Monday, June 23, 2008


A very senior member of the Chinese Communist Party, He Guoqiang, has just arrived in Havana for a four-day “goodwill” visit that is likely to include a meeting with Raul Castro.

The much-hyped visit is the latest in a series of visits by high-level Chinese officials over the past four or five years as part of the “new relationship” between the two supposedly Communist countries.

Of course, it wasn’t always so.

After an initial burst of back-slapping camaraderie at the beginning of his reign, Fidel Castro was ordered in the mid 1960s to stop dealing with the Chinese by his paymasters in Moscow. And loyal to a fault, Castro did as he was told for about 20 years.

Still, it seems the Chinese are a very forgiving lot, as you can see from this handy backgrounder on Sino-Cuban relations published by the official Chinese newsagency Xinhua.

Referring to Castro's big freeze in relations, Xinhua notes tactfully: “There were little substantive contacts between China and Cuba during the period of Cold War from the middle of the 1960s to the early 1980s.”


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