In commemoration of that historic occasion, the CARICOM Secretariat memorialised the event with a statement from Secretary General Irwin LaRocque. The following is the text of the statement:
"Taken at the height of the Cold War tensions, that act of political courage and independence broke the hemispheric exclusion of Cuba. It also initiated a relationship based on friendship, solidarity, cooperation and neighbourliness that has withstood the test of time and the vicissitudes of regional and international geopolitics.
"The 47th anniversary of these relations provides an opportunity to look back and to take stock of this singular relationship of South-South Cooperation that has blossomed over the years to incorporate all the Member States of the CARICOM. The Community values highly this relationship that has been of great assistance, bilaterally and regionally, particularly with regard to human capacity building and the provision of health care, critical inputs to improving the welfare of our people.
"The relationship has also been bolstered by efforts to strengthen trading links, an area in which more can be accomplished by both sides. We both also place great emphasis on the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace, without which the sustainable development for the benefit of our people will not progress.
"As we commemorate this important anniversary, I extend, on behalf of the Community, my best wishes to the Government and People of Cuba, and look forward to the continued friendship, cooperation and solidarity that characterise our relationship."
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