‘Going forward side by side’: Moscow to enhance Cuba partnership even after Castro’s exit

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MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. Russia hopes to sustain and cultivate the strategic partnership with Cuba after Raul Castro’s resignation as head of the Communist Party, a statement by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova published on Tuesday reads.

She highlighted that Castro’s departure from the top post had no political motives, since it represents “a natural change of generations.” “We expect that we will still be going forward side by side with the Cuban leadership, fully maintaining the continuity in building bilateral relations in the spirit of strategic partnership. We are confident that Raul Castro will remain a loyal supporter of these aspirations, that he will continue using his highest authority in the interest of steadily enhancing the multifaceted cooperation between our states,” she said.

The spokeswoman pointed out that Moscow and Havana are united by closely allied ties that are unaffected by foreign factors or the quickly changing global situation. Russia is committed to expanding trade and economic ties with Cuba despite the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Close cooperation continues on international platforms, she added.

In this regard, Zakharova hoped that under the influence of the global community, the US will abandon “the absolutely destructive policy against Cuba under artificial pretexts.” “We categorically condemn any cases of restrictive measures in violation of the UN Charter and the universally recognized principles and norms of international law. We steadily support the immediate lifting of the American blockade of the island,” the statement stresses.

Zakharova also added that Fidel and Raul Castro represent “an entire historic age” for Cubans and other nations. “Russia commends the significant personal contribution of Fidel and Raul to establishing and promoting ties with Russia in a wide range of areas that are built on a solid base of mutual interests, that are actively strengthened and have significant, far-reaching importance,” the diplomat stated.

On Monday, the Communist Party of Cuba announced that the Caribbean island’s president Miguel Diaz-Canel had been elected as first secretary of its Central Committee after Raul Castro had stepped down. The former first secretary said that he would not accept offers to remain in the Party’s top structures but vowed to remain a “fighter of the Revolution.”