“Deep and Wide” – CARICOM / Cuba Relations
There is a well-known hymn which speaks in part of “A fountain flowing deep and wide”. It would not be out of context to apply a similar description to the development of relations between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Republic of Cuba.
Since the bold and courageous move of the Community’s founding states — Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago on December 8, 1972 to establish full diplomatic relations with Cuba, not only have such relations widened to encompass the other CARICOM states, but it has also deepened exponentially to cover much broader areas of cooperation.
This was reflected in the outcome of this week’s 7th Caricom-Cuba Summit which in current circumstances had to be held by videoconference. However this appears to have had no negative effect on the content of the deliberations or the commitment of both sides to continue in that vein of mutual cooperation.
This is evident in the Declaration issued at the conclusion of the Summit with a reiteration of the binding commitment on all to continue to regard the relations between both sides as fundamental to the regional integration process which is so vital for the survival of all Caribbean states including Cuba. In fact the Declaration can be seen as a slap in the face of the moribund Trump administration in the United States which even in its dying stages continues to both try to strangle the Cuban economy as well as to divide the Caricom states in such a pursuit.
This is made explicitly clear in the Declaration which states the rejection of “the imposition of unilateral coercive measures” and called for “an immediate and unconditional end of the economic , commercial and financial blockade” implemented by the US against Cuba.
In that same vein, Cuba, via the Summit has given its support to Caricom’s efforts to resist what are regarded as unjust impositions by developed states on Caricom countries. The Declaration spells these out as, the so-called “graduation” criteria for development assistance under which Caricom states as classified as “middle-income” countries; the inclusion of some Caricom states on a blacklist of non-coperative tax jurisdictions; and “the progressive decline in correspondent banking relations being experienced by developing nations”, including Caricom which “threatens the financial stability of the affected countries and limits their efforts to achieve development and socio-economic growth”.
These are all matters very fundamental to the development of Caribbean countries and the welfare of our people and ought to be strongly supported throughout the region. They represent solid planks on which to reaffirm the independence of the countries of the region in pursuing their own path of development.
That line of thought is also expressed in the affirmation of Caricom states to their commitment to continue to recognize the role Cuba continues to play in improving the health of the Caribbean people with specific mention of “its valuable human resources which were added to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic”, and to continue such cooperation, in health and other fields.
All in all, the Summit has turned out to be another important leg in the journey of valuable Caricom-Cuba relations which ought to be welcomed and supported by all the people of the region, making it even “deeper and wider”.