Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba
December 8 2008
Speech by Cuban President Raúl Castro at the welcoming ceremony for heads of state and government of the countries of the Caribbean Community on the occasion of the 3rd Cuba-CARICOM Summit, December 8 2008
“Tomorrow, it will have been 36 years since the day that four Caribbean nations took the audacious step of establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. The importance of that event for us was of a historic and strategic magnitude.”
Most excellent heads of state and government of the countries of the Caribbean Community; Esteemed guests;
I would like to warmly welcome you to our country leading up to the 3rd Cuba- CARICOM Summit, and at the same time, transmit a warm welcome from compañero Fidel. Tomorrow, it will have been 36 years since the day that four Caribbean nations took the audacious step of establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba. The importance of that event for us was of a historic and strategic magnitude.
That was how Cuba formally began its relations with nations that would later comprise the CARICOM. It was the beginning of the ties of brotherhood and fraternity that have stood the test of time.
Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago
It is necessary to recall the historic context of that event. When it simultaneously established diplomatic relations with Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba was diplomatically isolated on the continent. While we maintained close ties with almost all of the nations in the hemisphere, we enjoyed diplomatic relations only with Mexico, Chile, Peru and Canada.
The majority of the region‟s governments, under pressure from the United States, had broken off their links with Cuba.
Today we are experiencing another reality. Cuba has full diplomatic relations with 30 of the 32 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. We are far from the times when it was possible to isolate Cuba. The governments of those four countries and their leaders are making a significant contribution to the region that we all share.
I therefore would like to take advantage of this time of friendship and fraternity among Caribbeans to pay tribute to that event on December 8, 1972, which inaugurated a transcendental chapter in the history of Cuba and the Caribbean.
Let us pay tribute to the memory of Errol Barrow, Michael Manley, Forbes Burnham and Eric Williams.
We salute Cuba-CARICOM Day.
Thank you very much.