The Caribbean can always count on Cuba

The Caribbean Can Always Count on Cuba

Submitted by editor on Fri, 03/10/2017 - 12:24

Opening speech by Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic of Cuba Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla at the twenty second ordinary meeting of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Council of Ministers


Esteemed Ministers of Foreign Affairs;

Esteemed Heads of Delegations of Member and Associate Member States;

Esteemed Ambassador June Soomer, Secretary- General of the ACS;

Distinguished authorities of the ACS founding organizations as well as of Observer States and organizations;

Distinguished special guests and representatives of delegations present;

Cuban delegates and guests;

Cuba welcomes you to the Twenty Second Ordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Association of Caribbean States, an occasion when Caribbean States gather again in Havana to discuss our common interests and the risks that we all share.

We will review the implementation of the agreements adopted at the Seventh Summit of the Association held in Havana on June 4, 2016.  At that meeting, our Heads of State and Government, driven by their commitment with this organization and determined to strengthen its role as a platform for political dialogue, coordination and cooperation, approved the Havana Declaration and the Action Plan.  Documents which are valuable instruments to advance the goals we pursue.

Important changes took place in the world ever since, with significant repercussions for our region. As was recently expressed by President Raúl Castro at the CELAC Summit held in the Dominican Republic, “never has it been more necessary to effectively advance along the path of unity, recognizing that we have many common interests.  Working for ‘unity amid diversity’ is an urgent need.”

The exclusive and repressive migration policies announced in destination countries, which could lead to increased deportations and discrimination against Latin American and Caribbean migrants as well as the implementation of extremely protectionist trade measures, are real challenges for our sub region. All of that could seriously affect the development models of our economies, given their impact on job creation, incomes, industry and trade.

In the face of the walls intended to be built, our choice should continue to be unity, solidarity and complementarity to defend the most legitimate interests of our peoples. Given the current scenario, we could only achieve that if we coordinate and concert our actions in an effective way around the consensus attained in those areas at the Seventh Summit.  In this regard, we should enhance the possibilities of our Association to come up with a joint response.

Our governments have both the duty and the responsibility “to create just, equitable and inclusive societies focused on human beings”, as was reiterated by our Heads of State and Government, to advance towards the Latin American and Caribbean unity and integration, as was envisioned by our founding fathers. It is essential that we continue advancing towards the consolidation of the Association.  The tenets contained in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace are the guiding principles governing the relations among our States.

The commitments not to interfere, either directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other State and abide by the principles of national sovereignty, equal rights and free determination of peoples; of practicing tolerance and peaceful coexistence, as well as fully respecting the inalienable right of all States to choose its own political, economic, social and cultural system are unavoidable conditions for peace, harmony, development and the integration of our countries.

Comrade President

Esteemed ministers;

Distinguished Secretary General;

Hardly four years ago, at the Fifth Summit held in Pétion-Ville, our Heads of State and Government decided to initiate a revitalization process, aiming at turning the ACS into a more dynamic organization that would better serve our interests.  That was reiterated at the Summits held in Mexico in 2014 and Havana in 2016.

The revitalization process cannot be limited to a mere modification of structures, premises and working mechanisms.  Above all, it should also include a much broader perspective in reviewing the role that the ACS is called to play.  We should take on this endeavor with a comprehensive approach in order to bring up to date, in conformity with the principles and goals enshrined in the Convention establishing the ACS, the politics, concepts and methods that have characterized the work of the organization which, as our Heads of States have indicated, should be reviewed in the light of paragraph 37 of the Havana Declaration.

In that context, we see with optimism the increasing participation of member States aimed at strengthening the ACS as well as the contribution being made by Associate Members and the increasing number of Observers and their activities, particularly in the promotion of cooperative relations and the approach to Caribbean needs.

Regarding cooperation, we should be creative enough to develop it within the Association while promoting international cooperation towards the Caribbean Basin in priority areas of common interest.

The economic difficulties hampering trade and investments in fundamental areas such as transport and tourism, among others, force us to find ingenious and feasible solutions. In this regard it is necessary to look for and manage the resources that will make it possible to implement the programs and projects that were identified as priorities in the Action Plan approved for the period 2016 – 2018.

It was in that spirit that the First Conference on Cooperation of the Association of Caribbean States was convened.  This has been an   exercise to explore new ways to manage financial and technological resources for the implementation of the cooperative programs of the Association.

Distinguished Ministers;

Esteemed Secretary-General;

The Caribbean will always be able to count on Cuba.  Our country will continue to defend, at every regional and international fora, the legitimate interests of all Caribbean nations which deserve the gratitude of our people and our government for the courageous solidarity they have always expressed to us.

I could not finish my statement without expressing our appreciation for the solidarity and affection conveyed to the people and government of Cuba by our Latin American and Caribbean brothers and sisters upon the demise of Fidel Castro Ruz, the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution.

Faithful to his legacy, Cuba renews its commitment with the Association of Caribbean States and reaffirms its willingness to continue working for regional integration.

Thank you, very much.



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