At the Palacio del Segundo Cabo, where the ceremony was held, Leal stated that “To deserve such a illustrious distinction I contributed my grain of sand and a little love to save some of our heritage. One neither seeks nor refutes honors,” he added.
With this distinction Belgium is honored to recognize the long history of cooperation and friendship between the country and the Havana City Historian’s Office, especially with its director and guide, stated the Belgian Minister.
I have the honor of presenting this distinction in recognition of individuals of outstanding merit, noted Reynders.
According to the Belgian Foreign Minister, Leal is a visionary with his renovation project focused on Havana’s historic center, “a world heritage site and source of inspiration for tourists from across the world.”
Later, he expressed his pride in the results of Belgian cooperation, visible in the Museum of Chocolate, Vitrina de Valonia and Palacio del Segundo Cabo, the latter the headquarters of the Center for the Interpretation of Cultural Relations between Cuba and Europe.
During a press conference held prior to the ceremony, the Belgian Foreign Minister stated that his visit to the island confirms the solid, sincere friendship between the two countries and contributes promoting broad cooperation ties.
Commenting on activities undertaken during his official visit to the island, Reynders reported that two agreements restructuring Cuba’s debt with the European nation were signed. The documents should establish better conditions for Belgian companies looking to invest in the island.
He also noted that participation of Belgian companies in the Mariel Special Development Zone was also discussed during a meeting with Cuban minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca.
He likewise spoke about his visit to the Latin American School of Medicine and the Pedro Kourí Institute, with which his country has maintained relations for over 15 years.
In regards to culture, Reynders expressed his interest in strengthening the existing ties between Cuba’s and Belgium’s National Fine Arts Museums. He also announced that the island will be a guest country of honor at the Belgium’s 2017 International Tourism Fair.
Activities concluded with the inauguration of the Naturalezas del Art Nouveau exposition, on display from June through December 2017 at the Palacio del Segundo Cabo.