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Fidel’s imprint on Caricom

Published: 2017.03.22 - 14:54:12   /  /  Dra. Ana Teresa Badía Valdés  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

CaricomOn December 8, 2005, Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro said at the Second Caribbean-CARICOM Summit in Barbados, "We support the efforts of our Caribbean brothers to consolidate their regional integration and, as always, Cuba is ready to provide modest cooperation in areas where this is possible. The people of the Caribbean Community will always be able to count on the respect and friendship of Cuba."

That statement confirmed the relations between Cuba and the Caribbean Community dating back to December 8, 1972 when four countries - Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago - established diplomatic relations with the largest Antillean archipelago.

Fidel was one of the main promoters of the initiative, mainly because it allowed sharing a common history and facing the traditional colonial power. "The industrialized and wealthy countries are reluctant to accept the granting of special and differential treatment to countries which, like CARICOM countries, not only require it, but have a right to it. They forget their historical debt with our development, they fail to fulfill their promises, they plunder our human resources, they charge again and again immoral debt that has been paid for several times, while they speak demagogically of freedom of markets," said the Cuban leader.

The legacy of Fidel in his struggle for the integration of the area and the elimination of colonialism remains in every step of the Caricom today. He helped to see them as permanent topics of the mechanism: the need to raise the standard of living and employment of the nations of the region, to reduce unemployment and coordinate sustainable economic development.

Recently, ambassadors from the member nations of the Caribbean Community paid tribute to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution after his death. For example, after thanking Cuba for its permanent friendship, the ambassador of Guyana, Halim Majeed, affirmed that the winds of change generated by the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 had a decisive impact on the region and the world, where since then the voices for independence were stronger.

The Caricom representative in Havana also said that Fidel was constantly fighting for the freedom of the nations of the area and in the world, an aspect that defines the extraordinary character of his personality.
The struggles of Fidel and his people for more than half a century have complemented the hopes, aspirations and desires of that Community.

Fidel’s imprint

Fidel's legacy is well seen by Caricom leaders.

"He was a true revolutionary, impossible to be eliminated in history. My respects to the life and work of Fidel Castro, and on the part of all Jamaicans, my condolences and sympathy to the Cuban people," said the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness.

Jamaica's outgoing minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has described him as "a great leader and unconditional friend of the Caribbean country," whose legacy will continue for more than 90 years. "One of the great honors in our life was to meet Fidel, and I will never forget the conversations and words of wisdom that we had," said Simpson Miller, who also highlighted the models of education and health projected by the Cuban leader.

The history of Caricom

At first, the British West Indies Federation emerged. However, in 1962 it was dissolved, while Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago separated from the British colony.

May 1965 marked the birth of the Caribbean Free Trade Association, which would change its name to Caricom a few years later.

The Caribbean Community was established on July 4, 1973, through the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas in Trinidad and Tobago, with the aim of transforming the Caribbean Free Trade Association into a Common Market.

Caricom groups together Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

Observers include Mexico, Venezuela, Aruba, Colombia, Netherlands Antilles, Bermuda, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, while the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, while Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands are associate members.

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