Cuba awarded on Friday night, Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, its highest state medal two days before the U.S. president, Barack Obama, made a historic visit to Havana.
Cuban President Raul Castro, imposed the José Martí Order to Maduro as a show of support for the Venezuelan government and its head of State in a ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution, the same place where he will welcome Obama next Monday.
Maduro thanked the award and said both nations will continue battling for the welfare of their people despite U.S. threats.
Soundbite (Spanish): Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela
“I receive this medal with great honor, although I do not deserve it yet. I receive it as a pledge of loyalty to the ideals of our founders, of loyalty to Fidel (Castro) and Chavez, loyalty to the glorious ideas that our people have stood for and that are respected today by all of humanity”
Both presidents also witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation plan for 2016 and a comprehensive project aimed at fighting the dengue virus, the zika and chikungunya.
Cuba and Venezuela have since 2000 a Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement, encompassing all sectors including a daily supply to Havana of more than 100,000 barrel of oil.
The Island pays with their services in Venezuela with thousands of doctors and teachers, sports coaches and other advisers, in an exchange that ultimately leaves a favorable balance for Cuba of around 3.5 to 4.5 billion a year