Spain Aid to Cuba Doubles in Two Years
HAVANA – Spanish aid to Cuba, which has climbed from 17 million euros
($25.36 million) in 2007 to 34 million euros ($50.7 million) this year,
figures to be touted during the upcoming visit to the island by Foreign
Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos as a key aspect of the growing
cooperation between the two nations.
Both countries have said they are satisfied with the increase in aid,
which the coordinator of Spanish cooperation in Havana, Juan Diego Ruiz,
told Efe has primarily funded food security, services such as education
and health, potable water projects and the protection of cultural heritage.
The Spanish government resumed aid flows to Cuba after bilateral
relations were normalized during Moratinos' previous visit to the island
in April 2007. Cooperation had been suspended for four years after Cuba
jailed 75 dissidents for allegedly conspiring with the United States to
undermine the communist system.
However, despite the lack of direct cooperation between the central
governments from 2003 to 2007, aid has never stopped flowing to Cuba
from Spain's autonomous communities, provinces and municipalities.
In 2010, the total amount of Spanish cooperation with Cuba is expected
to be equivalent to that of 2009 due to the impact of the global
financial crisis, "but it won't fall either," Ruiz said.
Spain's different administrations at the national, regional and local
levels spend some 5.3 billion euros ($7.9 billion) annually on
international development cooperation.
Aid to Cuba over the past 12 months has included funding to rebuild and
repair schools, hospitals and homes battered by three hurricanes in
2008, as well as an initial 36 tons of emergency relief supplies.
Around 40 percent of Spanish aid to Cuba is included as part of
multilateral cooperation plans coordinated by U.N. agencies.
Another 35 percent is sent via 100 Spanish non-governmental
organizations and the remaining 25 percent is channeled through direct
Moratinos is scheduled to visit Cuba on Oct. 18 and 19. EFE
Latin American Herald Tribune – Spain Aid to Cuba Doubles in Two Years
(16 October 2009)