Costa Rica approves Cuban consulate
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) -- Costa Rica announced Friday it has approved
Cuba's request to open a consulate here, signaling a further strengthening of
relations with the communist island nearly 40 years after the two countries broke
Juan Carlos Hernandez, the new Cuban consul, is scheduled to arrive Sunday
begin working on the office, although an exact date for its opening had not been
Costa Rica cut diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961, when the Central
American country joined an economic embargo against the government of Cuban
President Fidel Castro.
However, ties between the two countries began to warm in 1998, when Costa
Rica established an interests office in Havana to deal with immigration. An
estimated 15,000 Cubans live in Costa Rica.
In addition to dealing with immigration issues, Costa Rican Chancellor
Rojas also said the consulate will help with growing business ties between the
two countries and Costa Rica's desire to attract more tourism like that of Cuba --
especially tourists from Europe.
Costa Rica is the latest in a number of Latin American and other nations
have strengthened ties with Cuba over the past decade, following the collapse of
the Soviet Union and a growing tendency to view international relations in
economic rather than ideological terms.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.