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GEORGEROWN, Guyana, CMC – Cuba Friday signalled its desire to maintain a close relationship with the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping insisting that “only in a climate of mutual respect and confidence shall we prosper as a region”.

Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, addressing the Sixth CARICOM Cuba Ministerial meeting here, said the discussions were taking place at a time “when peace in our region is being jeopardized.

“We have the duty to reaffirm our commitment with Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, as was stated in the Proclamation approved by the Heads of State and Government at the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States held in Havana,” he said.

Parilla said that it is only in a climate of mutual respect and confidence shall the region prosper, adding ‘only integration shall lead us down to that path.

“Peace admits no ambiguities. It cannot be said that all options are on the table, when one of them, the one that is most needed, has been rejected; and that is dialogue. We welcome CARICOM’s decision, in view of the threat of use of force and foreign interference, to ratify its stand and defend the validity of the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and International Law.”

The Cuban foreign minister said that the meeting was also taking place when attempts are being made to re-establish the implementation of the Monroe Doctrine, which is contradictory to the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace.

“I would like to reiterate to you our gratitude for your firmness in denouncing the US government’s authorization to activate Title III of the Helms-Burton Act so that lawsuits can be filed at the courts of that country against Cuban or foreign entities that legally engage in commercial business or investments in properties that were once nationalized in Cuba in full adherence to national and international laws, as was recognized by the US Supreme Court ruling on the Sabatino case.”

He described the Helms-Burton Act as arbitrary, adding it “is also an outrage and an insult against the sovereignty of Cuba and of third States.

“There is an attempt to suffocate the Cuban economy and place our people on their knees through scarcities and hardships, but I can assure you that such an attempt will fail.”

“We recognize your resolute and irrevocable decision to join us in rejecting the genocidal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against our country and the fair claim to put an end to it,” the Cuban foreign minister said.

He told the opening ceremony that the Caribbean and Cuba share a common history and face similar challenges and that Havana was “reiterating its permanent commitment to cooperate and share its modest achievement with the Caribbean.

“We feel we have a permanent debt of gratitude with CARICOM for its historical and fraternal support to Cuba.  The courageous attitude of the first four independent Caribbean nations, which was soon followed by all the others once they managed to achieve their independence, will never be forgotten.

“Cuba and the Caribbean have developed strong historical relations.  The CARICOM-Cuba mechanism has decidedly and effectively contributed to strengthen our relations,” he said, noting that the recent inauguration of the monument in remembrance of the Caribbean National Heroes at a park in Havana, “as a symbol of the friendship that unites us and an expression of the Cuban peoples admiration for and recognition of the men and women who turned this group of countries into a community with dignity, an independent foreign policy and a voice of its own”.

Parilla said that the monument reflects the feelings of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz for what he considered to be his closest friends.

 “The impossibility to find a proper facility for the school has prevented a major progress, but we have received the excellent news that the government of Jamaica will purchase a plot of land and will contribute funds for the construction of the school.

“We reiterate our commitment to continue supporting the creation of the school in Jamaica together with CARICOM and its member countries. Our country will continue to support CARICOM’s fair claim for compensation for the horrors of slavery and the genocide perpetrated against indigenous populations.

“We reject the decision not to take into account the real situation and needs of the Caribbean and that cooperation is arbitrarily adapted based on the statistics whereby its member States are classified as middle income countries,” he told the conference.

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