Dili, 13th March 2024

President and Nobel Peace Laureate, J. Ramos-Horta, presided over the swearing-in ceremony of the two new Ambassadors to Cuba and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), at the Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace.

Mr. Nívio Leite Magalhães was sworn in as Timor-Leste’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Cuba. An accomplished senior government official, Ambassador Magalhães brings extensive experience to his new role after previously serving as Chief of Staff to the Vice Prime Minister and Secretary of State of Youth and Labour.

Mrs. Laura Soares Abrantes was sworn in as the Head of the Permanent Mission of Timor-Leste to the CPLP. A sociologist, activist, and long-time advocate for women’s empowerment, Ambassador Abrantes has been a leading voice promoting gender equality, peace-building, and women’s rights in Timor-Leste for over two decades.

In his remarks President Ramos-Horta highlighted Timor-Leste’s close friendship with Cuba dating back to the country’s independence when Cuban medical personnel provided invaluable support. The President expressed Timor-Leste’s profound gratitude for Cuba’s enduring solidarity across sectors.

“In the early days after our hard-won independence, with only 19 doctors mostly graduated in Indonesia, Cuba stepped up by sending 20 doctors, followed by 200 medical Cuban personal worked alongside with our people. Twenty-two years later, the presence of Cuban doctor and nurses remains indispensable to our nation’s healthcare.” Stated President Ramos-Horta.

The President also underscored the vital backing from CPLP countries during Timor-Leste’s struggle for independence. Diplomatic ties were formalized in 2002.Though Timor-Leste was considered a founding CPLP member from 1996. Timor-Leste has signed agreements with the CPLP across areas like justice, education, mobility, social security, defense, parliamentary affairs, film/audiovisual. The CPLP’s global presence provides diplomatic support, helping elect candidates from CPLP countries to key international.

Timor-Leste has benefited from CPLP training projects in health, agriculture, education, civil society, and humanitarian law. Timor-Leste has financially supported CPLP programs in Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Mozambique during crises, contributed to CPLP electoral observation missions and civil society programs, and invested significantly in formalizing economic/business dimension of CPLP during Angola’s presidency

“We never forget the CPLP countries, in particular the Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP) which showed solidarity with us during our independence struggle, The support from PALOP including Portugal and Brazil ensured the Timor-Leste issue was raised at the UN General Assembly during the struggle for independence.” Said President Ramos-Horta.

The President congratulated the new Ambassadors and reaffirmed Timor-Leste’s commitment to strengthening its global diplomatic ties for the benefit of the nation. Ambassadors Magalhães and Abrantes will soon depart for their new postings.