Cuba celebrated its National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai on February 14 marked by its musical heritage with Latin Grammy Award winners Septeto Santiaguero getting the fiesta started after the welcome speeches.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, and Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director, Office of the Commissioner General, Expo 2020 Dubai, welcomed Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade, Foreign Investment and International Cooperation.

Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali said: “Cuba’s participation at Expo 2020 presents its creativity and innovation, along with its vision and remarkable global achievements, while at the same time highlighting Cuba’s rich cultural heritage through dance, music, literature and arts.

“We are pleased that the relationship between our two nations continues to thrive, and we are confident that our collaboration will expand across an array of fields of vital importance to our two countries, such as renewable energy, health, and tourism.”

Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz said: “The inauguration of the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in the United Arab Emirates took place exactly three years ago, on February 14 2019, thus granting new impulse to the economic, commercial and friendly relations between our two countries.

“The fact that this event, as well as today’s ceremony, have occurred on the day of international celebration of friendship and love is a commitment to turn the economic and commercial interests and all links between our countries into deeper and more lasting bonds. The presence at Expo 2020 Dubai of 200 pavilions, of which 192 are national representations, is a symbol of the universal will to work together for a better world.”

Rooted in the rhythms of Cuba, Septeto Santiaguero performed in Al Wasl following the speeches. The seven-piece band have been nominated for six Latin Grammy awards, winning twice in the Traditional Popular Music category, and are regular performers at the world’s most prestigious venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall.

During a briefing held at the Cuba Pavilion, Malmierca said: “We have very good relations with the authorities of the UAE and we have a very strong collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Fund, as well as some of the institutions that have cooperated with Cuba in a very important way for the development of different projects in prioritised fields, like renewable energy and the promotion of science and technology. We thank the UAE for their continued support throughout.

“We at Cuba set objectives for development until the year 2030. These plans have several sectors that we are giving priority to. The general view is we need science, technology, and innovation to develop our country. We are happy to have good development in the health services, and we will continue to conduct our own development model.”

Visitors to the Cuba Pavilion can discover more about the economic, social and ecological transformations that are taking place throughout the country with a tour of the island’s vibrant streets. Located in the Sustainability District, the pavilion features an iconic Cuban bar where visitors can enjoy a virgin mojito made with sugar from Cuban sugarcanes and learn the cha-cha-cha.

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