Context:

  • Raul Castro resigned as head of Cuba’s Communist Party, ending an era of formal leadership by himself and his brother Fidel Castro that began with the 1959 revolution.
  • Cuba’s Party congress chose Mr. Díaz-Canel to be its leader, adding that crucial post to the title of president he assumed in 2018. He replaces his mentor Raul Castro sealing a political dynasty that had held power since the 1959 revolution.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Foreign Policies and Developments affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Cuba’s History
  2. Cuba–India relations

Cuba’s History

  • From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902.
  • In 1940, Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952.
  • Open corruption and oppression under Batista’s rule led to his ousting in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement, which afterwards established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro.
  • Since 1965, the state has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba.
  • The country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
  • In 2019, a new Constitution was approved which officially recognizes the right to private property, while also reassuring the central government’s authority over the regulation of production and land.

Cuba–India relations

  • India was among the first nations to recognize Cuba following the 1959 Cuban revolution.
  • India opened its embassy in Havana in 1960 itself symbolizing Indian solidarity with the Cuban revolution.
  • India has always voted in favour of UN General Assembly resolutions calling for an end to the United States embargo against Cuba.
  • Cuba has publicly expressed support for India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council on numerous occasions.
  • Both nations are also members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Trade

  • The main commodities exported from India to Cuba are pharmaceutical products, organic chemicals, plastic and rubber articles, machinery and mechanical appliances.
  • The main commodities Cuba exports to India are tobacco products including cigars, raw hides and skins, and leather.

India’s Support to Cuba

  • India donated a 5 KW solar power plant to Cuba in 1995.
  • In 2008, India wrote off a $62 million loan and interest that it had provided to the Cuban government.
  • India provided Cuba with $2 million in cash in the aftermath of Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma in August–September 2008.
  • Citizens of Cuba are eligible for scholarships under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

-Source: The Hindu

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