January 30, 2012

Cuba trade focus as Brazil's President Rousseff visits

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is set to make her first official visit to Cuba with the emphasis on fostering business ties.
Communist-run Cuba, under a US trade embargo for 50 years, has seen some economic reforms under Raul Castro.

Ms Rousseff is due to hold talks with Mr Castro but it is not clear if she will meet former leader Fidel Castro.
With the focus on trade, she is likely only to raise human rights issues privately, Brazilian media reported.
The Brazilian government last week issued a visa to Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez to allow her to visit Brazil for the premiere of a documentary about media freedom in Cuba.
This could put pressure on the Cuban authorities to allow Ms Sanchez to travel abroad, correspondents say.
President Rousseff, part of the underground resistance when the military ran Brazil, has said human rights is a priority of her government.

But Brazilian officials say the focus of her visit on Monday and Tuesday will be boosting ties and economic co-operation.
Ms Rousseff will visit the port of Mariel, where Brazilian company Odebrecht is carrying out a multi-million dollar modernisation of the harbour with money from the Brazilian national development bank, BNDES.
President Rousseff will travel on from Havana to make her first official visit to Haiti, where Brazilian troops lead the UN peacekeeping force.

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