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Obrador says Mexico’s will unite nations defending Cuba’s sovereignty

His stay in Campeche, southeast of Mexico, started with his decoration with the country’s highest order on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, the host of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Mexican President Manuel Lopez Obrador, declared before his freshly-decorated guest, that Mexico “will lead a more active movement uniting every nation to defend the sovereignty of Cuba.”

The Mexican head of state went on to yet again slam the U.S. for its blockade of Cuba.

And we are going to continue demanding that it be removed, that the blockade of Cuba, which is inhumane, be eliminated,” he said.

Imposed on March 14, 1958, during the Fulgencio Batista regime, the United States embargo against Cuba is the most enduring such measure in history, as it continues to date. Initially, the embargo pertained to weapons only, but after the Cuban Revolution that saw Fidel Castro rise to power, it was extended on February 7, 1962, to include almost all exports.

The embargo prevents U.S. businesses, and businesses organized under U.S. law or majority-owned by U.S. citizens, from conducting trade with Cuban interests. The embargo has also been criticized for its effects on food, clean water, medicine, and other economic needs of the Cuban population. The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution yearly since 1992 calling for putting an end to the US economic embargo on Cuba, with the US and Israel being the only nations to consistently vote against the resolutions.

Healthcare cooperation

On the sidelines of his visit, Diaz-Canel, accompanied by Obrador, met with IMSS-Bienestar Health personnel, and the Cuban president acknowledged the labor of Cuban doctors in Mexico. As many as 610 Cuban medical specialists provide services in highly marginalized areas of the country.

On this note, the two leaders shook hands over broadening and deepening cooperation in health matters.

En Martí y en Fidel pienso al ver a nuestros médicos trabajando, con consagración y alegría, en #México, una tierra que jamás ha sido extranjera, siempre hermana, para todos los cubanos.

En Campeche nos reunimos con una representación de ellos. #CubaPorLaVida

— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) February 11, 2023

On Saturday, at his welcome ceremony, Diaz-Canel expressed his respect and affection for the Mexican people and the Mexican president, whom he thanked for speaking out against the effects of the U.S. blockade of Cuba.

The day also saw a major ceremony unfold at the Mayan archaeological site of Edzna. There, in the shadow of a Mayan temple, Obrador presented his Cuban counterpart with Mexico’s highest distinction for foreigners – the Order of the Aztec Eagle.

Past Order of the Aztec Eagle honorees include Colombian Nobel literature laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez and former South African President Nelson Mandela.

The ceremony was followed by a bilateral meeting and the signing of economic and cooperation agreements.

This is Diaz-Canel’s fourth visit to Mexico with Lopez Obrador as the country’s president.

Difficult neighborship

Cuban-Mexican relations have seen a major improvement since the second decade of the 21st century. Both countries, as representatives of the geopolitical south, cooperate to outweigh the dominance of the U.S. in the north. Issues of migration come into the picture as well, with thousands of Mexicans and Cubans migrating to the U.S. Both nations have significant diasporas in America.

On the side of Mexico, illegal immigration, arms sales, and drug smuggling continue to mar 21st-century U.S.–Mexico relations.

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