President Higgins arrives in Cuba for state visit

The Irish President will meet Raúl Castro during his visit

President Higgins arrives in Cuba for state visit

Picture by Shona Murray

President Higgins has arrived in Cuba for a full state visit to meet with President Raúl Castro.

His visit marks the first time an Irish head of state has visited Cuba on official duty.

He is due to be greeted by Cuban vice-minister for foreign affairs, Mr Rogelio Sierra, for a wreath-laying ceremony and a tour of the Jose Marti museum.

Later tonight, President Higgins will attend a dinner at Cuba’s Palace of the Revolution for a tête-à-tête with his counterpart, President Castro.

The two leaders will dine privately; there will be no remarks directly after their meeting.

The President is joined on the visit by Minister of State for Justice David Stanton after a Dáil pairing permitted him free to attend the state visit.

Tomorrow, President Higgins is a special guest at the Havana International Book Club where celebrated Irish author Joseph O’Connor is launching his book Star of The Sea in Spanish.

President Higgins is launching the Irish in Latin America exhibition, where he will deliver his keynote address.

A spokesperson for President Higgins said the visit is an opportunity for Ireland and Cuba to set a course for a deeper and more focused relationship.

It is also seen by the Cuban government as a route to deeper Cuban-European relations.