Ricardo Alarcon Hails Bold Move Of Four CARICOM Countries on 44th Anniversary of CARICOM Cuba Relations
Havana, Cuba – Ricardo Alarcon, a top official of the Cuban Government has paid tribute to the bold move taken in 1972 by the governments of Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba at a time when the United States sought to isolate the Fidel Castro administration.
Alarcon, a former Cuban ambassador to the United Nations, Foreign Minister and president of the National Assembly who was involved in the negotiations with the four CARICOM countries, described the process as straightforward, reflecting the commitment of the political will of then prime ministers Forbes Burnham, Dr. Eric Williams, Errol Barrow and Michael Manley.
“The objective of the Americans back then was to isolate Cuba especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. So it was a courageous move on the part of the prime ministers of that era. On the Cuban side we thought the negotiations for establishing diplomatic relations would be much more difficult but it turned out to be quite straightforward,” Alarcon told guests at a reception hosted by Guyana’s ambassador to Cuba, Halim Majeed at his residence to mark the 44th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations on December 8th.
Alarcon also noted that the move by the four countries paved the way for other CARICOM countries to follow once they gained independence. He said that over the years Cuba and the CARICOM region have enjoyed a great relationship which includes continuous support for Cuba in international fora.
In welcoming his guests Ambassador Majeed pointed to the assistance which CARICOM member states continue to receive from Cuba in the form of the provision of medical personnel including doctors, scholarships and technical assistance in agriculture, education and culture. He said Guyana, as well as other CARICOM countries have recently intensified efforts to expand their commercial relations through trade and investment.
Ambassador Majeed also read a poem in tribute to late President Fidel Castro – Death of a Comrade –written by Guyana’s poet laurate Martin Carter.
Guests observed a minute’s silence in tribute to Castro who died the previous week.
The keynote address at the reception was delivered by Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Ambassador June Soomer.
Among the other speakers were the ambassadors to Cuba from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam, Belize and Grenada along with Professor Jessica Byron-Reid, director of the Institute of International Relations (IIR) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and Capt. Gerry Gouveia representing the Guyana Private Sector Commission(PSC).