Until German reunification, Cuba’s relations with Germany were shaped by its close ties with the German Democratic Republic and its critical stance towards the Federal Republic of Germany with its Western orientation.
The visit to Cuba in 2015 by then‑Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier breathed new life into bilateral relations. Another hallmark, also in this regard, is the agreement on political dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Cuba that went into effect in 2017. Despite substantial differences of opinion – including on human rights and the rule of law – Germany and Cuba have an interest in developing their cooperation further, with a special focus at the bilateral level on the business sector, and at the international level on climate protection, peace and security.
In 2018, Germany opened an office in Havana to promote trade and investment. However, overall conditions for Cuban and foreign companies in Cuba, including for investment, remain difficult. German companies are among other things active in the energy, health and tourism sectors.
The German Government is not engaged in any bilateral development cooperation. Cuba is nevertheless included in some regional and trilateral development aid projects (focussing on, e.g., renewable energy, climate change and environmental protection). Several German NGOs conduct development aid projects in Cuba, mainly in the energy and water supply sectors, as well as in adult education.
Due to the lack of a German-Cuban cultural agreement, there is no independent branch of the Goethe-Institut in the country. The Embassy does however house a liaison office of the Goethe-Institut that offers a wide range of services. Collaboration in science and research and via the German Academic Exchange Service constitutes a key pillar of bilateral relations, and there are a number of higher education cooperation agreements in place.