That’s right, folk, the Castro regime has just appointed its first ambassador to New Zealand. And he is very keen to get to know the locals, of course.
New Zealand, you ask? Beautiful country. Friendly people. Great Rugby players. Terrific lamb. But Cuba interested in New Zealand?
Well, here is one possible explanation. In recent years, Havana has worked hard at wooing South Pacific nations, offering them the Fidel Castro version of “humanitarian aid”, such as lowly-paid doctors, agricultural advisers, sporting links and scholarships for South Pacific students to study medicine in Cuba.
The countries targeted in what has been a fairly aggressive diplomatic strategy have ranged from Fiji and East Timor to the Solomon Islands and even tiny Nauru.
As we have previously discussed, all that activity has started to worry Australian foreign policy officials, who have long seen the region as their own “sphere of influence” – and who are rightly suspicious of this unusual push by the cash-strapped Cubans.
As for the new ambassador, his name is Jose Luis Robaina Garcia, a long-standing Communist apparatchik whose last diplomatic posting was as Minister Counsellor in the Cuban Embassy in Beijing.
More significant, before his appointment to Wellington, Mr Robaina headed the Centre of Asia and Oceania Studies, which is a department of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.
And like the good revolutionary that he is, the ambassador has already started selling his message, as you can read here.