Updated 10:54 AM EST, Fri, Feb 26, 2021

Mexico & Cuba Relations: Castro, Peña Nieto Announce New Agreements & Stronger Ties Following Countries' Restored Relations

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The presidents of Mexico and Cuba have sealed new agreements and stronger ties in a move to restore the two countries' diplomatic relations.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and his Cuban counterpart, Raúl Castro, had a meeting at the Yucatan state government palace in Mérida, Mexico on Friday. Peña Nieto said that one of the accords they have discussed is to combat human trafficking, as well as business agreements intended to boost Mexican investment in Cuba, Los Angeles Times reported.

According to Yahoo! News, Mexico and Cuba signed five cooperation agreements in migration, education, diplomacy, fishing, and tourism.

The two nation leaders also had "a dialogue at the highest political levels," with Peña Nieto adding that they reestablished the "affection, respect and admiration that both countries historically have had for each other," the news outlet further reported. However, no precise commitments or investment plans were announced by both parties.

"We also welcome the interest of Mexican companies to do business and invest in Cuba, particularly in the special development zone of Mariel and in sectors such as agriculture and tourism," Castro said during his first visit in Mexico after taking over Cuba's presidency from his brother, Fidel Castro, in 2006, as quoted by Los Angeles Times.

Also announced on Friday is a memorandum of understanding to "guarantee the legal, orderly and safe flow of migration" between the two nations, and to prevent and combat crimes related to human trafficking, Los Angeles Times added.

Peña Nieto has been taking steps to mend broken ties with Cuba since he was sworn to office in December 2012. In 2010, Castro headed to Mexico to attend a Latin America summit in the Mexican resort city of Cancun. Peña Nieto also visited Cuba in January 2014 for a Latin American and Caribbean nations summit, a separate report from Yahoo! News noted.

In 2013, the Mexican government also absolved 70 percent of Cuba's $487 million debt and gave the island 10 years to repay the remaining sum, the news outlet added.

Back in May 2014, Peña Nieto's administration sent a business delegation to Havana representing 48 companies. Mexico also opened a trade promotion office in Cuba's capital, Yahoo! News reported.

The restoration of the two countries' relations comes after Cuba's recent reconciliation with the U.S., Los Angeles Times wrote. Mexico and Cuba's current situation could eventually lead to the elimination of the automatic refugee privilege that Cubans have as soon as they arrive at the U.S. Majority of Cubans hope to get to America before their privileged migratory status gets terminated.

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