By Inés Fors Fernández
Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Jamaica
On Tuesday, 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 coronavirus (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 recognise 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.