China’s president is visiting Cuba bearing gifts, his second visit to the island in four years.
The gifts included debt relief for money Cuba borrowed from China in the 1990s, and a gift of more than 63 million euros for hospital modernisation.
Hu Jintao also met Fidel Castro, and the Chinese leader complimented Castro on his health, although these days the 82-year-old only occasionally meets visitors and writes newspaper columns. His brother Raul now rules, and he signed a dozen trade deals during the two-day visit, including agreements on Cuban nickel and sugar exports, and Chinese food imports. China is Cuba’s second largest trading partner after Venezuela.
Russia’s president is due to visit Cuba later this month. Visiting a school, Raul Castro provided evidence of the two country’s long relationship, breaking into a song in Chinese he learned at a young Communist’s congress in Austria, 55 years ago. “I don’t have Fidel’s memory,” he quipped, “but I remember this song.”