Isabella Lövin, of the Green Party, is minister for aid and development.
Isabella Lövin, of the Green Party, is minister for aid and development. Credit: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

Sweden offers Cuba SEK 90 million aid package

The Swedish government is supporting organisations in Cuba to the tune of SEK 90 million over the next four years, with the funds going to groups that promote democracy and human rights.

Speaking to Swedish Radio, Sweden's aid and development minister Isabella Lövin stressed that the money is not going to the Cuban government, which is still strongly criticised by human-rights organisation.

"This isn't support for Cuba's government. It doesn't go to the budget, It goes to organisations that work with human rights," said Lövin. She added that the aid will strengthen the reform process in Cuba, and is part of the opening up of the country, in line with the easing of US sanctions.

Sweden has a tradition of prioritising diplomatic and trade links, and has had an embassy in Havana since 1969.

The EU is also planning to make an agreement on trade and dialogue with Cuba. Spain, Canada and Switzerland are also taking a new attitude toward the Caribbean nation, said Lövin.

Anders Kompass, previously of the UN, is in charge of Sweden's aid strategy for Latin America, and he said Swedish aid has the potential to push the country "in the right direction", toward greater economic and personal freedom.

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