CARICOM-Cuba Summit Opens in Havana


Heads of state and government of the member nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), together with officials from regional organizations, began arriving on Saturday in Havana to participate in Monday’s fifth CARICOM-Cuba summit. The summit, which opened today, features discussions on education, health, poverty eradication, renewable energy, and social justice. Here are excerpts from a Telesur article:

[. . .] The meeting is being held at the Palace of the Revolution, where representatives from 14 countries, in addition to the host country of Cuba, have gathered for the summit.

Cuban President Raul Castro opened the summit, calling on the region’s leaders to work together: “We confront common challenges that can only overcome with close unity and effective cooperation.” Castro highlighted the positive impact Cuba’s help has had in the region; thousands of doctors trained in Cuba now work throughout the Caribbean. He also spoke about the need for concerted and coordinated action to confront climate change.

Gaston Alphonso Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and pro tempore president of CARICOM, recalled the four English-speaking Caribbean countries who, 42 years ago, defied the United States and recognized the Cuban government, breaking “the diplomatic embargo” in the hemisphere. On behalf of CARICOM, he reiterated the need to end the U.S. blockade against Cuba saying, “End this senseless embargo of Cuba now, let the people of Cuba thrive.” Browne also stressed the need for regional integration and cooperation and increased trade amongst Caribbean nations.

The meeting will feature a discussion between the region’s leaders on strategies to increase exchanges between member countries on the issues of education, health, poverty eradication, renewable energy, and social justice. The agenda also will feature a discussion on sustainable development.

Some of the participants arrived Sunday in the Cuban capital, including Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica, who lauded the relationship between her nation and Cuba. “Our common history is rich and continue steadfast beside Cuba,” said Simpson-Miller.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was founded in 1973 and counts on 14 full member countries, five associate members and eight observers. Cuba is not a member, but does have a free trade agreement with CARICOM countries. The regional body regularly holds a joint summit with the Caribbean’s largest nation.

For full article, see—Cuba-Summit-Begins-in-Havana-20141208-0012.html

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