MEXICO CITY Nov 1 The Mexican government is
ready to waive 70 percent of a debt worth nearly $500 million
Cuba owes it, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said on Friday, as
Mexico seeks to improve ties with the communist island.
Speaking on Mexican radio, Videgaray said a loan issued by
Mexico's foreign trade development bank Bancomext to Cuba more
than 15 years ago had become a debt worth $487 million.
"Seventy percent of the debt is to be waived," Videgaray
said, adding that a formal announcement would be made later.
The rest of the debt will be paid in 10 years, he added.
Relations between Cuba and Mexico were traditionally strong,
but they soured during the rule of the conservative National
Action Party between 2000 and 2012.
Ties reached a nadir in 2002 when Cuba's Fidel Castro
revealed how then-Mexican President Vicente Fox had told him to
leave an international summit early after eating his lunch so he
would avoid an overlap with then-U.S. President George W. Bush.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled the
country between 1929 and 2000 and regained power last year, is
keen to establish an influential relationship with Cuba as Fidel
and his successor, his brother Raul Castro, advance through
Videgaray said it was important to resolve the debt issue so
that "things would flow well" between the two countries.