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    » 07/06/2012, 00.00

    CHINA – CUBA

    Hu Jintao to the aid of Cuba's Raul Castro. Silence on U.S. Embargo

    Wang Zhicheng

    Hu Jintao promised credit lines for technology development, agriculture and health. Strengthening economic and cultural exchanges. China is the second largest partner in trade with Cuba The various developments in the economy and religious freedom. The visit of Benedict XVI last March.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - Cuban president Raul Castro yesterday met his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, receiving aid for the sluggish Cuban economy. It is the first visit by Castro to China, after taking the reins of the nation from the hands of his brother Fidel in 2008.

    Today Raul met Premier Wen Jiabao, together with Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, considered prospective successors to Hu and Wen.

    Raul has been signing various trade agreements to support the development of technology and the health service. Hu also promised to open a line of credit at zero interest to support the development of agriculture, but the amount of credit has not been made public.

    Reported in length by the state agency Xinhua, there was no mention of the economic difficulties that the Caribbean island is enduring as a result of the United States embargo. According to these dispatches, talks with Hu Jintao and Wu Bangguo, president of the Chinese parliament, emphasized the decades-long friendship between the two countries, the desire to strengthen economic and cultural exchanges, media, education. Hu also called for more cooperation in trade, energy, biotechnology and agriculture.

    For some time Cuba is trying to learn from China how to reconcile Communist ideology and success in the marketplace and how to allow private investment in its planned economy. At the same time - as was the case under Fidel Castro - Cuba is seeking support and aid for its people to live, sorely tried by the embargo, but also a clumsy ideological control.

    The exchanges between China and Cuba have grown from 590 million U.S. dollars in 2004 to 1.8 billion in 2010, making China the biggest trading partner after Venezuela. According to analysts, the new Chinese investment programs will increase the presence of Beijing in the American market.

    Although ideologically more marked, the Caribbean country is making important steps to open to religious freedom and democracy. In March last year, Raul Castro welcomed Pope Benedict XVI. In his speech the pope stressed the value of religious freedom, the Church's commitment to education, the contribution to social dialogue and the importance of dropping "immovable positions and unilateral viewpoints that render understanding harder and collaborative effort ineffective".

    As a result, the Church in Cuba is enjoying more and more freedom, and many political prisoners have been freed.

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    See also

    20/02/2008 CHINA – CUBA
    Beijing eulogises “revolutionary leader” Fidel Castro
    State press recalls the great friendship between China and Cuba, even if in the past the two were on opposite sides of the battle between China and the USSR for the world communist leadership.

    26/03/2012 VATICAN - CUBA
    Pope: in Cuba true progress calls for respect for the spiritual dimension of man
    On arrival in the Caribbean island, Benedict XVI acknowledges the improvement of the situation of the Church, but "many areas remain in which greater progress can and ought to be made, especially as regards the indispensable public contribution that religion is called to make in the life of society".

    02/04/2012 VATICAN - CUBA
    With Good Friday recognised as a holiday, Benedict XVI wins "small" victory
    The Holy See welcomes the Cuban government's decision to make it easier for people to attend Good Friday celebrations. The Catholic Church seeks greater space and freedom on the island.

    20/02/2008 CHINA - CUBA
    Why China yes and Cuba no?
    Both are dictatorships that do not respect human rights or even religious freedom, but their development has been very different, due to the Soviet origin of the Cuban model, to Fidel Castro's extremely long reign, and to his imprisonment in anti-American ideology. Beijing, and also Hanoi, have instead entered the global market and experienced great economic growth.

    29/03/2012 VATICAN - CUBA
    The Pope blesses the future of Cuba and meets Fidel Castro
    In his farewell address at the airport in Havana, Benedict XVI invites Cubans to overcome the "limitations" to the fundamental freedoms and the "restrictive economic measures" to make progress on the island. The urgency of the dialogue and the overcoming of "unmovable positions" and "one-sided points of view" to the bishops and the faithful he asks "enthusiasm" and "consistency" in evangelization. Fidel Castro delighted at the beatification of Mother Teresa and John Paul.



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