China pledges US$100 million to Cuba, discusses new debt terms

CHINA has donated US$100 million (RM448 million) to Cuba to help it survive a crippling economic crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, the island nation’s Deputy Prime Minister Alejandro Gil said yesterday.

The donation came as Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel concluded a visit to China, part of a rare foreign trip.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Diaz-Canel met on Friday and “the offer arose of a donation of around US$100 million by China,” Gil told Cuban state television.

Gil, who is also Cuba’s economy minister, said the money would go toward “priorities” on the island, which has been rocked by its worst economic crisis in three decades.

Diaz-Canel concluded his visit to China later Friday and continued on a global tour designed to gain support for Cuba in renovating an electrical system that has failed repeatedly, causing frequent blackouts.

Gil said leaders of the two countries also discussed “the subject of the debt” that Cuba has accrued with China but did not specify the size of the debt.

“Our president explained the situation that we confront, and there was understanding from China. We are seeking mutually acceptable formulas for the planning and restructuring of the debts,” Gil said. 

China is Cuba’s second biggest trade partner after Venezuela. Both nations are strong political allies of Cuba.

Earlier on his trip, Diaz-Canel visited Algeria, where President Abdelmadjid Tebboune promised to ship fuel to Cuba, donate a photovoltaic power plant and cancel interest on debts, Gil said.

Diaz-Canel’s trip was also to include stops in Turkey and Russia. – AFP, November 27, 2022.

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