President Castro was speaking on Monday at the Opening Ceremony of the Fifth CARICOM Cuba Summit being held in Havana, Cuba. He said that as small island states and developing nations, the countries were facing the challenge of surviving and making progress in a world shaken by a number of crises. The President cited the global economic, financial, food and energy sectors as well as deadly diseases and war.
He reiterated Cuba’s “unwavering decision” to support “under any circumstances” the right of small and vulnerable countries to be accorded special and different treatment in terms of access to trade and investments.
President Castro said the challenges of the 21st century was forcing “us to unite in order to face together the effects of climate change and natural disasters and to co-ordinate our approach to the post 2015 Development Agenda.” He noted particularly the need “to tackle together the domination mechanisms imposed by the unfair international financial system.”
In alluding to the effects of climate change, he revealed that Cuba had conducted studies of dangers, vulnerabilities and risks and was already implementing a macro-project named Coastal Dangers and Vulnerabilities 2050-2100. He offered to share the experience with CARICOM as it included projects on the health condition of coastal dunes and mangroves as well as evaluation of the beaches, coastal settlements and infrastructure.
The President said CARICOM and Cuba shared a common history of colonialism, slavery and struggles for freedom, independence and development. That he said was the melting pot where “our cultures have merged.” He recalled a statement by his predecessor Fidel Castro at the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the then four independent countries of the Community, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
The former President had said at that time that the four leaders in 1972 had probably realised that their decision in that regard was paving the way for the foreign policy of CARICOM which stood on the three pillars of independence, courage and concerted action.