Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire has become the first UK Minister to visit Cuba in almost ten years.
His time in the country will include meetings with senior government figures and others to discuss bilateral relations including trade and investment. He will also raise UK concerns about the human rights situation.
Mr Swire said:
It has been too long since a UK Minister was in Cuba, but I’m very happy to rectify that.
Although we naturally have our differences, we work together where we can, including on the response to the Ebola epidemic, where Cuba is playing a vital international role.
Cuba is sending hundreds of medical professionals to UK-run facilities in Sierra Leone on top of staff already in that country and in Guinea. I am proud that we can work together on such an important cause, and one which the UK has committed £205m to tackling. It has the potential to become a global problem and as such needs a global solution.
Mr Swire will be in Cuba from 29 October to 1 November. He will call on Ministers responsible for foreign affairs as well as trade, health and tourism to discuss further ways the UK can build on its work in the country. He will also meet Mariela Castro to hear about Cuba’s work on improving the rights of its LGBT citizens, and Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega. Finally Mr Swire will meet young entrepreneurs and see firsthand how the UK is supporting economic change in Cuba.