President Raúl Castro Attends the IV Caricom-Cuba Summit in Trinidad and Tobago

President Raúl Castro Ruz arrived in Trinidad and Tobago on December 7, 2011, for his first official visit and to attend the IV Caricom-Cuba Summit, meeting Prime Minister Kamla Persard-Bissessar and other officials. As a symbol of friendship and of Trinidadian culture, PM Persard-Bissessar gave President Castro a steel pan as a gift from the twin-island country.

[. . .] In the afternoon, the Cuban President and his accompanying delegation were received by President George Maxwell Richards at the Knowsley Residence. Before the start of official talks, Raúl signed the Visitors’ Book, thus recording his visit to this sister nation. He wrote, “I bring to Trinidad and Tobago, together with fraternal greetings from the Cuban people, our eternal gratitude for the full relations established 39 years ago, in conjunction with Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana.” He thus recalled that historic December 8, 1972 when these four states decided to establish diplomatic links with Cuba, from 1962 isolated from most of the other nations in the region on the instructions of the United States and the Organization of American States.

[. . .] In the evening of December 7, the Cuban delegation attended an official dinner at the invitation of the Trinidadian President in the Knowsley Residence, where the two leaders highlighted in their speeches the historical significance of the decision taken in 1972. Raúl emphasized that Cuba will continue fighting alongside all the Caribbean nations to consolidate the friendship and integral nature of their relations. The dinner ended with a toast to the Caribbean Community, to Trinidad and Tobago, and to Cuba.

[. . .] The event was originally to be held at Hilton Trinidad but had to be moved to the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port of Spain, because the US Helms-Burton law prevents US-based companies from providing services to Cuban nationals without a special licence due to the trade embargo between the two countries.

Caricom chairman Dr Denzil Douglas reported that a statement was being sent to the US State Department wherein the heads of state and government expressed their disapproval of the situation. He explained that this did not signify “a cooling of the relationship between US and Caricom,” but rather “a very strong statement to the United States of America that the regional integration process that we are pursuing cannot exclude Cuba.” He said the US was one of closest and largest trading partners of Caricom in this part of the world and they had an “excellent relationship.” He noted the situation gave them the opportunity to emphasise what they and others at the United Nations have been emphasising—“that this continued attempt to isolate Cuba is not going to work; it needs to come to an end, because the world has changed.”

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One thought on “President Raúl Castro Attends the IV Caricom-Cuba Summit in Trinidad and Tobago

  1. Why is this ‘news’ important? Castro is a dictator, never elected by the people of Cuba. You shouldn’t be propagandizing in his favor.

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