San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Salvadoran President-Elect Looks to Cuba, China

SAN SALVADOR – El Salvador’s leftist president-elect said that his administration, which takes office June 1, will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, suspended in 1959 after the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power.

Mauricio Funes made the announcement shortly before his meeting last week in San Salvador with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon.

“We would be, at present, the only country in Latin America that doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Cuba,” Funes said shortly after the decision to re-establish links with the communist-ruled island was announced after nearly five decades.

El Salvador broke diplomatic ties with Havana in 1959, after Castro came to power, and incumbent Salvadoran President Tony Saca has said he would not authorize relations with the Cuban government because of its communist ideology.

Funes also said that he is interested in strengthening commercial relations with China, but he said that the type of links his government can establish will depend on the dialogue with authorities in the Asian giant and with those in Taiwan, with which El Salvador maintains diplomatic relations.

“It’s an issue I will deal with very soon,” he said, adding that he has an interest in “tightening trade relations with China, one of the countries that has experience one of the most rapid rates of growth in recent years.”

China refuses to have diplomatic ties with nations that recognize Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province.



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