Spain’s King Philip VI and Queen Letizia maintain their plans to make an official visit to Cuba this November, according to government sources cited by El Periódico de Catalunya in its digital edition. Sources from the Zarzuela confirmed other upcoming trips by the King but not that of Cuba.
It would be the first official visit of a Spanish head of state to the island and was agreed almost a year ago by the presidents of Spain Pedro Sánchez and of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel, during the former’s visit to Havana in 2018.
The celebration of the 500th anniversary of the foundation of Havana will be the reason for this long-cherished trip.
After the failed negotiations to form a government and the call for new elections on November 10 in Spain, there had been speculation about the cancellation of this trip, given the political uncertainty in that country.
However, the same sources affirmed that the Executive “does not see any inconvenience for the King’s trips,” and that despite the electoral call they consider it logical that the agenda of Philip VI be carried out “with total normalcy.”
Diplomatic, political and economic relations between Spain and Cuba have advanced in recent years, especially after Sanchez’s visit to the island last November.
More than 300 Spanish companies are present on the island.
Spain is also consolidating itself as Cuba’s second largest trading partner before Venezuela and after the first, China.
In the tourism sector, Spanish firms dominate the market, with more than 70% of hotel beds run by corporations such as Meliá, Iberostar, Barceló or NH under a joint management regimen.
The previous king, Juan Carlos I, visited Cuba in 1999 but not on an official visit but to attend together with then President José María Aznar the 9th Iberian-American Summit held in Havana.