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Published 18 March 2016

President Nicolas Maduro arrives in Habana to sign a deal to increased bilateral relations with Cuba through 2030 ahead of Obama's trip to the island nation.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in Cuba Friday to talk about how the two countries will continue to work together and strengthen their relationship this year through to 2030, as Cuba prepares to open its doors to the United States. 

“We will have an intensive and fruitful work day to further strengthen the deep brotherhood between our peoples and our two revolutions,” said Maduro upon his arrival in Havana, where he will participate in the Cuba-Venezuela Joint Commission.  

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Maduro also confirmed Thursday that Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez has prepared a number of new agreements with Cuban authorities to strengthen bilateral relations. 

These agreements came after Rodriguez met with Cuban President Raul Castro earlier this month to assess the cooperation between Caracas and Havana, and ratify the intention between the two parties to strengthen their cooperation. 

The meetings come just before United States President Barack Obama's visit to Cuba in order to discuss further opening up relations between the two countries, which have been closed off for over 50 years under the U.S. blockade against the island nation.  

Many speculate that these deepening relations between Cuba and the U.S. will lead to drastic changes in Cuba, but the island nation insists that it will not lose its autonomy or close ties to other Latin American nations. 

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According to Maduro, one of the themes to be discussed at Friday's meeting will include new mechanisms for Cuba's further integration with Latin America, particularly under its regional bloc ALBA, or the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America. 

In December the Joint Cuba-Venezuela Commission signed 62 new agreements in basic and higher education, health, sports, culture, transportation, food, trade, science, technology and environment.

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