Cuban engagement with Timor-Leste and the Pacific islands, particularly through powerful health cooperation programs, has helped reshape regional geopolitics. Most of the key initiatives came from the period when Fidel Castro was head of government, with strong continuity under Raúl Castro. The Caribbean island’s medical cooperation with Timor-Leste, from 2003 onward, was the most powerful and successful move, transforming the health system of that new nation. Soon after that a series of health cooperation agreements with most of the Pacific islands catalysed a new relationship between Cuba and Australia. This chapter reviews the Cuban presence in Oceania, concluding that there has been more continuity than change under the leadership of Raúl Castro.
In Erisman, H. M. & Kirk, J. M. (eds). Cuban foreign policy: Transformation under Raúl Castro. USA: Rowman & Littlefield