H.E. Saylín Martínez Tarrío

“Cuba, a unique destination in the Carribean”

H.E. Mrs. Saylín Martínez Tarrío, Ambassador of Cuba

Text: Martina Hošková, M.Zisso; Photo: Archive

“I am deeply pleased that Czechs are interested in Cuba, and it is one of our priorities to continue promoting the Island as a tourist destination,” expresses H.E. Mrs. Saylín Martínez Tarrío, Ambassador of Cuba. “Last October, a direct flight between Czechia and Cuba was inaugurated, the first in over 15 years. Now, not only historical ties of friendship unite our peoples.”

What brought you to the career of diplomat?

I became a diplomat because it is a unique profession, which provides us with the opportunity to have extensive knowledge about different themes and countries, and at the same time allows us to promote ties between our governments and peoples, and to identify common interests that unite us, beyond the differences.

I am passionate about the fact that diplomats live in a constant learning process and that our daily tasks are profoundly diverse, which makes this a challenging, and, at the same time, very enriching profession. Transitioning through diplomatic life to the position of ambassador is, personally, a very high honor, which also implies great responsibility.

It’s been less than a year since your arrival in the Czech Republic. What have your first impressions of the country been?

The Czech Republic is a very welcoming country. Prague is a beautiful city, with architecture that makes you fall in love with it. I have also already had the opportunity to visit other regions, and have enjoyed unique landscapes. I am very impressed by the Czechs’ feelings towards nature – that need for closeness, to be in contact with nature, is an element that identifies them as a society, which I find extremely interesting.

These first few months have been a time of intense work, establishing numerous relationships, learning a new culture, and adaptation. I sincerely appreciate the many expressions of affection for Cuba that I have received since my arrival.

What country did you serve in before your current post?

My previous diplomatic position was at the Embassy of Cuba in the United States. It was a very interesting professional experience.

I arrived in Washington D.C. shortly before the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States. I was there on July 20th, 2015, the day the Cuban flag flew again at our Embassy. This was a period of intense work, which served to show what two countries with differences can do for the benefit of their peoples if they build a civilized and respectful bilateral relationship.

Does being an ambassador fit into your lifestyle?

I very much enjoy the dynamics of the diplomatic work. They fit my lifestyle without major complications. However, the high number of responsibilities that we ambassadors assume, and the fact that our agendas are always busy, means that, sometimes, there is little time left for ourselves and our families. As a female ambassador and mother of two children, it is also a priority to find the right balance between the obligations that come with diplomatic life and the urgent need to spend quality time with my children, as well as accompany them during this experience.

What is your piece of wisdom for the next generation of ambassadors?

We live in an increasingly complex world; therefore, it is vital that respect remains a fundamental premise in the diplomatic exercise, and that the vocation of service always prevails in our performance.

“I sincerely appreciate the many expressions of affection for Cuba that I have received since my arrival.”

Cuba has long been an attractive, holiday destination for the Czech people. How do you promote your country?

Cuba is a charming country, a unique tourist destination in the Caribbean. We are a country with a tropical climate all year round, crystal clear beaches, fascinating nature, the best tobacco in the world, internationally recognized rums, and a historical and cultural wealth that makes a visit to the Island unforgettable. Other features that distinguish us are the hospitality of our people and a typical gastronomy, full of flavour, which is the result of the fusion of Spanish, African, Aboriginal, and Caribbean cuisine.

Although there are various flight routes to Cuba, we are very pleased that last October, a direct flight was inaugurated that connects the cities Bratislava – Prague – Santa Clara, in the center of the Island. This is the first non-stop flight from the Czech Republic to Cuba in over 15 years. With a weekly frequency during the winter period, this flight opens new opportunities for Czech tourists to discover Cuba and its natural beauties, which range from the well-known Varadero beach, through the paradisiacal cays, to places such as Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Viñales, and the historic center of Old Havana, all declared world heritage sites.

I am deeply pleased that Czechs are interested in Cuba, and it is one of our priorities to continue promoting the Island as a tourist destination.

What is the current status of Czech-Cuban relations?

There are longstanding relations between Cuba and the Czech Republic. Historical ties of friendship unite our peoples. We work to strengthen bilateral ties in areas of common interest. We maintain exchanges of political dialogue. In fact, the bilateral meeting of Inter-Chanceries Political Consultations was held in Havana, last February 6th, led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechia, Jiří Kozák, and Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister, Anayansi Rodríguez.

The strengthening and diversification of our economic-commercial relations is one of our priorities. It is an area where there is potential for Czech business in sectors such as energy, agriculture, and industry. There are also investment possibilities in Cuba. We are, likewise, pleased with the participation, in recent years, of an official Czech delegation at the Havana International Fair. For this event, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Edvard Kožušník, traveled to Cuba, last November, accompanied by a group of Czech companies with businesses and commercial interests in Cuba.

On behalf of the Cuban people, I thank the government of the Czech Republic for supporting the resolution “Need to end the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the United States government against Cuba”. The blockade is the longest system of coercive measures that has ever been applied against any country, and violates the right to life, health, education, and wellbeing of all Cubans.

This interview is done on the occasion of Cuba’s national day. What are you wishing for your country? And for the Czech Republic?

I wish prosperity for both countries. To the Czech Republic and its people, my best wishes for 2024. I also wish for a Cuba without a blockade. For over 60 years, the blockade has caused numerous difficulties to our people and to our country’s economy. It is a cruel inhumane policy that must end.