The Cuban dignitary reaffirmed the commitment of States of not to intervene directly or indirectly in the internal affairs of others and to practice tolerance and peaceful coexistence. He also called to fully respect the inalienable right of all States to choose their political system, unavoidable aspect for peace, harmony and regional integration.
Raul appealed to the strengthening of consultation and coordination expressed in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, the principles of which will be reaffirmed in this Caribbean meeting. The Cuban head of state ratified Cuba’s solidarity with the legitimate government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution started by Commander Hugo Chavez, a process currently facing an economic and media war.
He referred to the attempt by the Secretary General of the Organization of American States to invoke the Democratic Charter to intervene in the affairs of the Bolivarian nation and emphasized the position of Cuba, expressed on Friday in a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In another moment of his speech, the Army General thanked the governments of the region for their support throughout the years of the fair Cuban demand for the lifting of the economic, financial and commercial blockade the U.S. still maintains against the island.
He also acknowledged the support expressed by the Caribbean nations of the demand on the return of the territory illegally occupied by the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo against the will of the Cuban people.
Raul assured that Saturday’s deliberations will also be aimed at strengthening the ACS, based on its founding principles as an organization for cooperation, consultation and coordination. He greeted with enthusiasm the incorporation to the ACS of the French territory of St. Martin as Associate Member, and of Bolivia, Uruguay, Kazakhstan and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Treaty, as Observers.
We hope to have the joining of all Caribbean territories, including Puerto Rico as an independent and sovereign nation, Raul pointed out. He recalled the establishment in July 1994 of the ACS in Cartagena de Indias, with the purpose of unity in defense of identity, culture and common interests of Caribbean peoples, and in order to strengthen political coordination and cooperation, and boost sustainable development and integration.
He underlined the outstanding work carried out over the past four years by Alfonso Munera as Secretary General of the ACS, and expressed his satisfaction at the election of Ambassador June Soomer, of St. Lucia, as new secretary and first woman to hold the position in the history of the organization. Raul referred to the achievements and challenges the forum is still facing, including the problems of air and maritime connectivity and economic difficulties mainly because of the global crisis.
He invited to find innovative, feasible and convenient solutions for all, with differential treatment for the small Caribbean states. The Cuban president mentioned among priority areas the development of multi-destination tourism, market diversification and training of qualified personnel, and confirmed that Cuba is interested in expanding and strengthening cooperation in that area with other Caribbean nations.
He also referred to the need for States to take into account the phenomena associated with climate change, such as rising sea levels, hurricanes, heavy rains, coastal erosion and severe drought, causing serious economic damage to small countries.
Favoring coordination, cooperation and sustainability for the benefit of the Caribbean peoples is also a purpose of the leaders representing the 25 Member States and the seven Associate Members of the organization established on July 24, 1994, in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
During meetings of top officials and foreign ministers held on Thursday and Friday respectively, the projects of the Havana Declaration and its Plan of Action for 2016-2018, essential documents for the revitalization of the ACS, to be approved on Saturday, were negotiated.(acn)