Cuba has historically sided with the Polisario Front against Morocco in the ongoing Western Sahara conflict.
Rabat – Cuba’s ambassador to Morocco, Elio Eduardo Rodriguez Perdomo, announced yesterday, October 7, that Cuba plans to open an embassy in Rabat. The Cuban ambassador made the announcement during his meeting with Morocco’s Habib El Malki, President of the House of Representatives.
The Cuban ambassador to Morocco presented his credentials in August 2018. However, he has been living in Paris, France, since his appointment.
“All conditions are in place to raise the level of bilateral relations. The opening of a Cuban embassy in Rabat is an important step in this direction,” said El Malki, according to a press release published on the House of Representatives’ website.
Perdomo also announced that his country will nominate a new ambassador to Morocco when the embassy opens. In July 2019, Moroccan sources revealed that the position will be assigned to Javier Domokos Ruiz, according to Spanish press agency EFE.
The ambassador’s visit comes only two weeks after the Moroccan and Cuban ministers of foreign affairs met on the sidelines of the UN 74th General Assembly, in New York, United States.
This visit is Perdomo’s third official visit to Morocco, after his first in August 2018, and a second visit in May 2019.
Relations between Morocco and Cuba were frozen for almost 37 years. On April 21, 2017, the two countries decided to re-establish their diplomatic relations, following a visit of King Mohammed VI to the Caribbean country.
Since the 1960’s, relations between the two countries were marked by increased tension as a result of Cuba’s decision to side with Algeria during the Morocco-Algerian military conflict of 1963 known as the “Sand War.”
Cuba’s support for Algeria was motivated by the Caribbean country’s sense of affiliation with Algeria due to a mirrored struggle for independence. Morocco severed its relations with Cuba in 1980.
For the past four decades, Cuba has welcomed and trained scores of young Sahrawis from the Tindouf camps.
While Cuba still supports the Polisario, Moroccan analysts believe that the reestablishment of ties between Rabat and Havana could be a major step towards a more neutral stance from Cuba on the conflict.