Cuban president Raul Castro urged today to prioritize the creation of a common political space among the members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the second summit of which began already in this capital.
When delivering the opening speech to heads of States and Governments and other figures of the 33 CELAC countries, the Cuban president said that space should allow moving forward toward reaching peace and respect among nations.
A framework in which we are able to overcome the objective hindrances and those intentionally imposed on us, in which we can use resources in a sovereign way and for common welfare.
In that reference, he championed using scientific and technical capacities according to the country’s progress, asserting the principles that can not be waived, as self determination, sovereignty and sovereign equality of the States.
Raul Castro highlighted that the Cuban presidency pro tempore of CELAC, which will be transferred to Costa Rica tomorrow, was aimed at meeting that objective, hence the central subject of the meeting of heads of States and Governments is the struggle against poverty, hunger and inequality.
We should establish a new paradigm of regional and international cooperation, he specified. He also said that there is a possibility of building our own model in the CELAC framework, adjusted to the different countries’ situations and based on the principles of common benefit and solidarity.
Based on data of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the president recognized progress in the region, but regretted that it has been slow, fragmentized and unstable.
The poverty rate in this region reached in 2012 at least 28.2 percent of the population, which means 164 million people, and the rate of abject poverty reached 11.3 percent, the equivalent to 66 million inhabitants of the region.
However, he mentioned as the most worrying aspect that child poverty affects 70.7 million children and adolescents, 23.3 million of which live in abject poverty.
The richest ten percent in Latin America receives 32 percent of the total income, while the poorest 40 percent just receives 15 percent, said the Cuban head of State before the plenary of the 2nd CELAC Summit.
Raul Castro said the countries of the region are demanding and require better distribution of wealth and income, universal and free access to quality education, full employment, better salaries and eradication of illiteracy.
He also expect to achieve establishment of true food security, health systems for the whole population, the right to decent housing, drinkable water and sanitation.
The Cuban president warned that all those objectives are attainable and there the necessary conditions in the CELAC framework to reverse the current situation, because its huge natural resources should become the driving force to eliminate inequality.
“Our imperative and challenge is to be able to transform that natural capital into human capital, economic infrastructure and diversification of the productive and exporting base,” to contribute in a decisive way to a true development process, he said.