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Cuba

Yearbook 1998

Cuba. In late January, Pope John Paul II made his first and long-anticipated visit to Cuba. Although the Vatican pointed out that the Pope's visit was religious and not political in nature, it helped to open several closed doors to Cuba. The Pope propagated, among other things. against the US blockade of Cuba and urged the outside world to break the country's isolation. The call later led to several countries, including Spain, restoring normal diplomatic relations with Cuba.

1998 Cuba

Later, the United States decided to ease the blockade. US pharmaceutical companies were given the right to sell medicine to Cuba, exile Cubans were again allowed to send money to relatives, and air services between Miami and Cuba were resumed. A growing American opinion against the blockade joined, among other things. former Foreign Ministers Henry Kissinger and Lawrence Eagleburger. Japan decided to allow Cuba to renegotiate a large debt that has not been repaid since 1987.

According to Countryaah, there were also fewer countries than usual that supported the US recurring criticism of Cuba in the UN Commission on Human Rights. The EU approved Cuba as an observer at the renegotiation of the Lomé Convention in September. The Convention regulates trade between the EU and 71 former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. In January, the Cubans voted in elections to the national assembly and 14 so-called county assemblies. The turnout was high, 98%. According to Granma Communist Party newspaper, Fidel Castro was supported by 99% of the voters. It is still impossible to vote for opposition parties or candidates. Castro was later formally re-elected president and head of government. Cuba and Russia agreed to resume and finalize a disputed and heavily delayed construction of a nuclear power plant, which is estimated to account for 15-20% of the country's electricity needs. Cuba suffered the worst drought in 40 years during the year. More than half a million people in the eastern part of the country were affected by the drought, which was thought to be caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

In September, Cuba was hit by Hurricane Georges, which advanced across the Caribbean. At least four people were killed, 20,000 homes were demolished and coffee, cocoa and banana crops were destroyed.

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