Josefina Vidal goes to Canada as the Cuban ambassador
By Fabian Flores (Café Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES – Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, the Cuban face of the negotiations and reestablishment of relations with the United States, leaves her post as the department head for United States Affairs with the Foreign Ministry (Minrex) to become the country’s ambassador to Canada.
The announcement was made quietly on Sunday after a ceremony in the Palace of the Revolution, attended by Raul Castro to present 38 new heads of mission representing Cuban diplomacy in other countries.
Guillermo Machin, the second in command under Vidal, was also moved out of the United States department at Minrex and is the new Cuban ambassador to Spain.
Able and diligent
Vidal, 56, considered one of the most capable and diligent officials of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, left the post after leading the North American division of MINREX since 2006.
Machin joined the North American division of MINREX after his expulsion from the United States in 2002, the date until which he served as the first secretary of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington.
It has not been officially reported who will replace them in their respective responsibilities as the main executors of relations with the United States.
The ceremony at the Revolution Palace was dedicated to the late leader Fidel Castro, whom Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra Díaz described as “founder and architect of Cuba’s foreign policy and who contributed with his decisions, intelligence and foresight to the International prestige of the country.
In the name of the new ambassadors, Vidal expressed that “they will represent the people and will carry out their work with modesty, dignity, dedication and austerity and in accordance with the Constitution and the laws, while vowing to defend with loyalty, and at the risk of one’s life, The interests of the nation,” the report by the Cuban News Agency added.
Vidal is one of the Cuban diplomats with more training, career history and professional capacity.
She graduated with a degree in International Relations from the State Institute of International Relations in Moscow, where she studied between 1979 and 1984. In that academic institution he also completed a PhD in International Relations.
Vidal worked as an Assistant Researcher Center for Studies on the United States at the University of Havana, and from 1991 to 1997 she worked as an analyst at the Cuban Embassy in Paris.
Expulsion of diplomats
Vidal was then the first secretary of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington (1999-2003) but had to leave the country when the government of George W. Bush expelled 14 Cuban diplomats declared personas non grata for alleged “hostile activities to US national security, “including her husband, Consul Jose Anselmo López,
Upon her return to Cuba, she joined the MINREX North America division, which she headed starting in 2006.
In 2012, the US State Department granted her a visa to return to the country to participate in a meeting with Cuban residents in the United States.
Vidal headed the Cuban delegation in the first and second rounds of talks that cleared the way for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.
She is a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and speaks perfect English, Russian and French.