KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 -- The Malaysian public has been able to appreciate part of the cultural heritage of Cuba through music, dances and visual arts with the work of the Malaysia-Cuba Friendship Association (FOCA), said Cuba's Ambassador to Malaysia Ibete Fernández Hernández.
In a statement to Bernama today in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of FOCA's official launch, she said FOCA has actively participated in events promoted by the Cuban embassy in Kuala Lumpur, including the Latin American cultural and film festivals.
FOCA, she added, had also supported the participation of Cuban painters at the Art Expo Malaysia fair, Cuban scientists’ participation in congresses and seminars held in Malaysia, culinary festivals, as well as celebrations of the day of Cuban culture and the national holiday of Cuba.
The ambassador said the founding of FOCA is associated with the consolidation of ties between Cuba and Malaysia, and with the will to extend them to people-to-people exchanges in order to strengthen the historical friendship between both countries and improve bilateral cooperation.
Hernandez said an important force for the association has been the graduates in Cuba, who, from their position as members, have been tireless in spreading the values and knowledge acquired on the island.
"The participation of Malaysian businessmen in the association to promote business and disseminate their experiences in trade, that unfortunately are still incipient with Cuba, has been notable," she added.
The creation of FOCA dates from 2005. Its first president was Datuk Seri Mukhriz Tun Mahathir.
FOCA was established among others to foster good relations between the citizens of Malaysia and Cuba, and to promote the exchange of cultural, social, educational, scientific, artistic and commercial interests between the people of the two countries.
"After 15 fruitful years of existence, we thank the current and past members of the organisation; as well as its four presidents: Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Datuk Muthanna Abdullah, Nazary Ahmad and Fahmy Khai, the current president, (for) their work to keep active solidarity and knowledge about Cuba in Malaysia," she noted.
Hernandez said Cuba has never been alone and has had a sincere friendship in many parts of the world and Malaysia has not been the exception.
Cuba and Malaysia established diplomatic relations on Feb 6, 1975. In 1997, Cuba opened its embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and the gesture was reciprocated by Malaysia in 2001 with the opening of its embassy in Havana.
Since then, there have been numerous exchanges of delegations, even at the highest level and important agreements of economic and technical cooperation, the ambassador said.
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