November 8, 1999

Paraguay, Cuba restore full diplomatic ties after 38 years

                  ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) -- Paraguay and Cuba restored full
                  diplomatic ties in a surprise ceremony Monday, 38 years after relations were
                  cut following Fidel Castro's communist revolution.

                  A Cuban foreign ministry official, Jorge Bolanos Suarez, joined Paraguay's
                  foreign minister, Jose Felix Fernandez Estigarribia, in making the
                  announcement in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion.

                  Bolanos Suarez said he hoped the restoration of ties would help strengthen
                  economic links between Cuba and Paraguay. Paraguay has occasionally
                  joined in criticism of the long-standing U.S. economic embargo against

                  Relations between the two countries broke down in 1961, shortly after
                  Castro took power in Cuba. Paraguay, then led by dictator Alfredo
                  Stroessner, was among the first Latin American countries to suspend
                  relations with the Caribbean island nation.

                  Paraguay was the only country in the region that did not officially have
                  diplomatic relations with Cuba.