Honduras Sends First Envoy to Cuba in 46 Years

June 15, 2007

HAVANA – Honduran Ambassador Juan Ramón Elvir this week presented his credentials to Cuba’s Vice-President Juan Almeida, putting an end to 46 years in which the Central American country did not have diplomatic representation at that level on the Communist-ruled island.

Elvir, a former official with Honduras’ state energy company, said that bilateral diplomatic relations are good between the two countries, but noted work needs to be done on “some pending matters.”

“We have to solve some small problems with illegal immigrants,” said Elvir, who added that Honduras and Cuba were also working to define their maritime borders. “It’s one of the issues that we’re pushing along most forcibly,” said Elvir, who submitted his credentials June 7.

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in February named Elvir as the country’s first ambassador to Cuba in 46 years, a move that comes after the two nations re-established diplomatic relations in 2002.

Cuba cooperates with Honduras on health matters, with Cuban doctors performing eye operations last year on more that 2,000 Hondurans within the scope of “Operation Miracle,” sponsored by Cuba and Venezuela.

Additionally, the almost 300 Cuban doctors and health professionals who traveled to Honduras in the wake of devastating Hurricane Mitch in 1998 have now carried out 11 million patient consultations and performed more than 270,000 surgeries, according to government sources.

Nearly 1,000 young Hondurans are completing courses of study on the island, including 800 who are studying medicine.

 

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