Key address by Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba,
Honourable Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados, playing host to this meeting:
Honourable Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of
Honourable Prime Ministers of other member countries of CARICOM:
Honourable Edwin Carrington, Secretary General of CARICOM:
Distinguished heads of delegations, ministers and special guests:
It is for me a source of special
satisfaction that we can meet again, this time in the
Throughout these years, the enormous
challenges our countries have faced, while trying to ensure the survival of our
peoples, have become more dramatic. The unilateral and selfish actions
undertaken by some of the most important trade partners of the
I think that there is today a clear understanding that neo-liberal globalisation threatens the very existence of our countries as independent nations.
The gap between the ever richer North and the increasingly poor South widens at an accelerated pace, thus posing a permanent threat to international stability.
What lays at the basis of most conflicts in our times are the illegal wars of conquest and pillage, the destruction of the environment and the depletion of natural resources, terrorism and local conflicts and the illegal migration and drug trafficking, among others. Actually, there is a veritable connection between the pervasive poverty and marginalisation prevailing in the South countries and the policies of the wealthiest and most developed nations on Earth that, with increasing selfishness and arrogance, constantly make their riches grow while impoverishing the Third World.
The access of many countries to international markets is almost impossible. We are the victims of an international trade system filled with tariff and non-tariff barriers, quotas, subsidies and burdensome conditions. At the same time, we are forced to endure a hypocritical discourse in favour of “free trade” by those who keep their markets closed for us.
Our brothers in the CARICOM suffer in their
own flesh from the self-centred decisions of the European Union and the
The rich industrial nations refuse to provide a specialised and differential treatment to countries that, like the members of CARICOM, not only require it but deserve it in their own right. They are oblivious of their historical debt with our development and fail to deliver on their promises; then, while demagogically talking of free markets, they plunder our human resources and make us pay, once and again, an immoral debt which has been paid several times over.
The European Union, forgetting its
debt as a former colonial power and the commitments entered through bilateral
accords, has unilaterally fostered a deep reform in the sugar and banana sectors
that afflicts the
On the other hand, threats grow and so
does the use of force. Unilateral coercive measures are constantly imposed on
the governments and peoples of the
Presently, the feverish consumerism of the
rich countries is leading to the alarming shortage of a vital source of non-renewable
energy in the world, that is, hydrocarbons, whose proven and unproved reserves
are depleted and whose market price, only within reach of the wealthy
societies, is inaccessible to the overwhelming majority of peoples in the
The colossal wastage by consumerist societies not only affects the world economy but it also poses a serious threat to the environment.
How will our countries face the damages of the next hurricane season, and those of the next ten years, and who will help us pay for them?
How can we tackle the danger of extinction resulting from global warming and the rising level of sea waters?
The unbridled race to waste the natural resources of the planet will bring life to an end on Earth, but our small island states will be the first to perish.
How shall we face these challenges, and the need to survive and progress, in the midst of a deep economic, social, political and environmental crisis afflicting our hemisphere and the world?
We should respond to the selfish neo-liberal globalisation and the international anti-democratic political and economic order with unity and with the globalisation of solidarity, the promotion of dialogue, of integration and genuine cooperation.
Despite the blockade and its limited
Today, 1,142 Cuban collaborators, almost
one thousand of them in the healthcare sector, are working in CARICOM
countries. Meanwhile, 1,957 youths, coming from 14
We support the efforts of our
Today, December 8, on the 33rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba by Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, we reiterate our appreciation for the unflinching solidarity of the Caribbean countries with Cuba, most recently expressed through the unanimous Caribbean vote at the United Nations in favour of lifting the 45-year-long blockade on our people, and we pay homage to the memory of Eric Williams, Erroll Barrow, Forbes Burnham and Michael Manley.
Thank you very much.