By Latrishka Thomas
Yesterday marked 47 years since the
establishment of diplomatic relations between the Caribbean Community
(CARICOM), member states and the Republic of Cuba.
In a small ceremony held on Friday to commemorate
CARICOM-Cuba Day, Minister of Foreign Affairs, E.P. Chet Greene denounced the embargo
imposed on Cuba by the United States government.
“In this connection, we CARICOM countries
continue to reiterate our call for an end to the economic, commercial and
financial blockade imposed by the U.S. Government against Cuba. We condemn the
current U.S. Administration’s decision to tighten sanctions again our Caribbean
sister island of Cuba,” he said, while concretising the stance of solidarity
taken by CARICOM member states.
And while noting the resolute decision of CARICOM
members to stand with Cuba in rejecting the economic, commercial and financial
blockade, Her Excellency Maria Esther Fiffe Cabreja, Ambassador of the Republic
of Cuba to Antigua and Barbuda said: “I am honoured to convey a fraternal
message of friendship and solidarity of the Cuban government and people to all
member states of CARICOM, and to reiterate the commitment that we made to you
at the 6th CARICOM-Cuba Summit held here in Antigua and Barbuda stating that
the Caribbean can always count on the eternal friendship, gratitude and support
CARICOM-Cuba Day, observed on December 8th
2019, is a significant event in the history of Caribbean relations. It marks
the inception of the exceptionally close friendship that exists between member states
of the Caribbean Community and the Republic of Cuba.
Minister Greene reminded those present at the
ceremony that it was the former Prime Minster of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir
Lester Bird, who proposed the annual observance of the 8th of December as
“CARICOM-Cuba Day” at the first-ever CARICOM summit held in Havana on December
The Foreign Affairs Minister added that many
years later, “the CARICOM-Cuba friendship is a meaningful one” noting that
“Cuba has advanced the region’s social progress and promoted our human resource
Today, the government and people of the
Republic of Cuba continue to share their invaluable developmental expertise
with us. At present, 60 members of the Cuban Medical Brigade have been deployed
to Antigua and Barbuda to provide vital health care services to our nationals.
Four Cuban linesmen are working with the APUA,
while two Cuban experts have arrived to establish a repair shop for electric
transformers. In addition, three Cuban engineers are currently working with
APUA in areas such as hydrology and water distribution.
Twenty-four architects, engineers and
construction workers are currently working with the Ministry of Public Works,
including a mechanical engineer, a highway and bridge engineer, a design
engineer, grader operators, a quantity surveyor, and an asphalt specialist.
Additionally, in 2019, thirteen scholarships
were awarded to Antiguan and Barbudans in crucial areas such as nursing,
obstetrics and medical Spanish.
In recognising the benefits that both
countries have derived from their relations, the Ambassador of the Republic of
Cuba to Antigua and Barbuda declared that, “We [CARICOM member states and Cuba]
can continue trying to defeat that cruel genocide blockade that the government
of the U.S. is imposing on my country.”
The most recent blockade by Washington is the
economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States
which, according to Ambassador Cabreja, seeks to “prevent the arrival of crude
oil at Cuban ports. The target is to deprive 11 million people of the food
essential to life and development.”
Other nations across the world have continued
to affirm their support for Cuba.
On November 7, 2019, for the 28th year in a
row, the entire United Nations General Assembly, gathered in one room and voted
overwhelmingly for a resolution against the blockade. The final tally was 187
in favour, 3 opposed (Brazil, Israel, U.S.), 2 abstentions (Colombia, Ukraine),
and 1 not voting (Moldova).
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