Bilateral relations with Cuba are good and stable. Switzerland has provided development cooperation since 2000 and regularly offers humanitarian aid in the context of natural disasters. Cuba is currently one of Switzerland's priority countries for development cooperation.
Bilateral relations Switzerland – Cuba
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland and Cuba have engaged in political dialogue since 2006 as part of regular consultations. They have entered into bilateral agreements on trade, investment protection and promotion, air transport and the transfer of sentenced persons. Switzerland represented the United States' interests in Cuba from 1961 until the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries in July 2015. Switzerland also represented the interests of Cuba in the United States from 1991 to July 2015.
Today, Switzerland's main activities in Cuba are in relation to implementing its development cooperation strategy for 2017–21.
The Swiss-Cuban Chamber of Commerce promotes trade relations between the two countries, which are nonetheless modest. In 2017 Switzerland imported CHF 38 million worth of goods, mainly agricultural products, from Cuba. Swiss exports – mainly machinery, pharmaceutical and chemical products, and precision instruments – amounted to CHF 20 million.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers from Cuba can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
Switzerland supports the efforts of Cuban society to further the nation's development in a peaceful and participatory manner on the basis of the social achievements that have been made to date. It promotes local initiatives that improve living conditions and strengthen institutions by means of practical measures.
Since 2011, Swiss development cooperation activities in Cuba have been focused on municipal-level development. In this context, Switzerland supports national strategies to promote local development in the areas of agriculture and housing. In 2016, Switzerland allocated almost CHF 14 million to development cooperation in Cuba.
Swiss nationals in Cuba
According to statistics on the Swiss Abroad, 310 Swiss nationals were living in Cuba at the end of 2017.
History of bilateral relations
When Cuba became an independent republic in 1902, Switzerland recognised the new republic and established diplomatic and consular relations. The first Swiss honorary consuls to Cuba were appointed in the 19th century. The Swiss consulate was established in 1918 and gradually upgraded to a full embassy in 1957.
Trade took place as far back as the 19th century and continued after the Cuban revolution in 1959.
Switzerland represented the United States' interests in Cuba from 1961 until the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries in July 2015. Switzerland also represented the interests of Cuba in the United States from 1991 to July 2015.