Mexico’s federal government officially notified the Senate yesterday that President Felipe Calderón will visit Cuba and Haiti as part of a four-day trip that will conclude on April 14–15 in Cartagena, Colombia, for the 6th Summit of the Americas. Cuba was not invited to participate in the Summit.
The visit to Cuba will be the first for the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) president; a planned 2009 visit was postponed after outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus.
Calderón plans to raise human rights concerns, as well as issues of migration, oil exploration, and regional commerce and investment integration. Mexico–Cuba relations have been rocky since the administration of then-President Ernesto Zedillo (1994–2000) raised tensions by publicly criticizing Cuba for its checkered record on human rights. The relationship grew more contentious in 2004 under then-President Vicente Fox (2000-2006). Both countries closed their respective embassies for three months over human rights concerns.
The trip to Haiti is in response to a long-standing invitation to visit the island extended by Haitian President Michel Martelly to discuss Latin American and Caribbean regional integration.