HAVANA – Spain’s acting foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, presided on Sunday in Havana a ceremony at which civil personnel swore allegiance to the Spanish flag on board the Juan Sebastian Elcano, the training vessel that is visiting Cuba on its 87th cruise.
On board the sailing vessel docked in Havana Bay, 29 Spanish citizens, most of them residing in Cuba, swore allegiance to the Spanish flag in a military ceremony at which the national anthems of Spain and the navy hymn were played.
Garcia-Margallo was one of the officials who took the oath of allegiance, kissing the flag as part of the ritual and flanked by officers of the Elcano and its commander, Capt. Victoriano Gilabert.
After the ceremony, the foreign minister presented certificates verifying their commitment to the Spanish flag to the people who took the oath, later sharing a formal lunch on board the vessel with the Elcano’s officers and crew.
The Elcano docked in Havana on May 11 with 261 crewmembers on board, including 80 midshipmen completing a four-month cruise as part of their naval training.
The ship is scheduled to set sail again on Monday morning en route to Miami and Baltimore, its last ports of call in the Americas before returning to Spain.
Garcia-Margallo is on his second official visit to Cuba and will begin his official agenda on Monday with assorted ceremonies, including a meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez.