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CARICOM reiterates call for end to US embargo against Cuba

Friday, June 14, 2019

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Caribbean Community (CARICOM) foreign ministers and their Cuban counterpart began a one-day meeting here on Friday urging closer collaboration in trade and other issues while denouncing moves by the United States to continue to seek to isolate Havana.

Grenada's Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter David, said that the Sixth CARICOM Cuba Ministerial meeting was being held at a “most opportune moment” as the countries seek to deal with the latest moves by Washington.

“CARICOM and Cuba celebrate each other's accomplishments. We also share each other's travails and pain. In this latter regard we condemn the imposition of unilateral cohesive measures and the application of new more onerous ones under title three of the Helms-Burton Act whose extra-territorial measures violate international law.

“We denounce in the strongest terms this tightening of the unjust US economic, financial and commercial embargo against Cuba,” David said, adding “these actions run counter to the strongly held view that economic development and stability contribute to international peace and security in the Caribbean region just as it does in the other regions of the world”.

David warned that these developments have the potential “to affect our continuous efforts at sustained development of our countries” noting that the meeting provides “an opportunity for dialogue and to exchange views on ways and means to maintain a course that would lead to a better future for our countries”.

Earlier, CARICOM Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque said that recent events against Cuba have revived memories of the step taken by Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica to recognise Cuba at a time when Washington had imposed its decades old trade embargo and had sought to isolate the Caribbean communist island.

LaRocque referred to the trade embargo as “unjust' adding CARICOM “reiterates its call for an immediate and unconditional end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the government of the United States of America against Cuba.

“CARICOM also rejects especially the unilateral and extraterritorial nature of these actions,” he said.

While he did not name Venezuela and the ongoing economic political crisis in that South American country where United States is backing opposition forces in the removal of President Nicolas Maduro from power, the CARICOM Secretary General said “recent and ongoing developments at the regional and hemispheric levels have had significant impacts on Cuba as well as on CARICOM member states.

“This has made even more important our practice of mutual support in hemispheric and international arenas. CARICOM and Cuba both support the importance of multilateralism in the conduct of international affairs.

“We both adhere to the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter including non-interference, non-intervention in the internal affairs of states, prohibition of the threat and the use of force, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, respect for the constitutional framework and democracy and the right of people to self-determination.

“For both of us it is critical that the Caribbean region remains a zone of peace,” he added.

The meeting is being attended by Cuba's Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parilla and David, who is also the Chair of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), said he was looking forward to further developing initiatives that had been outlined in the St Mary's Declaration when the parties met in Antigua in 2017.

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