Forcefully fostering the friendly relations and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Cuba

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong and the high-level Vietnamese delegation arrived in Havana on March 28, beginning his State visit to Cuba. The four-day visit is being made at the invitation of First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee and President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers Raul Castro Ruz.

Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong meets Cuban people at the President Ho Chi Minh monument in Havana. (Photo: VNA)
Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong meets Cuban people at the President Ho Chi Minh monument in Havana. (Photo: VNA)

This is an important political event creating momentum for solidarity, the time-honoured friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties, States and peoples.

Situated in the Caribbean, Cuba has a population of more than 11 million and comprises of more than 1,600 islands with a total land area of around 114,000 square kilometres. The country is rich in natural resources and its fertile land is suitable for farming and large animal husbandry. Cuba also possesses many natural and cultural assets conducive to the development of tourism. The political and security situation in Cuba is stable. The “updating” of the socio-economic model has continued to be widely deployed, initially achieving positive results. The economic structure has witnessed a positive shift with many measures having been deployed to encourage self-employment and motivated people to actively participate in production, improving the supply of goods. The People’s standard of living has also been improved. Cuba successfully organised the elections of the People's Councils at all levels in November 2017 and the Parliamentary elections in March, 2018.

Despite facing economic difficulties due to the long-standing US sanctions and heavy losses caused by natural disasters, the Cuban economy still maintains its momentum for growth, reaching 1.6% in 2017. Services exports and tourism continue to be the key drivers of growth. Tourist arrivals set a new record in 2017, recording around 4.7 million in 2017, an annual increase of over 20%. Remittances also hit more than US$3.4 billion in the past year.

The Sixth Congress of the Cuban Communist Party in 2011 was a significant milestone, as it saw the adoption of a new direction for Party policy with a focus on updating the country’s economic model to maintain and build upon the achievements of the Cuban revolution, stimulating growth and improving the people’s standard of living. In April 2016, the Seventh Party Congress conceptualised Cuba’s socialist socioeconomic model of development and affirmed the continuation of the process of “updating the economic model.”
Cuba pursues a peaceful and independent foreign policy, expanding its international cooperation and contributing to the world’s development in an active and proactive manner. Despite facing economic difficulties, Cuba still upholds the spirit of proletarian internationalism, standing ready to support its sister countries, especially in the fields of healthcare and education. Cuba has restored its diplomatic relations and maintained dialogue with the US. However, the normalisation process remains difficult given that the US’s economic embargo on Cuba is still in place. The UN General Assembly’s adoption of resolutions calling for the end of the US embargo on Cuba for the past 26 consecutive years indicates the international community’s broad support for Cuba, giving more strength to the Caribbean country on its path of development.

The Vietnam-Cuba relationship is a time-honoured friendship between two peoples who are both comrades and brothers, sharing the same revolutionary ideals that originated from the lofty thoughts of President Ho Chi Minh and Cuban national hero Jos Marti. The Vietnamese people have always treasured, allied with and supported the Cuban people during the past half-century of the glorious history of the Cuban revolution under the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party, headed by Fidel Castro and President Raul Castro. The Vietnamese people will always remember the wholehearted support of Cuba, the pioneer of the progressive world’s movement to support Vietnam’s struggle for national independence. Cuba also pays heed to fostering a multifaceted cooperative relationship with Vietnam. To Vietnam, Cuba is a bright example of revolutionary heroism and the aspiration for freedom and social justice. Vietnam always looks to Cuba with tremendous admiration and empathy.

Since Vietnam and Cuba first established diplomatic relations on December 2, 1960, their relationship of solidarity, mutual support and comprehensive cooperation has been continually strengthened, expressing the sentiment and steadfast stance of the two Parties, States and peoples towards the revolutionary cause and socialist construction in each country. The two sides frequently exchange delegations and maintain cooperative mechanisms such as the Vietnam-Cuba Joint Committee, the deputy-ministerial defence policy dialogue and political consultation. Vietnam’s projects to assist Cuba in agriculture and aquaculture have yielded positive results. Trade and investment cooperation is going in the right direction. The two countries’ Governments encourage and facilitate the operations of enterprises in order to expand cooperation to bring their economic relationship to the same level as their political ties. The two countries also work closely and support each other at international organisations and multilateral forums.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s State visit to Cuba is an opportunity for the leaders of the two countries to exchange opinions and reach an agreement on the specific plans to foster bilateral cooperation in a new stage of development in each country. The visit once again affirms that Vietnam is determined to work with Cuba to further strengthen the brotherly solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties, States and peoples, contributing to world peace and development.