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Address by President Dilma Rousseff Inauguration Ceremony of the Port of Mariel Province of Artemisa, Cuba 27 January 2014

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January 29, 2014 ( newswire) Official Translation

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Your Excellency Raúl Castro, President of Cuba,
Ladies and gentlemen Heads of State and Heads of Government,
Ladies and gentlemen Ministers of State and members of delegations here present,
Mr. Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja, chairman of the Business Administration Group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces,
Mr. Marcelo Odebrecht, CEO of Odebrecht,
Ladies and gentlemen entrepreneurs, investors and employees of the Port of Mariel,
Dear journalists, photographers and cameramen,

It is with great joy that I come to Cuba for the second time as President of the Republic. Profound ties bind our countries, and a sentiment of friendship brings our societies together. Brazil believes and bets on the human and economic potential of Cuba.

Even subjected to unjust economic embargo, Cuba generates one of the three largest trade volumes in the Caribbean, a number which will increase substantially with the entry into operation of the Port and the Special Development Zone of Mariel.

Brazil is proud to have associated with Cuba on the first Port/Container Terminal of the Caribbean with the capacity to integrate into the cross-continental logistics chain. It will be ready to receive Super Post-Panamax vessels up to 18 meters in draft and move about 1 million containers per year. Road access to the port is now complete, and rail access is under construction. Through the BNDES, we financed US$ 802 million in goods and services in the first phase, and have also engaged 400 Brazilian companies in the process. In the second stage, we will finance US$ 290 million more for the implementation of the Special Development Zone of Mariel, which will become a key player in the promotion of Cuban economic development. Several Brazilian companies have expressed great interest in settling in the Special Zone. Right now we are organizing a trade mission to Cuba.

Brazil wants to become a first-order economic partner for Cuba. We believe that one way to encourage this partnership is to increase bilateral trade flow. The possibilities for industrial development are great, including in sectors such as healthcare equipment, medicines and vaccines, in which Cuba dominates state-of-the-art technology.

Dear friends,

2013 was a very special year for Brazil-Cuba partnership. The establishment of a weekly Cubana Airlines flight between São Paulo and Havana will encourage tourism and business between our peoples.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the public, the government and the people of Cuba for their enormous contribution to the Brazilian healthcare system through the ‘More Doctors’ program. The participation of Cuban doctors is widely supported by the Brazilian people, and bears effective proof of the spirit of solidarity and cooperation that drives the relationship between our countries.

2013 was also a very special year for regional integration. The hosting of the CELAC Summit in Havana highlights the importance of Cuba in the Latin American-Caribbean integration process. Only with Cuba will our region be complete.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear President Raúl,

The friendship that unites us is nourished by common interests, cultural identity, dialogue and cooperation. This port we inaugurate today will remain as the symbol of this long-lasting friendship.

Thank you all.

SOURCE: Palácio do Planalto

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