Dump the Dollar, Says Ecuadorian President

President Rafael Correa says the U.S. dollar is the “exact opposite” of what Ecuador needs.

Rafael CorreaEcuador’s use of the U.S. dollar is hurting the country’s economic growth, President Rafael Correa warned Monday.  “Dollarization was a bad decision,” Correa said. The president said that in the face of low oil prices, Ecuador would benefit from control of its own currency.

Ecuador is the smallest member of OPEC. Under Correa, the Ecuadorean government has increasingly invested oil revenues in social services and economic development.  However, with oil prices slumping, Correa says Ecuador needs a flexible currency now more than ever. He argued that by using the dollar, Ecuador is “doing exactly the opposite of what (it) must do to address the looming scenario.”

US dollar a “straight jacket” Continue reading

Final Declaration of Cuba-Caricom Summit Stresses Caribbean Unity and Integration

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 9 2014

Inauguracion de la Cumbre Cuba Caricom. Foto: Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate.The 5th Cuba-Caricom Summit held in Havana on Monday adopted a final declaration aiming at the strengthening of unity and regional integration and expressing the firm stance of the member states of the Caribbean Community—Caricom, we bring you the full text of the document:

DECLARATION OF HAVANA ON THE OCCASION OF THE FIFTH CARICOM-CUBA SUMMIT

Adopted in Havana, Cuba, on 8 December 2014

We, the Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community and of the Republic 5 caricom cuba summitof Cuba, meeting in Havana, Cuba, on 8 December 2014, on the occasion of the Fifth CARICOM-Cuba Summit and in commemoration of the Forty-Second anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations among the independent States of CARICOM and Cuba and the Twelfth anniversary of Cuba-CARICOM Day;

Solidarity and regional cooperation

Proud of our shared Caribbean identity and the strong and high level of bilateral and political relations, strengthened by the agreements we have signed and in the context of the international fora, that has permitted us to advance our national development agenda on behalf of our peoples on the basis of solidarity and regional cooperation;

Recalling the Declarations of Havana (2002), Bridgetown (2005), Santiago de Cuba (2008) and Port-of-Spain (2011), and recognizing their significant contribution towards the strengthening of the relations among our nations;

Sustainable development

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UN: Latin America is the Only Region to Meet Hunger Goals

CELAC 11The U.N.’s food agency credits the achievement “to the high level of political commitment with the fight against hunger.”

Latin America and the Caribbean have become a world leader in the fight against hunger.

This is the conclusion of the U.N’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its annual Panorama of Food and Nutritional Security in Latin America and the Caribbean 2014 report released Wednesday. The report praises the efforts made in the region to tackle hunger.

Latin America has achieved 92 percent of its World Food Summit goal

The FAO revealed that Latin America has achieved 92 percent of its World Food Summit goal to halve the total number of people suffering from hunger by 2015, making it the only region on track to meet this goal.

The UN food agency says hunger fell by 6.6 percent in the region since the 2008-2010 period, with 16 countries in the region having already met their first Millennium Development Goal’s target.

“Both at regional and at country level the achievements are undeniable. Latin America and the Caribbean has become a true global example in the fight against hunger, and is being closely followed by the international community,” FAO’s Regional Representative Raul Benitez said.

In the last 20 years, the number of people affected by hunger in Latin America fell from 68.5 million to 37 million, while in the Caribbean the decline was less, falling from 8.1 million to 7.5 million people.

President Hugo ChavezBenitez also said that if the downward trend is maintained, the current generation could become the last to suffer hunger in the region.

The FAO has also praised the work done in South America to tackle this issue, noting initiatives like the Hugo Chavez Action Plan being implemented by the Bolivarian Alternative for Our Americas (ALBA) Bloc to eradicate hunger and poverty.

CARICOM-CUBA SUMMIT: Toward the indispensable integration of Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Key remarks by President Raúl Castro opening the Fifth CARICOM-Cuba Summit in Havana, December 8, 2014

raul opens the 5th caricom cuba summitHonourable Gaston Alphonse Brown, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, and Chairman of CARICOM;

Honourable Heads of State or Government of CARICOM member countries;

His Excellency Irwin Larocque, Secretary General of CARICOM;

His Excellency Mr Didacus Jules, Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States;

His Excellency Mr Alfonso Múnera Cavadía, Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States;

Allow me to extend a warm welcome and to wish you all a pleasant stay in our country.

We share a common history of slavery, colonialism and struggles

It gives us great pleasure to receive here the leaders and representatives of the Caribbean family. We share a common history of slavery, colonialism and struggles for freedom, independence and development, which is the melting pot where our cultures have merged. We also face similar challenges that can only be met through close unity and efficient cooperation.

Such is the meaning and purpose of these summits held every three years, and aimed at fostering and strengthening our fraternal engagement in cooperation, solidarity and coordination to move towards the necessary Latin American and Caribbean integration; a dream of the forefathers of our independence deferred for more than 200 years, and which is today crucial to our survival.

CARICOM, CELAC, ACS, ALBA-TCP, Petrocaribe

The successful evolution of CARICOM, the involvement of all its member states and Cuba with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) as well as the participation of some of us in the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA-TCP) and Petrocaribe have helped to advance regional integration, and we should continue working for its consolidation.

The first four CARICOM nations to accede to independence

Every year on this day we celebrate the anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba by the first four nations of the Caribbean Community to accede to independence.

eric williamsmichael manleyAs comrade Fidel Castro Ruz stated at the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of that seminal event, “Probably, the leaders of these countries, also considered the founding fathers of the independence of their nations and of Caribbean integration, –Errol Barrow from Barbados, Forbes Burnham fromerrol barrow2 Guyana, Michael Manley from Jamaica and Eric Williams from Forbes BurnhamTrinidad and Tobago—realised that their decision to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba was paving the way for the future foreign policy of the Caribbean Community, which to this day stands on three major pillars: independence, courage and concerted action.” This statement remains fully valid.

denzil douglas st kittsForty-two years after that brave decision, we take pride in our excellent relations with every country in the Caribbean, and keep diplomatic missions in every capital. And you also have diplomatic missions in Havana; the most recent from St. Kitts and Nevis was officially opened last June 25th with our dear friend the Very Honourable Prime Minister Denzil Douglas in attendance.

Cuba’s cooperation with Caribbean nations

This moment seems fit to reaffirm that despite our economic difficulties, and the changes undertaken to upgrade our socioeconomic system, we will honour our pledge to cooperate and share our modest achievements with our sister nations in the Caribbean.

Currently, we have 1,806 collaborators working in the CARICOM countries, 1,461 of them in the area of healthcare. Likewise, 4,991 Caribbean youths have graduated in Cuba while 1,055 remain studying in the Island.

Preventing and fighting the Ebola pandemic

Additionally, we are cooperating with the Caribbean, and shall continue to do so, in preventing and fighting the Ebola pandemic. This we are doing bilaterally as well as in the framework of ALBA and CELAC, with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

The experts’ meeting held in Havana at the end of October brought together specialists from the entire hemisphere, including representatives of non-independent Caribbean states. In the past few weeks, 61 officials, physicians, experts in healthcare and other areas from CARICOMN countries have been training in Cuba. On the other hand, we are answering the request of nine CARICOM States to provide Cuban assistance in training their countries’ medical staff.

Raul greets Portia  5t cuba caricom summitAs small island states and developing nations we are facing the challenge of surviving and making progress in a world shaken by a global economic crisis manifested in the financial and energy sectors, the environment and the food sector, deadly diseases and war conflicts. Today, I want to reiterate Cuba’s unwavering decision to support, under any circumstances, the right of the small and vulnerable countries to be accorded a special and differential treatment in terms of access to trade and investments. 

The challenges of the 21st century are forcing us to unite Continue reading

Ecuador: Classes Begin at Amazon Ikiam University

Ikiam research universityThe Ikiam research university has been inaugurated in the Amazon, and is working to democratize a quality education able to compete with the best universities in the world.

Located in the Amazonian province of Napo with a campus of nearly 23,000 acres, the Ikiam research university officially began classes on Tuesday.

150 students from 37 cities across Ecuador are the founding class of the university, all to be taught by qualified professors all holding either a Ph.D. or master’s degree. Each classroom has state of the art technology for investigative purposes.

Respect of traditional knowledge

Respect of traditional knowledge is a large part of the curriculum. On her education, student Andrea Sorrea said in an interview with teleSUR English, “I think that the communities could also be a form of support for students. They know more than we do, they are familiar with more plants, more animals. That can contribute to the wellbeing of the community and the country.”

Ikiam, which means “forest” in the indigenous Shuar language, will provide students with the necessary tools to both protect and utilize natural resources in a way that ensures national sovereignty over the region.

At the inauguration ceremony, Minister of Knowledge and Human Talent Guillaume Long reminded the audience that the Amazon has historically fallen victim to bio piracy and Continue reading

Cuba: Special ALBA Summit on Ebola ends with 23-point statement

HAVANA, Cuba,
Oct 20 2014

alba summit on ebola 2The Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Trade Agreement of Peoples (ALBA-TCP) approved unanimously a 23-point statement to wrap up the Special Summit on Ebola held in Havana today.

Declaration of the Extraordinary ALBA-TCP Summit on Ebola

The member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America –Peoples’ Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP in its Spanish acronym), meeting in Havana on October 20th of 2014, on the occasion of the Extraordinary Summit to deal with the Ebola epidemic.

Profoundly concerned about the humanitarian catastrophe in West Africa caused by the Ebola epidemic which has been considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a “public health emergency” of international concern, with the threat of spreading to other countries and regions of the world.

Aware of the urgency with which the international community as a whole, in full cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) is undertaking actions to deal with this scourge using all necessary resources.

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Morales: This win is a triumph for anti-imperialists and anti-colonialists

Evo Morales wins a third term in Bolivia

Morales wins a thrid term 2In what is being claimed as a victory for “anti-imperialists,” President Evo Morales on Sunday was elected to his third term as Bolivia’s president.

Morales, who in 2006 became the country’s first indigenous leader, won a landslide 61 percent of the vote, according to exit polling. His closest rival, businessman Samuel Doria Medina, had 24 percent.

Nationalization won over privatization

“This was a debate on two models: nationalization or privatization. Nationalization won with more than 60 percent (support),” the Socialist leader told the thousands who gathered outside the presidential palace Sunday evening. Morales dedicated his win to leftist leaders Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s late president.

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