Cuban Foreign Ministry announced Monday that its charge d’affaires to Panama, Carlos Valdes, will return to the island Tuesday after the government broke diplomatic relations with Panama.
The ministry explained in a brief note that Valdes’s return is in response to the decision of the State Council on Aug. 26 to sever diplomatic ties for an indefinite time with Panama.
Valdes has remained in Panama after Cuban ambassador Carlos Zamora left the Central American nation last Sunday at the request of Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso.
On Thursday, the Cuban government cut off diplomatic relations with Panama after Moscoso pardoned four exiles accused by Cuba of trying to kill its leader Fidel Castro. Moscoso said the release is for “humanitarian reasons”.
The four Cuban exiles, Luis Posada Carriles, Gaspar Jimenez, Pedro Remon and Guillermo Novo Sampol, were arrested in November 2000 for having allegedly planned to assassinate Castro at the 2000 summit of Latin American and Iberian leaders in Panama.
A Panamanian tribunal sentenced Luis Posada and Gaspar Jimenez Escobedo to eight years in prison, and Guillermo Novo Sampol and Pedro Remon, seven years in prison, for endangering public safety and forging documents, but not for the presumed assassination attempt against Castro.
The diplomatic rift erupted just days before Moscoso was to hand over the presidency to Martin Torrijos on Sept. 1.