Emilio Ratmir Lozada García will leave his post in Moscow as Cuba’s ambassador to Russia and return to Cuba on Jan. 1, 2018, after a four-year assignment in the Russian capital, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday (Dec. 27) in a brief press release.
At a protocol event in the Cuban Embassy, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov “stressed the important contribution to the development of a strategic partnership between Russia and Cuba,” the press release says.
Ryabkov “highly valued the effective work of the Cuban ambassador to promote cooperation between our nations in a broad range of pursuits, thanks to which it became possible to raise the level of bilateral links in the fields of politics, the economy, investments, culture and the humanities, thus creating a dependable infrastructure for the future.”
He also wished Lozada “much success in his future professional activities and expressed the hope that his cooperation will continue.”
That same evening, a meeting of the Ministerial Cigar Club was held at Lozada’s residence, with the attendance of Senator Sergei Kalashnikov, Deputy (Representative) Sergei Katasonov, Deputy Finance Minister Aleksei Lavrov, and diplomats from Ural, Magnitogorsk and Astrakhan.
“For more than two years we’ve gathered in comrade Emilio’s home — state officials, deputies, senators, celebrities, and heads of the regional branches of the Russian Cigar Union,” said the union’s chairman, Andrei Loskutov.
“It’s amazing how this man — who is not a big fan of cigars — has managed to do so much for the development of the cigar culture,” Loskutov told the attendees. “We all hope that the incoming ambassador will be able to continue what Emilio Lozada García started.”
“We part, but you all remain in my heart,” Lozada responded. “We will meet again here in Moscow or in Cuba, which — to every cigar lover — is the second homeland.”
In the four years since Lozada replaced his predecessor, Juan Valdés Figueroa, he was an indefatigable representative of Cuba’s interests in Russia and other member nations of the late Soviet Union.
His experience in Moscow will be invaluable now that President Donald Trump’s reversal of policy has made Russia an important supplier of goods to Cuba, second only to China. Fluent in Russian, Lozada — a former chief of staff in the Cuban Foreign Ministry — conferred frequently with diplomats and business leaders in the region assigned to him in January 2013.
He should be considered a top advisor to whomever replaces Raúl Castro Ruz when the Cuban president steps down in April 2018. As of the publication of this news item, the Cuban Foreign Ministry has not announced Lozada’s departure from Moscow or who will replace him there.