King Mohammed VI has appointed Boughaleb El Attar as Morocco’s first ambassador to Cuba in decades, a bold diplomatic move showing the North African kingdom’s determination to reach out to countries of all political hues in the new world order.
The newly appointed Moroccan envoy to Havana, 70, excels in Spanish literature and is an expert of Morocco’s relations with Spain and Latin America.
El Attar was member of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) and in the 1990s worked as a journalist for the party’s newspaper, Al Ittihad Al Ichtiraki. He co-published a book with the late Ibrahim Boutaleb on the Northern Moroccan cities, Sebta and Melilla, under Spanish control.
He joined lately Moroccan diplomacy as part of an assignment in Madrid. Now, he has been promoted to the post of ambassador in Havana wherein rein.
But things will surely change for them after Morocco and Cuba decided lately to resume their diplomatic relations severed in 1980.
The resumption of Moroccan-Cuban relations, which opens new era for the two countries, comes after the private visit paid by King Mohammed VI to Cuba. It was the Moroccan monarch’s first visit to the country since his enthronement in 1999 and the first ever made by a Moroccan king.
Since the 1960’s, relations between the two countries soured as a result of Cuba’s backing to Algeria during the Morocco-Algeria military conflict of 1963. And in the 1970’s, Havana declared its support to the enemies of Morocco’s territorial integrity, the Polisario separatists.
Since then, Cuba has been providing the Polisario militias with military, vocational and educational training and was regarded as one of the separatists’ strategic bastions.
The decision of Rabat and Havana to resume diplomatic relations deals a hard blow to the Algerian-backed secessionist group thanks to the royal proactive diplomacy, which scored another positive point against Morocco’s enemies in one of their high-profile strongholds.
Moroccan diplomacy, spearheaded by King Mohammed VI, has proven its efficiency and capacity to adapt to the new world order and its new geopolitical challenges.
During his latest tour in Africa, the Moroccan Sovereign gained the support of many African English-speaking countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania, South Sudan…which were until a recent date among the staunch supporters of the Polisario in the continent.