CARICOM, Cuba to strive for greater trade and economic cooperation

-Havana offers help to regional sugar industry

The declaration of Port-of-Spain following the recent Fourth CARICOM-Cuba Summit highlighted the “strong rejection of the unjust and cruel economic, commercial and financial embargo against the Republic of Cuba, and the extraterritorial measures aimed at extending the reach of the embargo to include third countries.”

The CARICOM-Cuba summit, according to a copy of the declaration received from the CARICOM Secretariat at Turkeyen, welcomed the opportunity for the adoption of strategies that serve to further enhance CARICOM–Cuba partnership  in the areas of sustainable development, regional integration, illicit trafficking in drugs and small arms, Haiti and CARICOM-Cuba cooperation.

The CARICOM–Cuba Summit was also hailed as the optimal forum for coordinating joint action on national development efforts and the pursuit of common interests within the context of wider cooperation and integration processes.

It was acknowledged that the cooperation between Cuba and the countries of the Caribbean Community in numerous fields, such as health, education, sports and training of human resources, has effectively contributed to the progress towards the achievement of their sustainable development objectives and the greater wellbeing of their citizens.
In this regard, appreciation was expressed for the Cuban proposal for cooperation with CARICOM in nine specific areas: the creation of a Training Centre for the Treatment of Physical Disabilities to assist physically challenged children and youths; the creation of a Caribbean Regional School of Arts; technical assistance to the Caribbean Regional Information and Translation Institute (CRITI); technical assistance for the recovery of banana crops; technical assistance for the restoration of fishing in Caribbean countries; technical assistance for the treatment and purification of water and the construction of dams; support to the sugar industry, mainly in Belize, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago; the construction and repairing of airports, bridges, docks, highways and infrastructure, and regional cooperation to cope with natural disasters.

The summit also acknowledged that there  was an urgent need to work together with like-minded countries to combat speculation in the trade of agricultural and food products which increases prices, and to pursue efforts to guarantee the food security and adequate nutrition of citizens through policies that facilitate finance and investment flows to the sector while emphasizing cost efficient production.

The declaration pointed to the successful outcome of the Caracas Summit held from December 2-3, noting that it represented an “historic occasion for the launching of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a mechanism fully inclusive and representative of the region.”

Against that background, the  commitment to the process of integration and unity of Latin America and the Caribbean was reaffirmed, and it was also acknowledged that there was need to ensure that the interests of the Caribbean region are duly accommodated in the process going forward.

Meanwhile, the summit welcomed the election of Cuba to the Presidency and Pro Tempore Secretariat of the CELAC in 2013, as decided at the Caracas Summit.

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