HAVANA, May 7 (EFE) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador began his activities on Sunday as part of his official visit to Cuba to complete his first tour of Central America and the island.
On Saturday, the president was greeted at Havana’s Jose Marti airport – with his wife, Beatriz Gutierrez Mueller and a government delegation – by the island’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez.
Lopez Obrador starts the day at 10:00 a.m. (3:00 p.m. GMT) when he lays a wreath of flowers at the memorial to José Martí, the island’s national hero. Later, the official reception will be held in the same Revolution Square.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel welcomed him into the country via his Twitter account shortly before Lopez Obrador’s arrival in Havana.
“(The visit) will strengthen the bonds of friendship between our two countries, which have already become beloved because they overcame time and challenges to settle in the spirit of our peoples,” he wrote.
After the ceremony, Lopez Obrador and Diaz-Canel will meet first on their own and then in an extended version with their entourage.
The Mexican is accompanied by Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval and Navy Jose Rafael Ojeda.
Similarly, the health portfolios of both countries will sign an agreement, the details of which are still unknown but which are supposed to be related to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Later, López Obrador would receive the José Martí Medal, the highest honor awarded by the island’s government.
That will be when both governments deliver a message to the national and international media.
Lopez Obrador’s visit comes in the midst of the immigration crisis, which has made Mexico one of the routes chosen by Cuban immigrants in their attempt to reach the United States.
The prelude to the visit was the 15th meeting of the Working Group on Consular Affairs and Bilateral Immigration, which took place in Mexico City a month ago.
According to Cuban authorities, the North American country has returned 975 irregular migrants to the island so far this year, through 15 deportations.
In the past five months, 47,331 Cubans entered the United States irregularly from Mexico.
The number reached 16,557 in February, according to the latest official data available from Customs and Border Protection.
Experts consulted by Effie assert that Lopez Obrador’s stay will strengthen the 120-year-old bilateral political relationship, despite the vicissitudes of Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000) and right-wing Vicente Fox (2000-2006). .
The Mexican president will return to Mexico tonight to finish his first international tour – which has taken him to Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize – which began on May 5. Until then, Lopez Obrador had only traveled to the United States three times since coming to power in 2018. EFE
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