Cuba Business

Spain rewards Cuba with debt forgiveness and visit by Prime Minister Zapatero

Posted October 14, 2008 by publisher in Cuba Business.

By JORGE SAINZ | Associated Press

The prime minister of Spain, which played a key role in persuading the European Union to lift diplomatic sanctions against Cuba, has accepted an invitation from President Raul Castro to visit next year, a Spanish official said Tuesday.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said details of the trip by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero still need to be worked out, but Moratinos believes it will go ahead. The minister made the announcement after meeting with his Cuban counterpart, Felipe Perez Roque.

The sanctions were imposed in 2003 after Cuba jailed 75 dissidents. The measures were lifted in June. More than 200 dissidents are still serving jail terms in Cuba, although 20 have been released.

In the talks here Tuesday, Spain also agreed to fund a two-year, euro24.5 million (US$34 million) program to help Cuba rebuild homes, schools and other structures destroyed by hurricanes Gustav and Ike this summer, Moratinos said.

Spain has also agreed to restructure part of Cuba’s euro1.5 billion (US$2.1 billion) debt with the Spanish government, and open up a new line of credit worth euro50 million (US$69 million) to euro100 million (US$138 million), Moratinos said.

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Member Comments

On October 14, 2008, publisher wrote:

Of course I tweaked the title a bit from the original “Spain: PM accepts invitation to visit Cuba” but you see why I did that.

For some reason, Spain sees the need to not only lift the sanctions but to reward Raul and Fidel with a visit by the Prime Minister AND forgive (I know it says restructure but we all know that means forgive) part of Cuba’s TWO BILLION DOLLAR DEBT to Spain.

AND Spain wants to give (yes give, not extend credit) another 69 to 138 million dollars to Cuba.

I wonder if Sol Melia’s presence in the tourism industry in Cuba has anything to do with this new round of generosity to Cuba from Spain.

You think we’ll hear about Raul releasing any prisoners or publicly giving Spain anything in return for their very public reward?

On October 14, 2008, manfredz wrote:

if the USA can cuddle up to Ghadaffi, I see nothing wrong with Spain goign to bed with the Castros….
Its all about business….  Just like the USA wants Libyan oil, Spain, I’m sure is looking to explore more business investments…
Of course if you want to be an idealist its, wrong , wrong , wrong, but compared to countries like Libya and North Korea, Cuba is a kitten.

P.S.  It would be nice if Spain can influence Cuba’s human rights record, or get some political prisoners released, but I’m not holding my breath.

On October 14, 2008, cubanpete wrote:

Spain might as well write off its Cuban debt; given Cuba’s deadbeat credit history, the prospects of repayment are nada.  Would-be suppliers beware; deal with Cuba only on a strictly cash basis.