Cuba and Italy: the certainty that much can be achieved by working together

Cuba and Italy: the certainty that much can be achieved by working together
Fecha de publicación: 
21 June 2023
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On February 4th, Cuba and Italy celebrated their 120th anniversary of bilateral relationships. On the context of the presidential visit to that nation made by the President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz Canel, we share details on others carried out by Fidel and Raúl, as well as some elements characterizing the cooperation bonds between these two sister nations.

"The bells that toll today for those who are dying of hunger every day, will toll tomorrow for all of humanity which did not want, did not know how, or could not be wise enough to save itself from itself."

With these prophetic words, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz closed his speech at the World Food Summit, held at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in this city, on November 16, 1996.

It was a brief, very brief speech —compared to his usual speeches— delivered by Fidel, and was widely spread by the media at that time. Today, it is still fully valid. It was the first time the Commander in Chief visited the Italian Republic, where he carried out a broad agenda that included meetings with the main authorities of the Government and the State in this country.

That visit, say specialists in international relations, set guidelines in the bilateral relations between the two nations, which date from February 4, 1903.

These ties are regarded historical and stable. In recent years, it has expanded in various fields of cooperation. The high-level visits made to Cuba, in October 2015, by the then President of the Council of Ministers, Matteo Renzi, and to Italy, in May of that same year, by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, from his capacity as President of the Councils of State and Ministers, gave a new momentum to the relationship between the two countries.

In their statements offered to the press—after the meeting they held in the context of the Army General's stay in the city of Rome—, Renzi stated that “it was a day of joy for our governments, which have worked for months and they will still work. It is a great day for all Italians who love Cuba and for all Cubans who love Italy. We were able to see first-hand that many things are changing, that history has continued its course and we want to be the protagonists of the new history.”

“We can do many things together,” he asserted.

On the other hand, Raúl labeled the meeting as important, in which, he said, “we talked about everything, past times, the present and the relations that Cubans and Italians have historically maintained. Relations are good, trade is progressing and in the near future they will undoubtedly continue to develop.”

Comprehensive and diverse is the cultural collaboration between both nations. At the economic and commercial level, the relationship rather intense as Italy is among the top ten trade partners of Cuba. The island is regarded as a priority country for Italian cooperation, especially in the fields of the food security and the recovery of architectural heritage.

The steps taken in recent years to develop these ties confirm the will of both countries to continue promoting them in fields of mutual interest, among which the economic-commercial, cultural and health fields stand out.

Evidence of the support that Italy has provided to Cuba is the firm stance it has maintained since 1995 in favor of the Resolution that the Caribbean island presents every year against the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States Government at the United Nations General Assembly.


2020 was a disastrous year for the entire world due to the pandemic caused by Covid-19. Very threatening times endured the Italian Republic as consequence of the virus and Cuba’s collaborators of the Henry Reeve Brigade provided support to the regions of Lombardy and Piamonte.

"They were days of intense work, of in-depth exchange of experiences and rigorous compliance with health protocols that gave us more security at work," said Dr. Carlos Ricardo Pérez, head of the brigade, on his return to Cuba with the health brigade that was in Lombardy.

And even though in the first days, the Italian professionals looked askance at our professionals, their altruistic, humane performance and highly committed to the life of this friendly people, marked a positive turning point in terms of medical cooperation between the two nations.

It is the will of the two Health ministries to continue deepening these bilateral ties. And in support of this interest, in the context of the recently concluded 76th World Health Assembly, the Ministers of Health of the Italian Republic and of Cuba, Orazio Schillaci and José Angel Portal Miranda, respectively, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the collaboration in the fields of Health and Medical Sciences, from which relations between the two institutions are strengthened.

According to ideas shared by the Cuban Minister of Public Health on his Facebook social network, during the meeting his Italian counterpart "acknowledged Cuba's advances in the field of Health and scientific and biopharmaceutical research, while considering key areas for the promotion of bilateral cooperation, the response to health emergencies; the confrontation with communicable and non-communicable diseases; as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnological research.”

This June 19th, President Díaz-Canel arrived in Italy for a two-days official visit. It reaffirms, once again, the indisputable will of both nations to advance in strengthening their ties to do more in benefit of mutual cooperation.

Note: In preparing this material, profiles and data provided by specialists from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and press offices were used.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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