Fidels New Poster Boy ; Fidel Castro: Controller of Cuba since 1959. Brother Raul Now Runs a Country with Huge Problems

Daily Mail (London), December 30, 2008 | Go to article overview

Fidels New Poster Boy ; Fidel Castro: Controller of Cuba since 1959. Brother Raul Now Runs a Country with Huge Problems


Byline: Aiden Corkery

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Micheal Martin will make history in February when he becomes the first Irish minister to visit Cuba.

The visit will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Fidel Castros swearing in as leader of the Caribbean nation and takes place amid a thawing of relations between Communist Cuba and the west.

Speaking yesterday about the reasons for the visit, Minister Martin said he believed his trip could help speed up the democratisation of the island.

Earlier this year the European Union relaxed its stance in relation to Cuba and was anxious to open up dialogue with the Cuban government and by so doing to create the atmosphere for continued political reforms in Cuba, he told RT[ETH]. I, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, have indicated my interest in visiting Cuba to create further momentum on that front.

After many years of tension between Cuba and the west, the time has now come for Ireland to strengthen its ties with the Caribbean state, he said.

The world is changing and the situation in Cuba is changing. The trip would be a strengthening of bilateral relations which are important and also taking on board the broader global context.

It is understood that during the trip Minister Martin will meet Ral Castro, who took over as Cuban president from his older brother Fidel in February. The younger Castro is seen as more moderate than his fiery predecessor.

Fidel Castro won control of the island in 1959 after overthrowing the dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Cubas Ambassador to Ireland, Noel Carrillo, has warmly welcomed the Minister Martins proposed trip and said Cuba and Ireland share a number of similarities.

Ireland and Cuba share a vision about the importance of multilat-eralism to solve conflicts and to maintain peace in the world. …

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