THE Ambassador of Cuba to Qatar HE Eumelio Caballero Rodriguez has praised the strong bilateral relations between the two countries and their peoples.
"In this context, I wish to highlight the role of the Father Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and late Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz. The bond between the two leaders was the basis for the development of excellent relations that exist today between Qatar and Cuba," Rodriguez said in an exclusive interview with Qatar Tribune.
"On December 13, 2017, we commemorated the 28th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and Qatar. The establishment of diplomatic relations was followed by the opening of the Cuban Embassy in Doha in June 1994, and that of Qatar in Havana in 2001."
Since then, there have been many important dates and events that have marked the ever-growing bond between both countries, Rodriguez said.
"Last year, for example, people in Qatar enjoyed the performance of a Cuban music troupe which participated in the Festival of Latin America and Caribbean countries, organised by Katara. Recently, the magnificent exhibition of the Cuban painter of horses and falcons, Juan Arel, was hosted by Katara. We are working to expand cultural exchanges as an indispensable mechanism to mutually enrich both peoples," he said.
The economic, financial and commercial fields have also witnessed some advancement, the ambassador said."Some time ago, a joint venture was created for the construction of a five-star hotel on the coast of Havana. It is in the final stages of planning and construction will begin soon. Also, the Cuban Hospital in Dukhan renders world-class services by more than 460 Cuban health professionals. It receives an increasing number of Qatari citizens, expatriates and members of the diplomatic community who travel from Doha and other distant places to be treated by Cuban doctors."
Joint scientific research and production of medicines for the Qatar market and large-scale export to other countries may benefit Qatar by becoming an important source of income in the near future, the ambassador felt.
"There are unlimited opportunities for Qatari investments throughout Cuba in sectors like tourism, particularly in the construction of hotels and marinas, real estate, finance, transportation, agriculture, oil exploration and production, renewable energy and mining," he said.
Asked how Qatari investments are viewed in Cuba, Rodriguez said that Qatari investors have an excellent reputation in Cuba."That is not only because Qataris come from a friendly country but also because businessmen from Qatar are viewed as being serious people, respectful of other countries' internal legislations and domestic affairs, able to deliver on commitments, and of good financial solvency."
Cuba, he said, is the most dynamic tourist destination in the Caribbean region. It has everything that attracts Qatari tourists: nature, beautiful beaches and marine activities, a rich historical and cultural heritage, and an atmosphere of total political stability and social security.
To boost people-to-people ties further, Rodriguez said that they were seriously looking into starting direct Qatar Airways flights between Doha and Havana."This would enormously boost ties between both countries, particularly the tourist flow, not only of Qatari citizens and expatriates who work here, but of tourists from all over the region and from other nearby countries who could benefit from Doha as the transit hub to Cuba," he said.
"I must refer to an aspect that is an important premise for the development of friendly relations and cooperation between both countries. I mean the mutual respect and feeling of friendship prevalent between Cubans and Qataris. Cubans in Qatar enjoy this experience every day in Qatar, both from the authorities of the country and from the citizens."
"I would like to take this opportunity to convey to the Qatari people our heartfelt wishes for continuous success in their efforts towards the economic and social development of Qatar, in a climate of peace and security, under the wise leadership of the Emir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani," the ambassador added.