That historic and courageous act of 8 December 1972 has grown over the years into a strong fraternal relationship between all the Member States of the Caribbean Community and Cuba, resulting in the holding of a CARICOM-CUBA Summit every three years.
December 8 2020 will signify the staging of the seventh CARICOM/ CUBA Summit, which this year will be held by tele-conference in light of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all countries within the Region.
In commemoration of the event, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba in Jamaica, Inés Fors Fernández, has written a letter to the Editor, extolling the virtues of the 48 year old relationship that has benefitted both Cuba and CARICOM over the years.
The following is the full text of the letter written by Ambassador Fernández.
Dear Editor :
On December 8 , the Seventh Summit will be held between member countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Cuba, a mechanism created to deepen dialogue, integration and cooperation between neighbouring nations.
CARICOM-Cuba Summits have been held since 2002, every three years, alternating the venue between Cuba and all member countries of CARICOM. On this occasion, the meeting between the leaders of the region will be hosted by Cuba virtually, due to public health measures put in place to contain the spread the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cuba and the Caribbean are united by bonds of solidarity, friendship, mutual gratitude and support, as declared by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz.
Cuba will eternally recognize the independent and dignified gesture of the small Caribbean countries to establish diplomatic relations with it in 1972 and the courageous position of support upheld for over five decades, in spite of the great challenges, pressure and threats posed by the enemies of the Cuban Revolution.
Relations between CARICOM and Cuba have been positive and have intensified over time. Today we have diplomatic missions in the 14 member states of CARICOM and they, in turn, are represented in Havana by an equal number of missions. Cuba is the only Latin American country where all Caribbean nations are represented at the level of their own diplomatic missions.
On this context, CARICOM -Cuba Summits have served to reinforce bilateral relations and have become an effective mechanism for reviewing and discussing matters of common interest.
Within the framework of the Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Summit, held on December 8, 2017 in Antigua and Barbuda, two important agreements were drawn up, both having strategic importance for the region: the Memorandum of Understanding in Disaster Risk Reduction between the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) of the Caribbean Community and the National Civil Defence General Staff of the Republic of Cuba; and the Memorandum of Understanding on Multi-destination Tourism between CARICOM countries and Cuba.
On June 18, 2019, the Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Ministerial Meeting was held in Guyana, in which the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of our countries evaluated the progress of the agreements reached at the Sixth Summit and the coordination of positions regarding the challenges of the complex regional and international context.
Cuba ratifies its steadfast commitment to maintain cooperation and solidarity with CARICOM countries in a number of spheres such as health, education, the training of human resources, sports, culture, construction, agriculture, energy and many more, and reiterates its thanks to all CARICOM countries for continuing to demand the lifting of the blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States and their support for the United Nations Resolution to put an end to this unjust policy.
Inés Fors Fernández
Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Jamaica
The December 8 meeting, is in consonance with the Havana Declaration which was signed at the first Summit in Havana in 2002, on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the four CARICOM countries which were independent at that time – Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago – and Cuba.
In the Declaration, the leaders decided to observe 8 December of each year as Cuba/CARICOM Day, and to hold on that day, every three years, a meeting of Heads of State and Government of Cuba and CARICOM countries, rotating the venue of the Summit meetings between them.
CUBA & CARICOM
On December 8, 1972, four English-speaking Caribbean countries that won their independence a few years earlier, established diplomatic relations with Cuba, in an act of unquestionable political courage: Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana, and Jamaica.
This historic decision constituted the first step in breaking the diplomatic blockade mounted by the United States against Cuba, opening a door to reduce the isolation to which the country had been subjected in the region because of U.S. pressure.
Cuba and Caricom countries share deep historical and cultural roots that date back to the formation of our national identities, which have been gradually strengthened as the young states of the Community gained independence.
The first Cuba-Caricom Summit was held in Havana in 2002, initially as a meeting of heads of state and government to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the aforementioned event. The second meeting took place in Bridgetown, Barbados, in 2005; and the third in Santiago de Cuba, in 2008.
It was during the second Summit that Fidel stated: “We must respond to neoliberal, self-interested globalization, to the anti-democratic international political and economic order, with unity and the globalization of solidarity and the promotion of dialogue, integration, and genuine cooperation.”
During this same Summit, CARICOM governments awarded the leader of the Cuban Revolution the organization’s Honorary Order, recognizing his unblemished, human conduct, and his unconditional support of efforts to achieve progress and wellbeing in the region.
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