14ymedio, Beijing, 11 April 2019 — Lis Cuesta Peraza, the wife of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, traveled to China this week, where she had a meeting with Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday. The visit is unprecedented in the Cuban diplomatic framework, after decades without an institutional role for the spouse of a head of government.
However, the news was reported by the Chinese press. The official Cuban media have not covered the meeting or given any information related to the trip of Diaz-Canel’s wife to Beijing.
Lis Cuesta said that Cuba admires the achievements of China over the past 70 years and expressed its gratitude to Beijing for the long-term support and assistance it has offered to the island.
Diaz Canel’s wife conveyed her desire to “seize” the opportunity of the 60th anniversary, in 2020, of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries to promote cultural exchanges between both peoples and consolidate the institutional friendship of both nations.
In addition, she asked Peng to convey the greetings and good wishes of Diaz-Canel to Xi and spoke on behalf of the Cuban people to affirm that the island loves Chinese culture and its people.
For her part, Peng confirmed that the two countries share a deep traditional friendship and expressed the hope that Sino-Cuban cooperation will achieve fruitful results and the bilateral friendship will last.
Peng explained to Cuesta her work as a special envoy of Unesco for the promotion of girls’ and women’s education and as a goodwill ambassador of WHO for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. She shared China’s experience in the promotion of education and health.
Xi’s wife expressed the hope that the two countries will strengthen exchanges and cooperation in these areas and praised Lis Cuesta’s “active efforts” to promote bilateral exchanges between peoples and cultures.
The public appearances of Cuesta contrast with the secrecy that surrounded the private and family life of Fidel Castro for decades. His wife and the mother of five of his children, Dalia Soto del Valle, was only seen in the last years of the ruler’s life and during his funeral.
Cuesta, however, has joined her husband in at least 11 countries, the last of them Nicaragua, for the VIII Summit of the Association of Caribbean States. The first lady was also present at the reception in Cuba for Prince Charles of England and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as well as a recent luxury hotel event Iberostar Grand Packard of Havana.
The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.