In first Costa Rican mission to Cuba in 34 years, countries sign accords

March 16, 2012

HAVANA, Cuba – Costa Rica and Cuba agreed this Friday in Havana to cooperate in the prevention of and response to weather emergencies.

The agreements were signed by representatives of each country in the Cuban Foreign Ministry, as part of the first official Costa Rican mission to Havana in 34 years, led by Foreign Vice Minister Carlos Roverssi and Environment Minister René Castro.

“We are two Latin American brother countries, and that’s above the  differences in point of view that we may have,” said Roverssi, cited through the Cuban news wire Prensa Latina. The signing of the accords was the first between the two countries since they re-established diplomatic ties three years ago, after a half-century of interruption.

The accords pledge cooperation during emergencies due to meteorological phenomenons, in an area of the Western Hemisphere hit by hurricanes and vulnerable to climate change.

“Cuba is recognized worldwide as an expert in managing extreme weather events [such as] hurricanes and floods, and Costa Rica has been improving its warning systems, and we are both leaders in forecasts,” Castro told AFP.

“We are going to exchange both cultural and technical experiences, first between the countries and then the regions” of Central America and the Caribbean, Costa Rica’s Castro said.

Foreign Vice Minister Roverssi stressed to AFP that the meeting this Friday in Havana was “the first in 34 years between authorities of both governments,” and announced that the next diplomatic visitor to the island will be Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo.

Costa Rica was the second-to-last country in Latin America to restart diplomatic relations with Cuba, doing so in 2009, weeks before El Salvador did the same. The region cut ties with Cuba in 1961 due to pressure from the United States during the Cold War, following the triumph of the Communist revolution of Fidel Castro in 1959.

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