HAVANA (AP) -- Strengthening a new relationship between former Cold
War foes, Cuban President Fidel Castro and Guatemalan President Alvaro
Arzu on Tuesday agreed to cooperate in drug interdiction efforts and signed
other bilateral accords.
Guatemalan businessmen, who traveled here with Arzu and a delegation of
Cabinet-level ministers, met with representatives of communist state
enterprises to learn about investment opportunities.
After a diplomatic rupture of more than three decades, the countries have
now returned to "the roots of friendship and brotherhood," Guatemalan
Deputy Foreign Minister Gabriel Aguilera declared.
Relations were severed in 1961 after anti-Castro exiles trained at
Guatemalan camps launched the disastrous CIA-sponsored invasion on
Cuba's Bay of Pigs. Diplomatic relations were restored early last year.
Discontent among junior officers in Guatemala's nationalist army over the
Bay of Pigs training camps later helped spark the civil war there.
In his own country, Arzu has moved to leave behind the ideological battles
of decades past. In late 1996 his government and Marxist-inspired rebels
signed an agreement that ended 36 years of civil war in the Central
Arzu described that peace process during a talk at the University of Havana
An estimated 140,000 people were killed during the conflict, mostly civilians
slain during scorched earth campaigns waged by the Guatemala's army.
Cuba sided with the Guatemalan rebels during the conflict and some were
trained on the island.
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.