The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has yet to receive an explanation from the Cuban government as to why it refused entry to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) interim chairperson Chen Chu (陳菊) in late February.
The Greater Kaohsiung mayor had intended to tour Cuba’s organic farmland and her delegation applied for landing visas when their plane touched down in Havana after leaving Miami, Florida.
Although visas were granted for the other members of her delegation, Chen was denied a visa without reason.
According to diplomatic data, the preferential treatment the Cuban government extends to Taiwanese is something between a visa-waiver and a landing visa. Republic of China nationals visiting Cuba do not have to apply for Cuban visas in advance, but they do have to purchase “tourist cards” valued at US$15 when they reach customs, the data said.
While Chen was traveling overseas and just before Cuba denied her visa, the DPP nominated her as its acting chairperson following the resignation of then-DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Diplomatic circles noticed that at about the same time, China’s then-ambassador to Cuba Liu Yuqin (劉玉琴) stepped down and was quickly replaced by current Chinese Ambassador to Cuba Zhang Tuo (張拓).
During her tenure, Liu once gave a speech saying “we thank the Latin American countries that have greatly supported China over the Taiwan, Tibet and human rights issues.”
Zhang, who assumed his post on March 1, has said that “currently relationships between the Chinese and Cuban governments have never been better,” adding that he believed his work would be supported by the Cuban Communist Party, Beijing and other sectors.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer