The Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla will arrive in Cuba on Sunday as part of their Caribbean tour. The couple were asked by the UK government to visit the country to help boost commercial relations and political influence. Paul Hare, a former British ambassador to Cuba, believes the trip will help Britain build stronger ties with the socialist country, despite the Trump administration warning foreign companies away from doing business with Cuba.
He said: “The visit shows a fresh willingness by the UK to engage with Cuba in the Diaz-Canel era.
“The UK has long seen the US trade embargo as the wrong way to produce greater openness and tolerance of new ideas in Cuba.”
During their trip, Prince Charles and Camilla will have dinner with Cuba’s new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, who took over from Raul Castro last year.
But it won’t be their first meeting, as the Cuban president went to Prince Charles’ 70th birthday celebrations last November.
Charles is not expected to meet Mr Castro, who is still head of the Communist Party.
However, Britain’s embassy has hinted this could change.
They will also have a tour around Havana’s restored colonial district to meet young entrepreneurs and see a parade of antique British cars.
The royal couple will also view green energy projects in Havana and will explore a small memorial garden for his first wife, Princess Diana, who died in 1997, according to Reuters.
Cubans are often said to sometimes lay flowers at the foot of a marble sculpture by artist Juan Narciso Quintanilla, which shows a sun “representing her luminosity”.
Antoni Kapcia, a professor of Latin American History at the University of Nottingham, says Princess Diana is still beloved in Cuba because people find her life story interesting.
He said to Express.co.uk: “It’s not easy to see why the Diana myth caught on its Cuba as and when it did, other than that she was something of a ‘star’ and ‘celebrity’ at a time when they were all just coming out of the so-called ‘Special Period’ – the years of real austerity.
“This was even worse than the UK’s since 2008 and as bad as the 1930s Depression in some ways, as it followed the collapse of the Soviet union and Eastern bloc in 1989-91, so perhaps they were looking for something to cheer themselves up with.
“That’s when more US film stars and foreign musicians visited Cuba, and when the Buena Vista phenomenon took off outside Cuba. In other words, Diana was more ‘the myth’ than the real person, about whom they probably knew little.”
Mr Kapcia added the memorial does not have any other political significance than to show the country’s “hard times were over”.
He said: “To be honest, I still don’t know why exactly they created the little park dedicated to her in Old Havana, as it’s basically a patio-sized park, or who paid for it.
“But those years saw a lot of that sort of building and celebrations, as though to say to Cubans that the hard times were over and Cuba could afford to invest money in things of beauty again.
“So she was a sort-of Elvis-type figure, whose life-story people found interesting, like in Hello magazine, but not necessarily meaning very much in its detail. It certainly didn’t have any political significance then or since.”
Source: Read Full Article