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Moldova Invest in dialogue with E.S. Déborah Leticia Ojeda VALEDÓN, Cuba’s Ambassador to Romania

artworks p8rol4d7cpG6nNxz JOsz2Q - Moldova Invest


Moldova Invest in dialogue with E.S. Déborah Leticia Ojeda VALEDÓN, Cuba’s Ambassador to Romania

Forumul Economic Regional Moldova 2024 – Vatra Dornei, 4–6 iulie

The first diplomatic contacts between Romania and Cuba were recorded during the Paris Peace Conference, when both countries were part of the Entente camp.

It was even decided to open an honorary consulate in Havana (May 2, 1919), whose holder was designated French-born lawyer Roger Lefébure, a former officer in World War I. After a short existence, a new honorary consulate was opened on July 1, 1928, led by Francisco Pérez de la Riva.

“Romanian-Cuban dialogue and cooperation gained superior significance towards the end of the 1960s and in the following decade, especially following the visit to Romania by Raul Castro Ruz, as the Second Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, between December 28, 1966, and January 4, 1967, being received at the highest level. Peak moments of bilateral relations were constituted by the visits to Romania of Fidel Castro (May 26-30, 1972), and Nicolae Ceaușescu to the Republic of Cuba (August-September 1973), materialized through the granting of significant financial credits to Cuba for the delivery of installations, equipment, and industrial technical assistance.

Ambassador of Cuba Deborah L. Ojeda Valedon - Moldova Invest

Subsequently, agreements were concluded regarding civil air transport (1978), collaboration in postal and telecommunications (1980), cooperation, and credit for industrial objectives in Cuba (1981, 1982). Delegations continued to be exchanged between the two parties, as well as cultural exchanges, based on the 1960 Agreement.”

Cooperation between Romania and Cuba gained superior significance towards the end of the 1960s. Your Excellency, in this regard, please provide an assessment of the existing relations between our countries from 1960 to 1989.

The establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and Romania occurred on October 26, 1960, when a Romanian delegation traveled to the island to sign the act of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, whose negotiations had previously begun at the headquarters of the United Nations.

This fact opened the way to strengthening friendly relations and bilateral ties between the two countries. Over the years you have mentioned we have had an important economic exchange and a very active relation in different fields of the economic, social and political life. Although, for different reasons, the level of exchanges between our countries is not, currently, the same as it used to be, but we have to say that the uninterrupted Cuban-Romanian relations are characterized by the reciprocal effort and the interest in bringing points of view closer, as well as the respect for independence and national sovereignty and the right to decide the solution of internal problems by their own. This is important to work for the strengthening and development of our links in the actual conditions.

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The first official visit of a Cuban minister to Romania after 1989 occurred quite late, in 2022. How do you characterize the Cooperation Program in the field of education between Romania and Cuba?

As you mentioned, in June 2022, the Minister of Higher Education of Cuba, along with a delegation of Cuban Universities Rectors, visited Romania. The Minister signed with his Romanian counterpart the Program for Cooperation in Education, which officially reinitiated the exchanges in such an important area. Several universities signed agreements with Cuban counterparts on that occasion.

Rectors of the Cuban Universities of Medical Sciences, Agronomy, Arts, Engineers, Informatics, among others, signed several agreements with universities in Bucharest, Brasov, Alba Iulia, Targu Mures, Galati, Sibiu, Timisoara, Ploiesti, Iasi, Targoviste, Suceava and Arad. So far, the University of Transylvania have hosted an important number of PhD Cuban students as a result of the Cooperation Program and the signed inter-universities agreements. We are looking forward to extend the experience to other Universities and also to receive Romanian students in Cuba as well.

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How do you assess the current state of Romanian-Cuban relations?

We will celebrate this year the anniversary 64 of the official establishment of our bilateral diplomatic relations. Our links are based on values of equality and mutual respect, with strict adherence to the Charter of the United Nations and International Law.

In a complex international scenario, both countries continue to make efforts to advance in strengthening bilateral ties and reinforce friendship and cooperation, according to their own conditions and particularities. The fact that in 2022 we exchanged high-level visits, such as of the Cuban Minister of Higher Education to Romania and of the Romanian Minister of Health to Cuba, the signing of the cooperation program in higher education and the signing in Cuba of the Agreement on Health between Cuba and Romania, the celebration of bilateral political consultations at the level of Secretaries of State in 2023, is a clear indication of the willingness of both countries to give a boost to relations between our two nations.

In the view of the government you represent in Bucharest, what are the prospects for the development and consolidation of the economic partnership between Cuba and Romania?

My purpose here as Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba is to make Cuba more visible and accessible to Romanians, to develop the links between our two countries in all possible areas, including the economic one. Cuba offers a favorable business environment for the foreign investor, tax incentives, a secure and transparent legal framework, a geographical location in the center of an expanding market, a climate of safety for foreign personnel, a highly qualified workforce, among others.

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There is Law 118, which provides a description of the existing options for establishing a business in Cuba, such as joint venture businesses, economic associations, contracts, or enterprises (using 100% foreign capital investment). This law can be downloaded from this link, as well as other information for companies interested in investments or trade with Cuba.

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The sectors are diverse: food production, construction, energy, biotechnology, tourism, telecommunications, mining, the sugar industry, etc. Currently, Cuba has 334 businesses with direct foreign investment, of which 56 have 100% foreign capital. Foreign investment plays an important role in the economic development of Cuba in our government’s strategy.

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What sectors are considered strategic for the development and dynamism of bilateral economic relations? What measures would be necessary to support them?

As I mentioned before, almost all sectors are open to the presence of foreign investors in our economy. If I need to highlight those that I consider more important for the development of the country, I would point out energy, particularly clean energy, which will allow Cuba to change its model of electrical energy production by 2030, using green energy, especially solar.

Other sectors, not less important, are agro-industry and food production, water and sanitation networks, the banking and financial sector, and construction, among others. Investments in these sectors are very necessary; the modernization of existing infrastructures and the creation of new and modern structures will allow for the production of goods for the domestic market and exports in the region, taking advantage of Cuba’s geographical position.

At this point, it is worth mentioning the existence of a Special Development Zone, the first of its kind in Cuba, located in the municipality of Mariel, Artemisa province, close to the country’s capital. This special development zone was created in 2013 and is situated at a strategically important location in the center of the Caribbean Sea, at the crossroads of the main maritime commercial routes in the Western Hemisphere. What makes Mariel special is that it is a deep-water port, which gives it the potential to be used in many ways, including as a cruise port.

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ZED Mariel offers a world-class production and logistics platform for establishing companies whose productions and services can be marketed domestically or exported. Companies there will benefit from the regulatory framework, special policy incentives, and a business-friendly environment, designed to attract investments in manufacturing goods and providing value-added services using knowledge and innovation, as well as clean technologies, resulting in industrial concentration for import substitution, export stimulation, and the creation of new employment sources –

How do you see the promotion and consolidation of Cuban cultural and spiritual wealth in collaboration with Romania?

Cultural diplomacy is a very important way to develop understanding and knowledge between countries. Cuba and Romania have much to offer in this regard, having very rich cultures, Latin roots that bring us closer, and with different

idiosyncrasies but with common points of contact. Since our arrival, we have tried to bring Romania closer to Cuba by presenting art exhibitions, films, music, literature in several places across the country.

The Romanian Embassy has also done an excellent job in this area by promoting Romanian culture and traditions in Cuba. The increasing number of Romanians visiting Cuba and Cubans visiting Romania expands the possibilities for more interactions and cultural exchanges. The educational cooperation program also contributes to this effort. There is an agreement between Radio Romania International and Radio Cuba that maintains a weekly and constant presence of Romania and Cuba on the radio in both countries.

Moldova Regional Economic Forum

In the summer of 2024, the Center for Analysis and Planning of Regional Development along with the Suceava County Council and the Agency for Regional Development North East will organize the second edition of the Moldova Regional Economic Forum – 2024. The format of the meeting will be oriented towards the regions of Southeast Europe. Ambassadors of partner states with which Romania has consolidated non-EU economic relations will also be invited.

To what extent is your country interested in developing specific relations with the regions of Southeast Europe and, implicitly, in participating in FERM 2024?

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Cuba is very interested in strengthening its relations with all the countries of this region. Economic relations, as with Romania, are an important sector to strengthen with all the countries of Southeast Europe. The forum could be an interesting opportunity for us to establish important contacts in this area. We would positively consider our participation once we know the dates on which the event will take place.

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