CARICOM leaders react to historic declaration

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have welcomed the new chapter in diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.

CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne
CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne

Chairman of the grouping, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne credited Barbados and other regional states for the action they took in the 1970s to stop the isolation
of Cuba.

“It is a matter of great satisfaction to me that the steadfast support that CARICOM countries took –– beginning in 1972 with Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados –– to stop the isolation of Cuba has helped to produce this result,” Browne said in a statement.

“This announcement is the end of a long and wasteful journey in our hemisphere and finally allows for dialogue and exchange between all the nations of our hemisphere in a civilized and constructive manner.”

St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves described the event as one “’of earth shattering proportions”.

The Vincentian leader said he had longed for the day when the “fracturing of the Western Hemisphere would be healed and it appears that there is a dramatic commencement of that healing”.

“This is a day of great rejoicing,” Gonsalves said, adding that he was now looking forward to the Summit of the Americas in Panama where both Cuba and the United States would be represented by their heads of state.

St Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas also welcomed the announcement, saying Basseterre joined with governments the world over in long asserting “that the half-century old policy of the United States toward Cuba advanced the interests of neither the United States nor those of the Cuban people.

“The decision of the United States to no longer be the only country on earth dedicated to the isolation of Cuba is therefore a most welcome development in the eyes of the international community.  It reflects the determination of the Obama administration to steadfastly and meticulously re-examine and re-cast policies that do not work, and to do so in the interest of advancing global peace and stability.  For this, President Obama deserves great praise.”

Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said he was elated at the development.

“Today is a historic day in the life of the Cuban people. Today, the United States has answered the call of humanity. Today, the United States has finally heard what Caribbean leaders have always said, and what has been proven: their decades’ long policy of isolationism of Cuba has not worked. It is way past time to remove the embargo. It is the progressive, wise, and right thing to do,” Mitchell said.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she also welcomed the resumption of diplomatic relations and that Port of Spain had, over the years, called for an end to the trade embargo.

In a statement, she said “today’s announcement by President Obama and President Castro is a huge leap in a positive direction. Socially, economically, geographically, we are all joined in a common mission of a better and more secure life for our people.

The Government of Guyana said it viewed the decision as a “progressive step towards the development of constructive relations between the United States of America and Cuba, which will redound to the benefit of these two countries and the hemisphere as whole.

“We also wish to acknowledge the critical role played by Pope Francis and the Vatican and the Government of Canada in facilitating the discussions between the United States of America and Cuba which have resulted in this promising end,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.

Source: (CMC)

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