HAVANA -- (AFP) -- Guatemala's new ambassador presented his credentials
Cuban authorities Monday, ending 36 years of diplomatic isolation between the
With the restoration of ties there are now only four countries in Latin
no relations with President Fidel Castro's government.
``Cuba is a country I visited years ago,'' said Guatemalan Ambassador Willy
Kalschmitt when he arrived here Sunday.
``I know its history, its countless achievements, and I hope my presence
benefit both our countries.''
Cuba and Guatemala decided to re-establish diplomatic relations in January
following the visit to Cuba of Pope John Paul II, who called for an opening
between the island and the rest of the world.
Cuba, hit hard by the end of Soviet aid following the collapse of the Soviet
has launched a diplomatic offensive throughout Latin America in recent years to
break its isolation in the hemisphere.
The only Latin American countries now without full diplomatic relations
Havana are Costa Rica, Paraguay, El Salvador and Honduras.
Kalschmitt said his priorities would be promoting trade, cultural and sports
relations between Cuba and Guatemala.
Later Monday Guatemalan Vice President Luis Flores and Foreign Minister
Eduardo Stein, who is currently president of the Council of Ministers of the
Association of Caribbean States, were to arrive in Havana.
The group is holding a number of meetings this week on the island.
A delegation of more than 50 Guatemalan businessmen was expected to
Relations between Guatemala and Cuba were broken in 1962, following the
ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion for which anti-Castro exiles trained in Guatemala.