The 6th Summit between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Cuba began this Friday morning in the parish of Saint Mary, south of the capital of St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda, where leaders of the 14 CARICOM countries and the President of Cuba, Raúl Castro, will meet with the objective of promoting solidarity and regional integration, and reviewing their bilateral ties to identify new areas for cooperation.
The event marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of relations by Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Grenada and Barbados with Cuba, on December 8, 1972, amidst pressure from Washington to isolate the island from the rest of the Caribbean.
Likewise, 15 years of CARICOM-Cuba Day are being celebrated, established in the first Summit in Havana, in 2002.
Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz arrived in Antigua and Barbuda yesterday leading a delegation participating in the 6th Summit of this integration mechanism committed to cooperation between this Community of countries and Cuba, founded by the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.
The Cuban delegation is composed of Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla; the ministers of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz; Tourism, Manuel Marrero Cruz; and Science, Technology and the Environment, Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya.
The Prime Ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Belize, Barbados, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, and the President of Haiti have gathered for the Summit held at the Carlisle Bay resort.
According to Prensa Latina, following the protocol greetings and welcome of dignitaries, the CARICOM Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, and President Raúl Castro, will deliver the inaugural speeches.
The Chairman of the Summit and Grenadian Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell, will also address the forum, with calls to promote unity, advocate for cooperation in the face of natural disasters, boost trade and integration, and reject unilateral coercive policies.
The plenary session, family photo and a welcome lunch hosted by Browne will be the prelude to an afternoon session of closed-door discussions that will conclude with the signing of a memorandum of understanding and a final declaration.
Raúl Castro and the leaders of the 14 CARICOM nations will also commemorate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of relations between the Caribbean organization and the island.
The meeting will provide an opportunity to evaluate commercial and economic ties, climate change and natural disaster management, as well as to assess Havana’s support to CARICOM countries, providing training through the granting of scholarships, and collaboration in health, trade and agriculture.
“The Caribbean can always count on the eternal friendship, selflessness, gratitude and full and total support of its Cuban brothers,” Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz stated on December 8, 2002 in Havana, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, an act that laid the foundations for future relations between the Caribbean Community and Cuba.