Spanish King and Queen visit Cuba


King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain traveled to Cuba for a state visit this week.

This is the first official visit by a king of Spain to the former colony of that European country in the past 500 years.

CGTN’s Luis Chirino reports.

Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia traveled to Cuba for their first state visit. They were welcomed at Havana’s international airport by Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez. After laying flowers at the monument of national hero Jose Marti, they were officially welcomed by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and his wife Lis Cuesta at the Revolution Palace.

Following the official talks, the Spanish King and the Cuban President agreed to further expand bilateral and economic cooperation.

The King’s state visit follows others by top government Spanish officials, like Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez a year ago. Madrid has expressed its determination to protect its economic and business interests on the island.

Spain is Cuba’s third major trading partner with a large number of companies in different Cuban economic sectors. During Havana’s International Trade Fair, held earlier in November, Spanish business people addressed the importance of this royal visit.

“Under the current government of Pedro Sanchez, we enjoy stronger support; we have also received Spanish ministers here, and now this visit by Royals undoubtedly is very important for Spanish business people operating in Cuba,” said Juan Blancafort, Spanish Businessman based in Cuba.

The Spanish king and queen have come in the context of celebrations for the 500th anniversary Havana City. Their agenda also included tours of scientific and cultural sites and a walk along the old section of the city accompanied by Havana’s Historian Eusebio Leal.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia will conclude their visit after a tour of the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, where they will pay homage to the Spanish sailors killed in action during the Cuban-Spanish-American war in the 19th century.