S. Africa Gives Cuba $31 Million Economic Aid

South Africa has agreed to give Cuba a multi-million dollar economic assistance package.

The $31 million deal will be delivered to Cuba in three installments.  

The first payment will be ($3.57 million) to purchase seeds for Cuban agriculture.  The second installment (of $8.93 million) is slated for buying goods from South Africa.  The final allotment will be a ($18.75 million) line of credit.

Opposition lawmakers have opposed the deal.  One South African lawmaker, Geordin Hill-Lewis, called the deal a “giveaway” and a “misuse of public money.”  He said “it is a tragic irony that South Africa is helping to fund a regime that denies its citizens the same democratic freedoms that were so hard won” in South Africa.

South African President Jacob Zuma pledged the money to Cuba in 2010, but its implementation was delayed for several years.

The deal was signed Friday by South African Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies and the Cuban ambassador to South Africa Carlos Fernandez de Cossio.

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