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The presidents of Mexico and Cuba announce new accords and closer ties

The presidents of Mexico and Cuba announce new accords and closer ties
Associated Press

The presidents of Mexico and Cuba stressed mutual interests and
admiration on Friday, announcing new accords and closer political ties
after more than a decade of chilly relations.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced agreements to fight human
trafficking and exchanges in tourism, education and business designed to
increase Mexican investment in Cuba, as well as “a dialogue at the
highest political levels.”

Most important, he added, is reestablishing the “affection, respect and
admiration that both countries historically have had for each other.”

Peña Nieto greeted Cuba’s Raul Castro at the Yucatan state government
palace in Merida, where they held private discussions.

“We also welcome the interest of Mexican companies to do business and
invest in Cuba, particularly in the special development zone of Mariel
and in sectors such as agriculture and tourism,” Castro said on what was
his first state visit to Mexico.

However, no specific commitments or investment plans were announced.

Peña Nieto has made clear that he wants to renew Mexico’s historically
close ties with Cuba. His Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled
for 71 years before losing the presidency in 2000, maintained a
respectful relationship with Cuba’s communist government despite U.S.
pressure to cut off ties.

In 2002, after traveling to Mexico for a U.N. conference in Monterrey,
Cuba’s then-President Fidel Castro accused Vicente Fox, a conservative
National Action party politician who had become president two years
earlier, of telling him to leave.

Raul Castro, who assumed Cuba’s presidency from his brother in 2006,
participated in a Latin America summit in the Mexican resort city of
Cancun in 2010, but it was not a state visit.

Among the accords announced Friday is a memorandum of understanding to
“guarantee the legal, orderly and safe flow of migration” between the
two countries, and to “prevent and combat human trafficking” and related
crimes.

The Mexican government has not provided details of the agreement, but it
comes as increasing numbers of Cuban migrants are arriving in the
nation’s south.

Migration statistics show that from January to September of this year,
6,447 Cubans were stopped for not having proper documentation to be in
Mexico, twice the number for all of 2014.

The normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States could
ultimately lead to the elimination of the automatic refugee status that
Cubans enjoy as soon as they reach U.S. soil. Many Cubans hope to get to
the United States before their privileged migratory status ends.

Source: The presidents of Mexico and Cuba announce new accords and
closer ties – LA Times –
www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-cuba-presidents-20151106-story.html

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