Mexican fuel cargo for Cuba is sovereign decision, president says


FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador delivers a speech on the third anniversary of his presidential election victory at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday asserted Mexico's independence to send fuel as well as food and medical supplies to Cuba, which is grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases.

"We are an independent nation," Lopez Obrador said during his regular morning news conference on Tuesday in response to a question about whether planned fuel deliveries risked contravening a U.S. sanctions regime against the Communist-run island.

A diesel cargo sent by Mexico's state-run Pemex was due to arrive in Cuba's Havana port on Monday, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and sources. []

The Jose Maria Morelos II, a tanker owned and managed by a Pemex unit, departed from the Mexican port of Coatzacoalcos and is sailing with its transponder switched on, but has not updated its port of destination, according to Eikon.

Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday that Mexico had not yet delivered fuel, which he said was needed to provide electricity to hospitals amid the pandemic.

(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Laura Gottesdiener)

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