Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said upon her return to Taiwan yesterday that she did not want to speculate as to why Cuba denied her entry on the same day she was appointed the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) interim chairperson.
Speaking at Kaohsiung International Airport in the morning, Chen said the Cuban authorities did not explain why the country denied her entry, but she did not think the decision was connected to her appointment.
However, the incident was reminiscent of the Republic of Nauru’s switch of allegiance to China on July 22, 2002, the same day then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) took over the DPP chairmanship.
Taiwan severed its relations with Nauru the following day.
Chen Chu is to temporarily take the helm of the party on March 1, when DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) resigns after taking responsibility for her loss in the presidential election to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Jan. 14.
Chen Chu, the only person among her delegation denied entry upon arriving in Havana via Miami, Florida, had kept her planned visit to Cuba from the public due to the sensitivity of the trip, because Taiwan does not have official diplomatic ties with the Caribbean country.
The veteran politician told reporters that she was confident that she could maintain stability within the party as an interim chairperson before the -chairperson election on May 27.
Asked whether she would run in the DPP chairperson election in May, Chen did not answer directly, but said that her commitment to Kaohsiung’s citizens and the interests and opinions of Kaohsiung residents would be her priority.
Chen hinted to the media that she might seek re-election, despite being less than one-and-a-half years into her first term as mayor of the special municipality.
With Chen returning to Taiwan early, Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) and the rest of the delegation, mostly officials from the local government’s Agricultural Department and farmers’ representatives, carried on their scheduled trip to observe organic agriculture in Cuba.