The Cuban people fete their National Day on the first day of every year. On this occasion, the country’s new ambassador to Vietnam Herminio Lopez Diaz, writes to Vietnam News, Vietnam News Agency.

On January 1, 2014, Cuban people celebrated the 55th anniversary of the victory of the Cuban Revolution, which is also considered the country's National Day.

To the Cuban people, 2013 was a year of prominent advancements and considerable efforts in the implementation of socio-economic paths and policies approved at the sixth congress of Cuba's Communist Party in April 2011. This process occurred exactly as defined and in the next two years, more technical and complicated tasks will be implemented. In 2013, Cuba's socio-economic development model and foundation for long-term socio-economic development programmes to 2030 were conceptualised. The year also witnessed the completion of research on the process of monetary and foreign exchange rate unification, the significant increase of non-agricultural co-operatives and the completion of a credit and tax system.

Cuba's GDP increased by 2.7 percent in 2013. In the social field, Cuba has obtained encouraging achievements, suitable with policies that Cuba 's government has always prioritised. Cuba ended 2013 with an infant mortality rate of 4.2 per 1,000 live births, the lowest level in the island's history, and a direct maternal mortality rate of 21 per 100,000 live births. Although the Cuban people have made utmost efforts to advance their economy, Cuba still suffered from the aftermath of the US 's economic and financial embargo, which hindered the country's development. In the year 2013, for the 22nd consecutive year at the United Nations, the General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US against Cuba by a vote of 188 in favour to two against with three abstentions.

Cuba and Vietnam enjoy an everlasting brotherhood that has been fostered through the solidarity and mutual assistance through difficulties that both countries went through. The year 2013 also marked the 40th anniversary of the visit of former Cuban President Fidel Castro to Vietnam and the liberated zone in Southern Vietnam. The visit became the symbol of Cuba's determined commitment to Vietnam. Also, the solidarity of Vietnam was important encouragement for the Cuban people during economic hardships, particularly in the early 1990s. Our relationship is a standard type. Both our countries look forward to raising our economic and commercial relations and co-operations to the level of a political relationship.

On this significant occasion and in the new year 2014, I wish that Vietnamese people and Cubans working and living in Vietnam, particularly Viet Nam News readers, will be full of health, happiness, prosperity and success.

And again, I'd like to express our sincere thanks to Vietnamese people and leaders for their support, friendship and sentiments for Cuba's people.-VNA