Speech by Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, at the opening session of the III Cuba – CARICOM Ministerial Meeting, September 17th, 2010.
Honorable Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
H.E. Mr. Calin Granderson, Under Secretary-General of CARICOM.
Distinguished Foreign Ministers and Heads of Delegations of the sister nations of the Caribbean;
Cuba is honored to welcome you. We have awaited the opportunity granted by this permanent consultations mechanism to exchange views on the challenges that we in the Caribbean face in an ever more complex world.
This is an auspicious occasion to review the evolution of the relations shared by our fifteen nations, as part of our firm and cherished aspiration of strengthening even further the political dialogue that was started at the historical summit held on December 2002, based on respect and solidarity.
We would always be thankful to our Caribbean brothers and sisters for having decided to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba at an earlier stage, when our country was isolated and became the target of aggressions. This courageous gesture staged by Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago on December 1972 marked the beginning of the exemplary relations that we enjoy today with all CARICOM member States.
We are all threatened by the global economic crisis and the prevalence of an international order which is contrary to the interests of developing countries, particularly the smallest and most vulnerable. We are all facing a greater danger that results from the changes caused by the human activity on the environment, which are ever more unsustainable. The impact of global warming has been particularly harsh on the Caribbean as a whole and its populations are notably exposed to the consequences of climate change
The individual position each of us may adopt in our efforts to force the international community to resolutely cope with these phenomena might be ignored. But our concerted actions and resolve have to be taken into consideration.
We must reiterate, without hesitation, our steadfast aspiration to reach concrete and binding agreements during the next Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Cancun, Mexico and establish more ambitious reduction goals for developed countries, which bear the brunt of the responsibility for this problem
We shall demand respect for all the Convention procedures as well as for the United Nations standards and practices. We will denounce the attempts to destroy the current inter-governmental architecture which was designed to cope with climate change, which was built upon the Framework Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.
Besides, it will also be necessary to get together and reaffirm our aspiration to achieve a more just and equitable international order, based on the observance of International Law and the principles enshrined by the UN Charter. We have the right to demand that international trade rules should take into account the particularly vulnerable conditions of small countries, and stop being biased towards the interests of the most industrialized countries.
Today an additional danger is lingering upon us. The possibility of an irresponsible military action in the Middle East is a huge challenge that could affect all that neuralgic region of the planet, the world economy and all other nations, especially those which depend on the import of energy, foodstuffs and other commodities. No people or country, no matter how far, would be spared of that nonsense.
In Latin America and the Caribbean there is a new and promising impetus that favors a more comprehensive integration that includes all its 33 nations, taking into account the national and sub-regional peculiarities of its peoples.
We strongly believe that only integration based on solidarity, cooperation and the willingness to achieve higher development levels could bring about greater happiness for the Latin American and Caribbean peoples while preserving their sovereignty and identity. This kind of integration should grant the special and differential treatment that smaller economies deserve, and provide for the coordination of multiple efforts that, in the last few decades, were aimed at concerted actions and cooperation.
Therefore we resolutely support the decision that led to the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, a regional body in which all Caribbean countries, in their condition as full member States, have the opportunity and the duty to summon the support of this vast and rich region in favor of the interests of our peoples.
These and other regional and international topics are part of our agenda and we hope to be discussing them in the course of the next few hours. Likewise we would like to devote some time to continue exploring new ways and means to expand relations among our nations so that our peoples could come closer.
It is necessary to devote special attention to the situation facing the sister nation of Haiti, to our commitment to cooperate in its reconstruction and our joint appeal to the international community calling for a resolute support to the sustainable development of that Caribbean nation under the guidance and leadership of its government and with full respect for its sovereignty
In reaffirming our willingness to continue strengthening the respectful, friendship and cooperation relations we have with our brothers and sisters from the Caribbean, I wish to emphasize the deep gratitude Cubans feel over the resolute support by all Caribbean nations to the just call to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for more than five decades now.
Jose Martí, the most universal of all Cubans and a staunch advocator of all the peoples of the Americas said: “The Antilles are at the center of the Americas”. Our meeting today is a tribute to his memory and the memory of all Caribbean men and women who have contributed to the fraternal relations that unite our peoples.
President Raúl Castro, who grants special attention to this forum of dialogue and cooperation, conveys to you his fraternal greetings and his best wishes that our deliberations could contribute to consolidate the friendly relations that exist among all Caribbean peoples and faithfully respond to the aspirations of peace, development and wellbeing of our peoples.
Excellencies, I welcome you and express my best wishes for a successful meeting.
Thank you, very much.