Meeting between the presidents of Cuba and Brrasil. Photo: PL/File

A delegation of about 30 Brazilian businessmen will travel to Havana on Monday to boost trade with Cuba and rebuild bilateral relations, as the latest step by the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Journalistic media, citing official sources, assure that the four-day mission will take place before Lula's trip to the Caribbean island, where he will meet with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, and participate in the meetings of the Group of 77 plus China (September 15 and 16).

The magazine Exame indicates that Brazil's ties with Cuba deteriorated under the administration of former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), although they were never completely broken.

Since taking office in January, Lula has sought to rebuild relations with Havana and Venezuela, and met Diaz-Canel on the sidelines of a global financial summit in Paris earlier this year.

This created an opening for businessmen eager to bolster trade relations, according to Jorge Viana, president of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (APEX), which is leading the trip. "We have the opportunity to resume our commercial relations after the previous Brazilian government sidelined Cuba," Viana said in a statement.

"It doesn't make sense for Brazil to turn its back on the countries of Central America and the Caribbean, including Cuba, as we did in the last four years," he says.

Brazil is the fourth largest supplier of goods to Cuba, behind only Spain, China and the United States, according to APEX. But the volume of its exports in 2022 was just over half of what it sent to the island 10 years ago.

The trip will include entrepreneurs from the air transport, agriculture, energy and health sectors.

The APEX specifies that food, industrial machinery, transport equipment and chemical products are the areas with the greatest export opportunities to Cuba. It also expects the creation of a commercial air route linking Sao Paulo and Havana, the statement reveals.

Former Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, head of the Special Adviser to the Brazilian Presidency, declared in August that his recent visit to Havana "was an express determination" by Lula "to symbolize interest in political relations."

He confirmed the visit of Brazilian businessmen to Cuba that will cover "several issues, including agriculture." Experts from the Ministry of Health will also visit the Caribbean nation, he corroborated.

He explained that the fact that Lula sent him with a letter "symbolizes the desire to bring Brazil closer to Cuba. To improve again, if possible, the relationship, which was very close and will continue to be so," he said.

(With information from Prensa Latina)