President Solis and his entourdage arrived in Cuba Sunday (December 13)
President Luis Guillermo Solis (centre), accompanied by the First Lady (left) and an entourage of 30 other public officials arrived in Cuba Sunday (December 13). Photo: EFE

QCOSTARICA – In Cuba, Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis reiterated the country’s interest in normalizing bilateral relations, one of the four objectives of the two-day trip.

“I came to Cuba with four main objectives..,” said Solis, that includes the recognition of Cuba as one of the major players in the Caribbean Basin, Costa Rica’s effort to get closer to the countries of the Greater Antilles and to share activities with the prime ministers of the the Caricom (Caribbean Community).

Solis also said the national interest is promoting cooperation with Cuba and trade. According to the president, Costa Rica exports to the island nation a reported US$40 million a year.

On the Solis agenda is also the topic of the Cuban migrants stranded in Costa Rica since mid-November.

The Costa Rica delegation is made up of 32 people: the President and an entourage of 31 public officials that includes the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Manuel González; Technology, Marcelo Jenkins; and Tourism, Mauricio Ventura. The First Lady, Mercedes Peñas, is also in Cuba with the President.

A controversial presence in the delegation is that of the director of the Costa Rica’s intelligence (DIS), Mariano Figueres.

The President and all his men and women will be back in Costa Rica tomorrow night (Tuesday), head of the anticipated International Court of Justice at The Hague delivery of the decision on the Nicaragua – Costa Rica dispute over the Isla Calero.

The Solis visit is the first official visit of a Costa Rican president to the island since Fidel Castro took power in January 1959. Costa Rica restored diplomatic relations with Cuba, in 2009 under the government of Oscar Arias (2006-2010), which were broken since 1961.

Former president Laura Chinchilla Miranda (2010-2014) was in Cuba in January last year to receive the temporary presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), although that was not an official bi-lateral visit.