened links between the two countries: Raúl Castro.

• Cuban leader pays state visit to Mexico.

Earlier today, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz hailed the actions undertaken by the two countries to strengthen, renew and relaunch bilateral relations, following the rapprochement between the two governments at the beginning of this administration.

President Peña Nieto said that as a result of this re-encounter, “Nine instruments have been signed to strengthen relations, and another five today.” This is almost equal to the 15 agreements signed by the two countries between 1928 and 2012.

In a press statement, following the signing of the bilateral cooperation instruments to expand, improve and strengthen relations between the two countries, the Mexican president declared that, “The most important aspect of the relaunch of these bilateral relations, this re-encounter between sister nations, it is that we have endorsed the affection, respect and admiration that the two countries have historically shown each other.”

The Mexican president detailed the achievements of the scope of Cuban president’s state visit to Mexico:

1. Restoration of top level political dialogue.

2. Modernization and expansion of the bilateral legal framework through the five agreements signed today:

• Guaranteed safe, legal orderly migration between the two countries, to prevent human trafficking and smuggling and other crimes associated with migration.

• Improved training of our diplomats through academic exchanges.

• Enhanced cooperation in basic education, especially in literacy, and the promotion of reading and sports, areas in which Cuba has set an example for the whole of Latin America.

• The exchange of successful experiences in tourism so that tourists coming to Mexico also visit Cuba and vice versa.

• Ensuring best practices in the areas of fisheries and aquaculture.

3. Both governments have pledged to create conditions to enable more Mexican businessmen and investors invest in Cuba.

President Peña Nieto said that, “In Mexico, we appreciate the new opportunities that are emerging in Cuba, and we wish to be an ally in this process of change and openness.” The point, he explained, is for, “Investors in Mexico to regard this modernization of the Cuban economic model as an opportunity to help strengthen economic relations between the two nations by investing in Cuba while creating jobs in both countries.”

The Mexican president led the official welcoming ceremony for the Cuban president in the State Government Palace, which marked the start of Raúl Castro’s visit to Mexico.

THE AGREEMENTS REFLECT THE FIRM POLITICAL WILL OF BOTH PARTIES TO EXPAND COOPERATION IN VARIOUS SPHERES OF MUTUAL INTEREST: RAÚL CASTRO

For his part, Raúl Castro said that, “As a result of the relaunch carried out by the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto, links between the two countries have been renewed and strengthened, not only in the political and diplomatic sphere, but also in the ambit of cultural, economic, commercial and scientific-technical cooperation.”

He said that the signing of important agreements between November 2013 and today, “Reinforces the legal framework of bilateral relations and reflects the strong political will of both parties to continue advancing and deepening cooperation in various areas of mutual interest, for the benefit of our nations.”

He said he was pleased by Mexican companies’ interest in doing business and investing in Cuba, especially in the development zone of Mariel, in sectors such as agriculture and tourism since, he said, “Mexico has proven experience in these areas, which will provide an important source of support to the process of updating the economic model we are developing.”

Raúl Castro declared that, “There is a special relationship between Mexico and Cuba based not only on geographical proximity, but also on the common traditions of struggle, close cultural and family ties and mutual feelings of friendship and solidarity.”

Recalling national hero José Martí, who wrote, “Mexico is a land that all Cubans should love as if it were our own,” the Cuban president declared that Mexico was, “The only Latin American country that did not break off relations with Cuba when all the other governments did so under pressure from the United States, at a particularly critical time for our revolution and our country.”

He stated that Cuba’s incorporation into the Summit of the Americas in Panama, the restoration of diplomatic relations with the United States and the recent, virtually unanimous demand in the United Nations General Assembly to, “Put an end to the unjust, illegal and immoral blockade they imposed on our country, are also victories of global solidarity, particularly of Latin America and the Caribbean, in which Mexico has played a leading role.”

President Castro said that his visit to our country confirms the commitment to continue working with Mexico to strengthen unity and promote the process of regional integration with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the Association of Caribbean States, “Including our duty to preserve Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, as the Heads of State and Government proclaimed with our signatures at the Second CELAC Summit held in Havana in January 2014.” He concluded by saying, “May the indestructible brotherhood between the peoples of Cuba and Mexico live forever.”

MEXICO AND CUBA ARE UNITED ONCE AGAIN: ENRIQUE PEÑA NIETO

Afterwards, President Enrique Peña Nieto hosted a dinner in honor of the Cuban head of state at Quinta Montes Molina in Paseo de Montejo in Mérida. The Mexican president said that, “Today, thanks to the rapprochement between our governments, we are united once again, rebuilding our links and honoring the history that binds us.”

He said: “ President Castro, Mexicans also have Cuba in our hearts. This has always been the case and it will continue to be so in the days to come.”
He said that, “With this identity and fraternal spirit that has always distinguished us, in January 2013, in Santiago de Chile, we agreed with President Castro to reunite the two peoples, and to arrange for a re-encounter between two nations united by respect and affection."

He added that, “Since then, Cuba and Mexico have built a broad, modern bilateral agenda. We are working to achieve better cultural, academic, sports and art exchanges while we are strengthening our economic, tourist and development cooperation relations.”

“The point,” explained President Enrique Peña Nieto, “Is to take advantage of the profound changes both countries are experiencing. By this I mean the structural reforms in Mexico and the modernization of Cuba’s economic model.” He stressed that, “The new stage Cuba is entering and the transformations Mexico is experiencing motivate us to strengthen the ties that bind us.”

RAÚL CASTRO EMPHASIZES THE WILL TO CONTINUE STRENGTHENING THE HISTORICAL CUBA-MEXICO RELATIONS

Raúl Castro thanked the Mexican president for his moving words during his state visit, since they, “Reflect their willingness to continue strengthening the historical relations between Cuba and Mexico.”

He wished all Mexicans a future of peace, development, welfare and prosperity, “Which they deserve because of their glorious history and their peaceful, fraternal vocation.”

The luncheon was attended by businessmen, academics, public officials and opinion leaders, and representatives of the branches of government: Roberto Gil Zuarth, President of the Board of the Senate; Jesús Zambrano Grijalva, Chairman of the Board of the Chamber of Deputies; and Minister Luis María Aguilar Morales, President of the Supreme Court of Justice, as well as Eruviel Ávila, Governor of the State of Mexico and President of the National Conference of Governors; and Governor of Yucatan Rolando Zapata Bello, among others.