Cuba is currently a lead country on the United Nations Human Rights Council, and is a founding member of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, a member of the Latin American Integration Association and the United Nations. Cuba is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and hosted its September 2006 summit. In addition as a member of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Cuba was re-appointed as the chair- of the special committee on transportation issues for the Caribbean region. Following a meeting in November, 2004, several leaders of South America have attempted to make Cuba either a full or associate member of the South American trade-bloc known as Mercosur.
In 1917, Cuba entered World War I on the side of the allies.
Cuba joined the League of Nations in 1920.
Cuba joined the United Nations in 1945.
Cuba joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1948.
During the Presidency of Fulgencio Batista, the United States provided Cuba with arms. In mid-1958, the United States ceased supplying Batista with arms, a contributing factor to the success of the Cuban Revolution.
In 1962, Cuba was expelled from the Organization of American States - Thereafter, many nations throughout Latin America broke ties with Cuba.
Following the establishment of diplomatic ties, and after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuba became increasingly dependent on Soviet markets and military and economic aid. Cuba was able to build a large military force with the help of Soviet equipment and military advisors. The Soviets also kept in close touch with Havana, sharing varying close relations until the collapse of the bloc in 1990.
Cuba's intervention in Africa, which began in the mid-1970s, was more substantial leading to involvement in 17 African nations and three African insurgencies soon leading Cuban soldiers engaging in frontline military combat. In doing so Castro aligned Cuba with African insurgencies against colonial vestiges and specifically against South Africa. By providing military aid Cuba won trading partners for the Soviet bloc and potential converts to Marxism.
On November 4, 1975 Castro ordered the deployment of Cuban troops to Angola in order to aid the Marxist MPLA government against UNITA forces, which were being supported by the People's Republic of China, and later the United States, Israel, and South Africa (see: Cuba in Angola). After two months on their own, Moscow aided the Cuban mission with the USSR engaging in a massive airlift of Cuban forces into Angola. On this, Nelson Mandela is said to have remarked "Cuban internationalists have done so much for African independence, freedom, and justice. Cuban troops were also sent to Marxist Ethiopia to assist Ethiopian forces in the Ogaden War with Somalia in 1977. Cuba sent troops along with the Soviet Union to aid the FRELIMO and MPLA governments in Mozambique and Angola, respectively, while they were fighting U.S. and South African-backed insurgent groups RENAMO (supported by Rhodesia as well) and UNITA. He also aided the government of Mengistu Haile Mariam in Ethiopia during its conflict with Somalia. Overall, an estimated 14,000 Cubans were killed in Cuban military actions abroad.
Cuba today works with a growing bloc of Latin American politicians opposed to the "Washington consensus", the American-led doctrine that free trade, open markets, and privatization will lift poor third world countries out of economic stagnation. The Cuban government have condemned neoliberalism as a destructive force in the developing world, creating an alliance with Presidents Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia in opposing such policies.
Currently, Cuba has diplomatically friendly relationships with Presidents Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Lula da Silva of Brazil, and Cristina Fernández of Argentina, with Chávez as perhaps his staunchest ally in the post-Soviet era. Cuba has sent thousands of teachers and medical personnel to Venezuela to assist Chávez's socialist oriented economic programs. Chávez, in turn provides Cuba with lower priced petroleum. Cuba's debt for oil to Venezuela is believed to be on the order of one billion US dollars.
In 1994, a joint venture was formed between the Cuban Nickel Union and the Canadian firm Sherritt International, which operates a mining and processing plant on the island in Moa. A second enterprise, Cobalt Refinery Co. Inc., was created in Alberta for nickel refining. Canada has been critical of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, and strongly objected to the Helms-Burton Act. In 1996 Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy stated: "Canada shares the U.S. objectives of improving human rights standards and moving to more representative government in Cuba. But we are concerned that the Helms-Burton Act takes the wrong approach. That is why we have been working with other countries to uphold the principles of international law". In 1996 a Private Member's Bill was introduced, but not made law, in the Canadian parliament; this law called the Godfrey-Milliken Bill was in response to the extra-territoriality of the aforementioned Act. Canada also protests U.S. preclearance customs agents in Canadian airports who try to catch American citizens travelling to Cuba in defiance of U.S. law.
To celebrate ties between the Caribbean Community and Cuba in 2002 the Heads of Government of Cuba and CARICOM have designated the day of December 8 to be called 'CARICOM-Cuba Day'. The day is the exact date of the formal opening of diplomatic relations between the first CARICOM-four and Cuba.
In December 2005, during the second CARICOM/CUBA summit held in Barbados, heads of CARICOM and Cuba agreed to deepen their ties in the areas of socio-economic and political cooperation in addition to medical care assistance. Since the meeting, Cuba has opened four additional embassies in the Caribbean Community including: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Suriname, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This development makes Cuba the only nation to have embassies in all independent countries of the Caribbean Community. CARICOM and Canadian politicians have jointly maintained that through the International inclusion of Cuba, a more positive change might indeed be brought about there (politically) as has been witnessed in the People's Republic of China.
Cuban cooperation with the Caribbean was extended by a joint health programme between Cuba and Venezuela named Operación Milagro, set up in 2005. The initiative is part of the Sandino commitment, which sees both countries coming together with the aim of offering free ophthalmology operations to an estimated 4.5 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean over a ten-year period. According to Denzil Douglas, the prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and the current Caricom chairman, more than 1,300 students from member nations are studying in Cuba while more than 1,000 Cuban doctors, nurses and other technicians are working throughout the region. In 1998 Trinidad Prime Minister Patrick Manning had a heart valve replacement surgery in Cuba and returned in 2004 to have a pacemaker implanted.
Following Fidel Castro's illness and temporary transfer of power Caribbean leaders sent get-well-soon messages to Castro. Leaders included Prime Minister Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia who announced: "We pray for President Castro and we wish him God's blessings". Grenadan Prime Minister Keith Mitchell stated "Cuba has been a long-standing friend to the entire Caribbean", and Trinidad Prime Minister Patrick Manning issued a statement extending Castro his "best wishes for a prompt recovery." Additionally the Cuban-Barbadian Friendship Association (CBFA) and the social movement known as the Clement Payne Movement also extended a press release stating "We will lead the process for all progressive organisations in Barbados to hold a solidarity meeting with the government and people of the Republic of Cuba on August 13 at the Clement Payne Cultural Centre". Both organizations stated they would be planning to send a delegation to Cuba to celebrate with Fidel Castro his 80th birthday, in addition to the annual observance on October 6 of Cubana Flight 455 which was bombed off the coast of Barbados in 1976 via a CIA-linked plot.
The relationship between Cuba and Mexico remains strained. In 1998 Fidel Castro apologized for remarks he made about Mickey Mouse which led Mexico to recall its ambassador from Havana. Castro had declared that Mexican children would find it easier to name Disney characters than to recount key figures in Mexican history. He later said that his words were meant to underscore the cultural dominance of the US. Mexican president Vicente Fox apologized to Fidel Castro in 2002 over allegations by Castro that Fox forced him to leave a United Nations summit in Mexico so that he would not be in the presence of US President Bush, who also attended.
On December 15, 2004 an agreement called the ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) was signed to eliminate tariffs and import duties and promote investment as well as technical and educational cooperation between the two countries. Venezuela and Cuba have been close trading partners since a cooperative agreement was signed between them on October 30, 2000. The new agreement meant that Cuban goods and services were to be paid for with Venezuela products and currency. Venezuela will transfer technology, finance development projects in the agriculture, service, energy and infrastructures sectors. Cuba, in addition to providing over 15,000 medical professionals who participate in Barrio Adentro, a social program which provides Cuban healthcare treatment to Venezuelans and trains doctors and specialists, will grant 2,000 annual scholarships to Venezuelan students. Also, the agreement commits the two countries to work together with other Latin American countries to fight illiteracy.
In 2005 the two countries also signed cooperation agreements in the area of energy and electricity, an accord between Venezuela's oil company PDVSA and its Cuban counterpart Cupet to buy and sell crude oil and a crude oil storage agreement between the two companies.
Hugo Chávez, who says he is one of the few people in the world who knows Castro's illness from July 31 2006, has helped Cuba undermine a strict U.S. embargo by sending cheap oil and boosting commercial relations. Agreements between Cuba and Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, have brought more than 20,000 Cuban doctors to Venezuela to provide medical services for the poor. The program, one of numerous oil-funded social projects, has helped Chávez build a strong political support base and he was widely expected to win a reelection bid in December 2006. Chávez was able to win that election.
A White House point man on plans for a post-Castro transition, Caleb McCarry, recently told The Miami Herald that U.S. estimates of total Venezuelan subsidies to Cuba per year "are up to the $2 billion figure." This is comparable to the $4 billion to $6 billion that the Soviet Union once pumped into Cuba per year.
On a visit to South Africa, Fidel Castro was warmly received by President Nelson Mandela. President Mandela gave Castro South Africa's highest civilian award for foreigners, the Order of Good Hope. In 2005 Castro fulfilled his promise of sending 100 medical aid workers to Botswana, according to the Botswana presidency. According to Anna Vallejera, Cuba's first-ever Ambassador to Botswana, the health workers are part of her country's ongoing commitment to proactively assist in the global war against HIV/AIDS, Cuba also has historically good ties with a number of other African countries, including Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Algeria.
In response to the Cason affair of March 2003, when the government of Cuba arrested dozens of journalists, librarians, and human rights activists, the EU took measures, which were publicly announced on 5 June 2003 to limit high level governmental visits. The Union reduced the profile of member states' participation in cultural events and invited Cuban dissidents to National Day celebrations. The Cuban authorities announced on 26 July 2003 their refusal of all direct aid coming from the European Union. This period of diplomatic friction became known as the Cocktail Wars.
On 31 January 2005, the EU decided that all the measures taken on 5 June 2003 would be suspended temporarily. The Council stated once again that the EU remains willing to maintain a constructive dialogue with the Cuban authorities aiming at tangible results in the political, economic, human rights and cooperation sphere. Furthermore, it decided that the EU will develop more intense relations with the peaceful political opposition and broader layers of civil society in Cuba, through enhanced and more regular dialogue. The temporary suspension of these measures was confirmed in June 2005.
Cuba benefits from the GPS (Generalized Preference System) preferential treatment for its exports. Furthermore, Cuba does not benefit from the ACP-EU Sugar Protocol but from a sugar quota granted by the EU (some 59,000 tonnes per year; duty paid on this quota is EUR 98/t).
In 2008, Cuba will reportedly be sending doctors to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Nauru and Papua New Guinea, while seventeen medical students from Vanuatu will study in Cuba. It may also provide training for Fiji doctors. Indeed, Fiji's ambassador to the United Nations, Berenado Vunibobo, has stated that his country may seek closer relations with Cuba, and in particular medical assistance, following a decline in Fiji's relations with New Zealand.
The reincorporation of Cuba as an active member regularly arises as a topic within the inter-American system (e.g., it was intimated by the outgoing ambassador of Mexico in 1998) but most observers do not see it as a serious possibility while the present government remains in power. On 6 May 2005, President Fidel Castro reiterated that the island nation would not "be part of a disgraceful institution that has only humiliated the honor of Latin American nations".
Cuba was the last of ten nations to join the Latin American Integration Association becoming a full member on 26 August 1999. The organization was set up in 1980 to encourage trade integration association. Its main objective is the establishment of a common market, in pursuit of the economic and social development of the region.
Aided by a massive buildup of Soviet advisors, military personnel, and advanced weaponry during the Cold War, Cuba became a staunch ally of the USSR during Castro's rule, modeling its political structure after that of the CPSU. Due to this huge amount of support, Cuba became a major sponsor of Marxist "wars of national liberation" not only in Latin America, but worldwide.
During the Cold War, Cuba gave training, money, medicines, weapons and safe haven to members of Colombian guerrilla movements, especially to the ELN and also to members of the FARC, both of which were founded in the early 1960s. In recent years, Fidel Castro has made gestures of reconciliation with different Colombian government administrations, and has been considered responsible for facilitating talks between them and the opposing guerrilla groups.
Cuba developed close relations with the 1979 Sandinista government in Nicaragua (having supported the Sandinista insurgency against Anastasio Somoza's rule). Cuba proved to be the organization's chief international ally in the civil war against the U.S.-backed Contras. Cuba transported weapons to Panama. From Panama, the Cuban weapons would be taken through Costa Rica to Nicaragua. Cuba continues to have close relations with the Sandinista National Liberation Front, since being re-elected in 2006 for the first time since 1984, they are again the governing party of Nicaragua.
Cuba, along with North Korea, are the only non-Islamic states in the world that do not recognise the state of Israel.
Read more about Cuba's medical collaboration in Africa at:
Cuba provides Medical Aid to Children Affected by Chernobyl Nuclear Accident:
Representations of other countries in Cuba
Cuban represntations to other countries
Group to honor Baldacci for gay-marriage support ; The governor signed the law, promoted the issue on national TV and lent support to volunteers.
Nov 12, 2009; Portland Press Herald (Maine) 11-12-2009 Group to honor Baldacci for gay-marriage support ; The governor signed the law, promoted...