The Cuba Embassy here in the Trinidad and Tobago celebrated Cuba-Caricom Day on Tuesday. The day celebrates the historic and traditional relations between Cuba and several Caribbean countries, as well as the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Trinidad and Tobago. Following is the speech delivered by Cuban Ambassador Guillermo Vázquez Moreno during the event.

Today marks a very important and significant day for regional integration; Cuba-Caricom Day.

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On this date in 1972, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica established diplomatic relations with Cuba, an action which can be considered as the beginning of the end of Cuba?s isolation.

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With this in mind, it is my great pleasure and true honour to express my commemorative greetings on behalf of the government of the Republic of Cuba and the peoples of Cuba on this occasion of Cuba-Caricom Day.

December 8th, 1972, is known as a historic moment for the Caribbean which is why every year it is celebrated as the Cuba-Caricom Day.

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Despite the difficulties and pressures that Cuba was facing at the time, the Caribbean recognised the importance of multiplying mutually beneficial ties and from then until now, these relations have persisted and have gotten deeper.

Since the 1990s, the Caricom Member States have voted in support of Cuba?s resolution against the US blockade presented at the United Nations General Assembly, an action that highlights the region?s solidarity to Cuba and the Cuban peoples.

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Cuba is forever grateful to its Caribbean brothers and sisters for the continued support and respect of its own independence and sovereignty.

Cuba has stretched out its hand to the rest of the Caribbean and has promoted various cooperation programmes in the sectors of health, education and culture, among others.

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These cooperation programmes have always been oriented towards development goals with its objectives and strategies being decided by both Cuba and the recipient country.

At the end of 2016, one thousand four hundred and sixty-one Cuban collaborators reached the Caribbean island territories.

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Of them, 44 per cent were based in Haiti while approximately 12 per cent each were based in Jamaica and Guyana.

Near to 86.5 per cent of the Cuban professionals working in the Caribbean in cooperation initiatives were medical staff.

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Regarding education, Cuba maintains a scholarship programme that has offered life changing opportunities to young people all over the Caribbean.

With respect to environmental cooperation, Caribbean insular territories face several negative impacts associated with climate change and extreme climatological events such as hurricanes and floods.

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This year, Hurricanes Irma and Maria impacted the region and were extremely harmful, especially in Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica.

Cuba collaborated with these two nations not only with its expertise of Disaster Risk Management and Adaptation to Climate Change but also assisted by sending doctors, technicians, constructors along with tons of food and other supplies, which marked a symbol of friendship and brotherhood between these nations.

Cuba will continue its collaboration and cooperation initiatives not only as a systematic practice of solidarity that the Cuban Revolution defends, but also as an effort to join forces with its Caribbean brothers and sisters.

On December 8th, 2017, Cuba and Caricom Members will meet at the Sixth Cuba-Caricom Summit in Antigua and Barbuda.

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This Summit will mark the celebration of the anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Caribbean Community and Cuba.

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It will also serve to reaffirm the excellent state of relations with Caricom and will be able to enhance the bilateral agenda with matters of mutual interest.

I extend my congratulatory greetings to all governments and peoples of Caricom on this 45th anniversary while reiterating the bonds that unite Cuba and the Caribbean which are based on solidarity, friendship, selflessness, gratitude and full support, principles that were raised by the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro Ruz.

Guillermo Vázquez Moreno Cuban ambassador

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© Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares

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