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  • The 7th Summit of Heads of State & Government of the CARICOM-Cuba mechanism will be held on Tuesday, December 8.

    The 7th Summit of Heads of State & Government of the CARICOM-Cuba mechanism will be held on Tuesday, December 8. | Photo: @CubaMINREX

Published 7 December 2020
Opinion

Cuba and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) will analyze Tuesday the state and perspectives of their relations and collaboration efforts, in addition to the main problems affecting the region, especially the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exchange will take place during the VII Summit of the Caricom-Cuba mechanism and will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Havana and Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica, the first Caribbean states to adopt that decision.

The effects of climate change, the challenges of development and issues of great impact in the areas of health, education, human resources training, sports, culture, energy and agriculture are on the agenda, according to Rogelio Sierra, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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The analysis at the highest level will take place virtually because of the health crisis caused by the pandemic, which has plunged the region into a severe economic and social situation.

To combat the disease, Cuba has sent more than 600 collaborators of the Henry Reeve international medical brigade to almost all the Caricom member countries and to five dependent territories in the area. They joined other brigades that had been working in Haiti and Guyana since before the COVID-19.

For almost 50 years, more than three thousand Caribbean students have graduated from Cuban universities in some 30 specialties, including more than a thousand professionals in the health sector.

The foreign policy of the Caricom States maintains a permanent position of rejection of the economic, financial and commercial blockade that the United States has imposed against Cuba for almost 60 years, which has now been mercilessly strengthened by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Last May, the agency's Council on Foreign and Community Relations (Cofcor) paid tribute to the government and people of Cuba for providing public health personnel to increase the limited capacity of the region to deal with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to an official statement on the event, participants noted that this collaboration is taking place despite the very challenges the island faces, "which are compounded by increased U.S. sanctions."

Shortly before, the 31st Inter-sessional Summit of the same group in Barbados condemned the United States' attacks against the work of Cuban medical brigades in the Caribbean and other parts of the world.

Cuba-Caricom summits have been held every three years since 2002. The most recent one took place in Antigua and Barbuda with the participation of then Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz.

Caricom is composed of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Suriname.

Another Caribbean regional grouping, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), also thanked Cuba for its medical collaboration and repudiated the United States' attacks on the island's assistance to other countries.

In a statement posted on its website in June, the OECS acknowledged the assistance of the largest island in the Caribbean to eight of its members as well as the rest of the Caribbean in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The text stated that the collaboration of the Henry Reeve medical brigades increased the scarce medical resources of those countries and provided assurance of its capabilities to combat and manage the disease.

It also recognized Cuba's global contributions, particularly in the fields of health and disaster management, despite its material limitations and the economic difficulties resulting from the sanctions imposed by the United States. The OECS is comprised of Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Martinique, and Guadeloupe.

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