ALGIERS- The Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez is on an official visit to Algeria until November 19 as part of a presidential tour that will also include visits to Türkiye, Russia and China.
Hay muchas razones por las cuales «sentirnos muy contentos de estar aquí», aseguró el presidente @DiazCanelB al llegar a Argelia.
— Presidencia Cuba 🇨🇺 (@PresidenciaCuba) November 17, 2022
At the outset of his visit, President Bermúdez, paid, on behalf of the friendly people of Cuba, a tribute to the martyrs of the Revolution of November 1st 1954, placing a wreath of flowers in the Martyrs Square at Al Alia cemetry. He was granted an official reception by President of the Republic Abdelmadjid Tebboune.
— Presidencia Cuba 🇨🇺 (@PresidenciaCuba) November 17, 2022
Economic blockade on Cuba: President Tebboune affirms Algeria’s solidarity with Cuban people:
President Tebboune reaffirmed, Thursday, Algeria’s permanent solidarity with the Cuban people under an economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed for over 60 years.
Pt. Tebboune made the remarks in a joint statement with visiting Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel at the end of their talks at the headquarters of the Presidency of the Republic, during which they discussed bilateral cooperation as well as regional and international issues.
“Algeria and Cuba are bound by historical relations of friendship and solidarity, based on the values of freedom, peace, and justice that we share,” said President Tebboune, reaffirming “Algeria’s permanent solidarity with the Cuban people to lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on their country for more than 60 years, driven by our commitment to the United Nations principles and the UN General Assembly resolution which calls for the lifting of this blockade.”
The President of the Republic also considered that the visit of his Cuban counterpart to Algeria was “an opportunity to strengthen cooperation and coordination, which have been interrupted between the two countries since 2019,” saying that he had “an in-depth discussion” with the Cuban President.
— Presidencia Cuba 🇨🇺 (@PresidenciaCuba) November 17, 2022
Algeria donates solar power plant to Cuba, cancels interest on debt, says President Tebboune:
“Based on our sense of duty towards the Republic of Cuba, a sisterly and friendly country, with which we have had, in the past and present, relations that we will weave together in the future, Algeria has decided to alleviate the difficulties facing Cuba’s economy by canceling interest payments on Cuba’s debt to Algeria and the postponement of their payment,” explained President Tebboune.
Algeria has also decided “to donate a solar power plant to Cuba and to resume supplies of hydrocarbons so that the country restarts its power plants and power cuts stop,” added the president.
In addition, the President of the Republic said he agreed with his Cuban counterpart to “strengthen cooperation in the pharmaceutical industry, create the required number of joint companies, produce vaccines and boost the exchange of experiences in the fields of higher education, youth, and trade.”
In the same context, he said that the official Algerian delegation, which will take part in the meeting of the Joint Commission in Havana scheduled for the beginning of 2023, “will be accompanied by about 150 Algerian investors in order to discuss investment opportunities in Cuba.”
At the end of his speech, President Tebboune sent a message of support and encouragement to the Cuban people and particularly to young people to “take up the torch.”
He also offered his heartfelt greetings, on his behalf and on behalf of the Algerian people, to the former President of Cuba, Raul Castro.
Algeria-Cuba, model of friendship and solidarity:
For his part, President Diaz-Canel said “Algeria and Cuba constitute a model to follow in terms of their bilateral ties of friendship, solidarity and mutual support since 1963, when Cuba sent a medical team to provide help to the brotherly Algerian people.”
The Cuban President noted that this visit, which coincides with the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, is of “great significance.
“The visit to Algeria is an opportunity to materialize the common political will to strengthen economic cooperation and exploit investment opportunities in priority sectors, such as; agriculture, the agro-food industry, medicines, medical equipment and tourism,” the Cuban President highlighted.
“We have good relations with Algeria at the political and international levels, and our international positions match,” he noted.
“We salute the deep Algerian understanding of the economic situation in Cuba and thank them for the historical support,” Diaz-Canel said.
The Cuban president indicated his country’s readiness for “deep cooperation in the fields of culture and exchange of scientific expertise,” and added, “We are ready to cooperate in the development of the sugar industry with Algeria and benefit from Algerian dates.”
One the eve of his working and friendship visit, the Cuban head of state wrote on Twitter that the visit is intended to boost efforts to alleviate the effects of a post-pandemic crisis that is overwhelming the entire world and which is worse for Cuba due to the effects of the United States blockade.
Díaz-Canel said via Twitter, “There are many reasons to feel satisfied, and more than that, we are very committed to the Algerian cause, we are very committed to the Algerian people and the Algerian government,” noting that “Algeria can always count on the support of the Cuban government and people.”
It is worth recalling that this visit coincides with the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two friendly countries, relations established before the independence of Algeria and have been maintained, subsequently, through the support of the two countries for the just causes of the peoples and their right to freedom, particularly the Palestinian and Sahrawi causes, in addition to solidarity, cooperation and the coordination of diplomatic positions in the various international forums. The quality of political relations with their human dimensions is a prelude to a new stage of close bilateral cooperation in all areas.
To mark this festive occasion, both countries held festivities and activities. A postage stamp ceremony was held, on Friday, Oct 21st, 2022, at the headquarters of Cuban foreign ministry. In turn, another postage stamp was also issued at the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In detail, Cuba and Algeria have maintained diplomatic relations since October 17, 1962. On this date, the then Prime Minister of Algeria, Ahmed Ben Bella, signed a joint declaration with his Cuban counterpart Fidel Castro Ruz, formally establishing bilateral relations. A year later, in May 1963, Cuba’s first internationalist medical brigade arrived in that African country, an event referred to in history as the beginning of the Revolution’s solidarity cooperation. Thousands of Cuban professionals have served in the nation. Since then, both nations have maintained close ties, and their collaboration covers the sectors of health, energy, construction, education, culture and sports, among others.
For more details on the history of the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries, here is a sneak peek into Algerian Cuban relations:
Algeria has had a strong and solid allyship with Cuba since its independence from French colonialism in the early 1960s. Cuba and Algeria formed strong diplomatic links due to their historical and ideological proximity. Indeed, despite their geographical distance, the two countries saw themselves as the models of a successful socialist revolution against imperialist forces. More recently, Algeria invited the Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez to participate in the festivities celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Independence. Besides, President of the Republic Abdelmadjid Tebboune received, at the headquarters of the Presidency of the Republic in Algiers, the Cuban Minister who conveyed him a message from his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel. Following the meeting, the head of Cuban diplomacy tweeted: ” I had the honor of being received by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. We confirmed the disposition to continue strengthening the excellent political relations, based on historical & brotherly ties; and promote economic, commercial, financial and cooperative links.”
How did it all start?
When Algeria snatched its independence from France in 1962, Ahmed Ben Bella, a few days after being elected Prime Minister, arrived in New York on October 15 to participate in Algeria’s accession ceremony to the United Nations.
The next day, he boarded a Cubana de Aviación for the Caribbean island and was greeted at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport by the commander-in-chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.
Soon after Ben Bella’s visit, Fidel gave a speech at the opening of the Playa Giron School of Medicine in Havana, where he proposed the idea of sending a medical brigade to help Algeria, which after independence suffered from a mass departure of French doctors and led to a significant shortage of health personnel in the country.
The medical team consisted of 54 health workers who flew to Algeria. There were 29 doctors, four dentists, 14 nurses, and seven health technicians.
In his speech, Castro said that “Most of the doctors in Algeria were French and many of them left the country. There are millions of Algerians and colonialism left them with many diseases. The population of Algeria is 4 million more than the population of Cuba, but they only have a third of our doctors or even less. For this reason, I informed our Cuban students that we require about 50 doctors to volunteer to go to Algeria.”
Castro’s words had great resonance and received an immediate response from many Cuban doctors who expressed their willingness to go and help the Algerians. As such, the first Cuban medical solidarity journey in Algeria came in the context of the latter having resisted and defeated the French colonial regime, and this pushed Cuba to provide services beyond the island’s borders.
This is how Cuba’s first medical solidarity mission took off to provide healthcare services beyond the borders of the country.
All-out bilateral cooperation:
Fruitful and privileged, bilateral relations have won several achievements, the latest being the installation, last February, of the parliamentary friendship group “Algeria-Cuba”. The installation of this group has made it possible to initiate a new era of bilateral cooperation and to strengthen exchanges in the various fields, especially parliamentary and economic spheres.
On the economic side, the two countries have considerable assets capable of promoting economic and commercial cooperation. The capacities of the two countries in this area were reviewed during the 22nd session of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Commercial, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation held in February 2019.
It should be noted that the two countries had signed an agreement for the installation of an Algerian-Cuban business forum and put in place a roadmap which will serve as a platform for economic cooperation.
In addition, cooperation in the field of health has recorded a qualitative leap thanks to the upcoming signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Ministries of Health of the two countries during the next high-level meeting expected in January 2023 in the Republic of Cuba.
During their meeting, last Monday in Algiers, the Minister of Health, Abdelhak Saihi, had agreed with his Cuban counterpart, José Angel Portal Miranda, to explore new partnership opportunities to strengthen cooperation and expand it to other areas, in this case the training of Algerian general practitioners (gynecology-obstetrics, radiology and intensive care) as well as covering specialized training in ophthalmology, in addition to cooperation and the exchange of experiences with the Pasteur Institute of Algeria (IPA) in the areas of vaccine development and production.
Besides, Cuban Public Health Minister Jose Angel Portal held a meeting with IPA Director Derrar Fawzi, during which both sides assessed the possibility of initiating exchanges between this institution and other Cuban counterparts, and agreed to expand and strengthen joint actions that will allow them to share experiences on issues, such as; arbovirus surveillance and antimicrobial resistance studies in infections associated with healthcare and tuberculosis.
They also expressed interest in establishing links in aspects, such as; genomic surveillance of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and dengue, exchanging research on other health-related issues, as well as promoting the production of biological products.
In November 2021, a partnership agreement was signed between the National Pharmaceutical Products Agency (ANPP) and the State Control Center for Medicines, Equipment and Medical Devices of the Republic of Cuba to exchange information, knowledge and expertise and strengthen collaboration regarding the training and development of human resources.
The signing of this agreement will also encourage and support the partnership between the various pharmaceutical producers and benefit from Cuban expertise in the fields of biotechnology and vaccines.
The many visits of Fidel Castro, who made five state visits to Algeria, the last of which was in May 2001, enabling him to be the faithful friend of Algeria, express the quality of the relations which have always linked Algiers to La Havana and which are marked by eye to eye views on the various issues of common interest at the level of the United Nations body, the Non-Aligned Movement and the South-South dialogue.