Havana film festival highlights regional cultural diversity

Sources: xinhuanet.com havana-live.com

The 39th edition of the New Latin American Film Festival of Havana opened Friday night with an aim to highlight the cultural diversity in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

39th havana film festival 4.jpgThe film festival, which will run until Dec. 17, will showcase more than 400 movies among which over 300 are Latin American films.

The countries most represented at the event are Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and the United States, and 34 percent of the competing films are directed by women.

“In competition will be 19 fiction feature films, 18 short and medium-length films, 18 (from) first-time directors, 23 documentaries and 16 animated films,” said Ivan Giroud, president of the festival.

Giroud said producing films in the new digital era has become a challenge for the movie industry as social media and the Internet are new scenarios where any audiovisual piece can have a life of its own.

Related:  Argentinian women won victory in Havana

He referred to the festival’s transformations since its first edition in 1979 and said film industries in Latin America including Cuba must adapt to the new times.

“Time has passed, the world has changed, Cuba is immersed in reforms and the festival also changes. It’s an event that has transformed throughout time motivated by different circumstances and it has been a long struggle of which we have come out strong,” he said.

39th havana film festival 6.jpgAt the opening gala, the festival presented an honorary award to Brazilian filmmaker Carlos Dieguez, who sent a video message as he could not be present in Havana for personal reasons.
The Brazilian movie “The film of my life,” directed by Selton Mello and produced by Carlos Dieguez, was presented to over 5,000 people that attended the event at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater.

39th havana film festival 5 carlos diegues.jpgDuring the opening gala, the Choir of Honor was also presented to the director Carlos Diegues, for his valuable contribution to the development of the so-called Brazilian Cinema Novo. Photo: Leysi Rubio / Cubadebate

Founded in 1979, the New Latin American Film Festival of Havana aims to disseminate cinematographic works to enrich Latin American and Caribbean cultural identity.

Participants throughout its history include Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and other famous actors and directors such as U.S. director Francis Ford Coppola, U.S. actors Robert Redford and Harry Belafonte, U.S. actress Geraldine Chaplin, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and Spanish actress Victoria Abril, among others.

39th Havana Film Festival: More women directors in 2017

Source:  Granma
December 13 2017

By  Mireya Castañeda | informacion@granma.cu

A total of 117 films by women directors feature in this year’s Festival

The 39th Havana Film Festival features the participation of a significantly higher number of experienced and young women directors than in previous editions.

39th havana filmfestival
Photo: Courtesy of the Festival

Although, “The figure is still not enough, it represents an increase, as 34% of films in competition are directed by women, which doesn’t mean to say that the decision is based on gender, but rather shows the high quality of films being made by women,” stated Festival President, Iván Giroud, in the first major press conference on the event.

For those who like statistics, 117 films by women directors are being featured in the festival. There are 38 women directors in the festival competition, with eight competing from among a total of 19 productions in the feature-length category; two shorts (out of a total 18); 13 documentaries (of 23), five animations (of 16), seven debut works (out of 18), and three in the category of post-production (out of eight).

Dominating the nominations for the Coral Awards are renowned directors from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Chile, as well as others from Bolivia, Cuba, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Ecuador.

 

39th havana film festival 2.jpgMeanwhile, the general program features a further 79 films by women directors among sections such as: Latin American Panorama; Full House; The Hour of the Short; Memory; Society; SOS Environment; The Colors of Diversity; Vanguard; After Dark; or Contemporary International Panorama.

It is obligatory to stop and take a look at the feature-length films in the competition, the main category of the festival, which this year features four renowned Latin American women directors, whose films have already been positively received in other festivals and by critics.

Lucrecia Martel

In alphabetical order by country and not preference, first up is Argentine script writer and director Lucrecia Martel, who received numerous awards for her 2001 debut work La ciénaga, including a Coral for Best Film and Best Director; in 2004 her second feature-length production The Holy Girl was nominated for a Golden Palm in the Cannes Film Festival, while her third work The Headless Woman¸also featured in the 2008 edition of the event.
Almost 10 years later she is returning to Havana with her new film entitled Zama, which after being screened during the 74th Venice Film Festival, was described as a “masterpiece” and one of the best films of the year, so much so that it has been chosen to represent Argentina at this year’s Oscars and Goya Awards.

The script for Zama, based on the novel by Antonio di Benedetto, was written by Martel herself. The film, a historic epic whose attention to detail has been highlighted by critics, tells the story of Don Diego de Zama, a 17th century Spanish officer waiting to be transferred from Asunción to Buenos Aires.

Anahí Berneri

This time Lucrecia Martel is competing directly against fellow countrywoman Anahí Berneri in Havana, who also boasts an impressive filmography, which features five feature-length films, A Year Without Love (2005); Encarnación (2007), It’s Your Fault (2010), Aire libre (2014) and most recently Alanís, for which she received second prize in the category of Best Director during the 65th San Sebastián Festival, while Best Actress went to the film’s star Sofía Gala Castiglione, whose performance as Alanís was described as stunning.

39th havana film festival 3.jpgMexican director Maria Novaro seeks to excite children’s imaginations with her new film Tesoros. Photo: Courtesy of the Festival

In this film, Berneri has chosen to explore two themes, prostitution and maternity, while reviews are already describing the work as a must see, not only given Castiglione’s performance, but also the way in which the director uses maternity and prostitution to talk about women’s rights to decide what to do with their bodies and how to survive in a brutally unequal world.

Lucia Murat

Next up is Brazil, and another well-known director Lucia Murat (Brave New Land, Almost Brothers – Best Film at the International Festival of Ibero-American Cinema in Mar del Plata – and How Nice to See You Alive). This time Murat is competing with Paris Square.
The title of this film denotes the influence, in all her works, of the years she spent in prison during the country’s military dictatorship, where she was tortured. In Paris Square specifically, the director attempts to show how a person’s incarceration affects the entire family, and does so with an impeccably produced drama.

Maria Novaro

The fourth woman director is Maria Novaro from Mexico, who returns once again to compete in Havana. Lola, her first feature-length script born out of the Projects Workshop run by Gabriel García Márquez and Robert Redford at the San Antonio de los Baños International Film School, saw her win the Coral Prize for Best Debut Work in the 1989 Havana Festival.

But that’s not all, Novaro returned to the event in 1991 with her second feature-length production, entitled Danzón, which won another Coral Award, while its protagonist María Rojo, received the prize for Best Actress. Now a cult film, Danzón features among the 100 best Mexican films.

With The Garden of Eden in 1994, Novaro won her third Coral in Havana and is now back with Tesoros (2017), her first feature-length kids film.

Novaro’s new work, which won the prize for Best Family Film in the San Diego Festival, includes an attractive feature, of the 15 children, aged between three and 11 who make up the cast, three of its protagonists are grandchildren of the director.
Novaro, who writes the scripts for all her films, has stated that in each she seeks to tell the story of the many Mexicos which exist. Meanwhile, regarding her latest production she noted that given the current situation in the country, where children no longer play outside or invent stories, it is important to offer them positive messages.
The title of the film gives a clue as to what it’s about, Tesoros meaning treasures, is a term of endearment often used by parents when referring to their children, and here a kids’ game to search for a treasure chest buried four centuries ago by English pirate Francis Drake.

Four outstanding women directors competing for one of the Film Festival’s Coral Prizes. The decision, where there is always a fine line between objectivity and subjectivity, is down to the judges. Despite the fact that it rarely coincides with that of critics and much less the public, it will, as always, be a surprising end to the Festival.

Honduras: Open Letter to the American People – Zelaya

Source:  socialistprojectca.ca

Date:  December 22 2017

by   José Manuel Zelaya Rosales

People of the United States:

For the past century, the owners of the fruit companies called our country “Banana Republic” and characterized our politicians as “cheaper than a mule” (as in the infamous Rolston letter).

Honduras, a dignified nation, has had the misfortune of having a ruling class lacking in ethical principles that kowtows to U.S. transnational corporations, condemning our country to backwardness and extreme poverty.

zelata dec 2017.jpgWe have been subject to horrible dictatorships that have enjoyed U.S. support, under the premise that an outlaw is good for us if he serves transnational interests well. We have reached the point that today we are treated as less than a colony to which the U.S. government does not even deign to appoint an ambassador. Your government has installed a dictatorship in the person of Mr. Hernández, who acts as a provincial governor–spineless and obedient toward transnational companies, but a tyrant who uses terror tactics to oppress his own people. Certain sectors of Honduran private industry have also suffered greatly from punitive taxes and persecution.

You, the people of the United States, have been sold the idea that your government defends democracy, transparency, freedom and human rights in Honduras. But the State Department and Heide Fulton, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires who is serving as de facto Ambassador to Honduras, are supporting blatant electoral fraud favoring Mr. Hernández, who has repeatedly violated the Honduran Constitution and (as noted by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) basic human rights. He is responsible for the scandalous looting of USD $350 million from the Honduran Social Security Institute and while he lies to you shamelessly that he is fighting drug cartels, he has destroyed the rule of law by stacking the Supreme Court with justices loyal to him.

The people of the United States have the right to know that in Honduras your taxes are used to finance, train and run institutions that oppress the people, such as the armed forces and the police, both of which are well known to run death squads (like those that grew out of Plan Colombia) and which are also deeply integrated with drug cartels.

People of the United States: the immoral support of your government has been so two-faced that for eight consecutive years the U.S. Millenium Challenge Corporation has determined that the Hernandez regime does not qualify for aid because of the government’s corruption, failing in all measures of transparency. With this record, the Honduran people ask: Why is the U.S. Government willing to recognize as president a man who the Honduran people voted against, and who they wish to see leave office immediately?

People of the United States: We ask you to spread the word, to stand up to your government’s lies about supporting democracy, freedom, human rights and justice, and to demand that your elected representatives immediately end U.S. support for the scandalous electoral fraud against the people of Honduras, who have taken to the streets to demand recognition of the victory of the Alliance Against the Dictatorship and of President-Elect Salvador Alejandro César Nasralla Salúm.

We can tolerate difference and conflict, seeking peaceful solutions as a sovereign people, but your government’s intervention in favor of the dictatorship only exacerbates our differences.

The electoral fraud supported by the U.S. State Department in favor of the dictatorship has forced our people to protest massively throughout the country, despite savage government repression that has taken the lives of more than 34 young people since the election, and in which hundreds of protestors have been criminalized and imprisoned.

We stand in solidarity with the North American people; we share much more with you than the fact that the one percent has bought off the political leaders of both our nations.

As descendents of the Independence hero Morazán, we want to live in peace, with justice and in democracy.

The Honduran people want to have good relations with the United States, but with respect and reciprocity. •

Tegucigalpa, December 21, 2017

José Manuel Zelaya Rosales
Consitutionally Legitimate President of Honduras 2005-2010
Chief Coordinator, Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship

José Manuel Zelaya Rosales is the Consitutionally Legitimate President of Honduras (2005-2010), and Chief Coordinator of the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship.

The Caribbean: The challenges of integration on the empire’s frontier

Source:  Granma
December 7 2017

by: Sergio Alejandro Gómez | internet@granma.cu

 

cuba sent humanitarian aid.jpg

Cuba sent as much humanitarian aid as it could to the islands most severely affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Photo: Sergio Alejandro Gómez

Former President of Dominica Juan Bosch described the Caribbean as an “imperial frontier,” and point of conflict between the economic and political interests of global powers, a reality which hasn’t changed since the time of Christopher Columbus.

A long history of exploitation, underdevelopment, and power struggles

Behind the façade of beautiful beaches and multi-colored neighborhoods which cover the front page of magazines all over the world, the region has a long history of exploitation, underdevelopment, and power struggles.

It seems therefore that despite language and cultural differences, integration among the peoples of the Caribbean is the only possible way to wipe away the vast debts of its colonial past, which some countries, like the United States, are trying to reimpose today.

December 8 1972 – a turning point

December 8, marks the 45th anniversary of a gesture which transformed Cuba’s relationship with other Caribbean nations. On that date in 1972, the heads of state of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, and Guyana, which had recently gained their independence, decided to establish diplomatic relations with the revolutionary government led by Fidel Castro.

The decision set off alarms in Washington, which was using all the political means at its disposal to isolate Cuba, whose economy was growing rapidly despite U.S. attempts to sabotage it.

“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 from Guyana, Michael Manley from Jamaica, and Eric Williams from Trinidad and Tobago – realized 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,” stated Fidel on the 30th anniversary of the seminal event.

Over 5000 Caribbean youth

One would be hard pressed to find a single corner of the Caribbean where Cuba has not left its mark. Tens of thousands of collaborators from different sectors, including healthcare, education, engineering, and construction, have helped to transform the reality of some of the region’s most impoverished communities, the ones that don’t appear on tourist posters.

Likewise, according to official sources, over 5,000 youth from the Caribbean have been trained in Cuba over recent decades, and are now serving their communities in their native countries.

6th Caricom-Cuba Summit

The 6th Caricom-Cuba Summit, which took place on December 8 in Antigua and Barbuda, provided a new opportunity to review the work of the mechanism since its founding 15 years ago, in Havana, 2002.

There currently exists broad cooperation across various strategic sectors such as health, sports, education, culture, and construction. But, as has been noted in previous encounters, there remains much more potential to be exploited.

Trade between Caricom nations and Cuba

According to information presented in March of this year by Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, trade between Caricom nations and Cuba exceeded 120 million USD in 2016, almost double that of the previous year. However, this figure still falls below its real potential.  The event in Antigua and Barbuda enabled delegations from commercial and business sectors to sit down and evaluate new opportunities in this area.

Regional solidarity

This year the powerful hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated several Caribbean nations, proving the vulnerability of small island nations of the region to increasingly severe natural disasters which affect the area.

The force of the winds, and the scale of the disaster, put Caribbean institutions and international solidarity to the test, however it must be noted that neighboring countries were the first to send aid to the most affected zones.

In Dominica, where almost 90% of homes were damaged, the most critical victims were transported by air to neighboring islands to receive urgent medical treatment.
Likewise, search and rescue teams from Cuba and Venezuela were among the first to arrive in the country to save those trapped by mudslides and floods.

Regional organizations such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) mobilized vital resources and the Regional Security System, in partnership with Caricom, helped to impose order at the most crucial moments.

Although Irma caused a fair amount of damage across a good part of the island, Cuba offered help to the most severely affected countries, including Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda.

The island also sent a shipment of hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid, including food, construction materials, and brigades of linemen, as well as forestry and construction workers, to support recovery efforts on the ground.

Alongside the local people, Cuban healthcare professionals stationed in both countries weathered the impact of the hurricanes, but continued to offer their services throughout.

Meanwhile, a special brigade from the Henry Reeve Contingent was deployed in Dominica for a month, in case epidemics broke out.
Irma and Maria showed that increasingly severe weather events are just one of many other challenges facing the region, above all attempts by the U.S. to re-exert its dominance in the area.

Cuban national hero, José Martí, believed that if Cuba and Puerto Rico secured independence it would prevent the United States from extending its control over the rest of Latin America.

In this regard, the position taken by Caribbean nations this year in the Organization of American States (OAS) is proof of the region’s strategic role in blocking maneuvers by the U.S., such as in the case of Venezuela, whose government has come under attack from Washington for attempting to implement profound changes to benefit the population in a country with the largest proven oil reserves in the world.

Furthermore, the Caribbean’s longstanding rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. on Cuba, show that the fundamental principles of justice, even when defended by small and vulnerable island nations, prevail over pressure and coercionl by a global power.

“We face similar challenges that can only be met through close unity and efficient cooperation,” stated Army General Raúl Castro during the inauguration of the 5th Caricom-Cuba Summit, held in Havana.

Caribbean and Latin American integration, concluded the Cuban President, is “crucial to our survival.”

Raúl Castro: An increasingly prosperous, equitable, safe, sustainable and united Caribbean is possible

Source:  Cubadebate
December 8 2017

raul in antigua dec 2017.jpg

Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, at the Sixth Caricom-Cuba Summit. Antigua and Barbuda, December 8, 2017, “Year 59 of the Revolution.”

(Stenographic Versions – Council of State)

Honorable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda;

Honorable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Granada and President of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom);

Honorable Prime Ministers and Presidents of the other member countries of Caricom;

His Excellency Ambassador Irwin Larocque, Secretary General of Caricom;

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

Her Excellency June Soomer, Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States;

Distinguished Heads of Delegations, Ministers and Special Guests:

I wish to express to the people and authorities of Antigua and Barbuda sincere gratitude for the expressions of friendship we have received since we arrived in this country and convey the appreciation and gratitude of the Cuban people and government for the expressions of solidarity of the Caribbean brothers after the physical fidel 26disappearance of the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who was the initiator, guide and maximum promoter of political ties and cooperation between our countries.

Remember his words on December 8, 2002: “The only way out for our people is integration and cooperation, not only among States, but also among the various regional schemes and organizations.”
I am grateful for the determination of the Honorable Gaston Gaston Browne Antigua 2cBrowne and his government team, who despite the difficulties they face after the destructive passage of Hurricane Irma did not cease in their efforts to guarantee the conditions for the successful celebration of this, the Sixth Caricom-Cuba Summit .

A day like today, 45 years ago, the prime ministers of four countries of the Anglophone Caribbean, recently reached their independence, Errol Barrow, of Barbados; Forbes Burnham, of Guyana; Michael Manley, from Jamaica, and Eric Williams, from Trinidad and Tobago, decided to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.

We will never forget that decision, which was a fundamental step for breaking the diplomatic and commercial siege against Cuba. It also allowed deepening the relations between the peoples of Our America, united by centuries of history, culture and neighborhood.

With pride we also celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the Caricom-Cuba Summits, whose agreements and results have emanated a deeper and more effective relationship, based on solidarity and cooperation.

A sign of that everlasting friendship was the support that we offered each other before the passage of the two intense hurricanes that hit our region last September. I want to thank you for the expressions of brotherhood and Caribbean solidarity that we received.

A significant step

In this regard, the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation between the Civil Defense of Cuba and the Caribbean Agency for Disaster and Emergency Management is a significant step.

In the next triennium we foresee the continuity of joint projects, the result of the political will of our governments, such as the Regional School of Arts in Jamaica and the Center for the Stimulation of the Development of Children, Adolescents and Youth with Special Educational Needs, based in in Guyana, which have made progress in their implementation process.

We will continue to receive Caribbean students in our universities. The 5,432 young people from the Caribbean who have been trained and the 723 currently studying in them, as well as the 1,762 Cuban collaborators present in all the Caricom countries, including 1,469 in the health sector, are part of the contribution from Cuba to the development of the Caribbean peoples.

We intend to advance in the development of trade and investments. Between 2014 and 2016 the commercial exchange grew by 70%. This year marches at a good pace. The broad and diverse participation of Caribbean companies and agencies at the Havana Fair, last month, predicts higher growth.

We welcome the implementation, in January 2018, of the Second Protocol to the bilateral Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a document that expands the tariff preferences granted by Cuba and that facilitates access to our markets.

Dear Presidents and Prime Ministers and Guests:

How shall we face the challenge of moving towards development in the midst of the deep economic, social, political and environmental crisis that this hemisphere and the world are suffering? We must do it with unity in our diversity, integration and genuine cooperation among us.

The dangers for the survival of the human species increase. The consequences of the application of concepts not universally accepted as “humanitarian intervention” and “responsibility to protect” are used to cover up interventionist and aggressive actions that threaten international peace and security and call us to defend international law and the full validity of the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

We should articulate to demand a fair action by the industrialized powers for the mitigation and adaptation of the effects of climate change, in particular with financial resources and technology transfer; to agree on approaches to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, in particular, to collectively address the mechanisms of domination imposed on us by the unjust international financial system.

I reiterate Cuba’s invariable position of supporting, in all circumstances, the right of small island states and developing nations to receive special and differential treatment in access to trade and investment.

We support the demand, equally just, to receive cooperation according to their real situation and needs, and not on the basis of per capita income statistics that classify them as middle income countries and exclude them from the flows of financial resources indispensable for its development

We join our voice against the persecution by transnational financial capital centers that seek to damage the international reputation of the Caribbean countries and hinder their economic development through inclusion in spurious and unilateral lists and singularization in dangerous supranational endeavors, supposedly for the confrontation to corruption.

We strongly support the just demand of the Caribbean Community for compensation from the colonial powers for the horrors of slavery and trafficking.

We also have an urgent duty with our peoples to advance with increasingly solid steps towards the political, economic and social integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Regional integration

Today, the successful trajectory of Caricom, the participation of all its Member States and Cuba in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Association of Caribbean States, as well as the membership of some of us in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, have contributed to the advancement of regional integration, which we must continue to promote. On the other hand, participation in Petrocaribe has represented a guarantee and significant contribution to the development of our countries.

I would like to highlight the signature by the Heads of State and Government of the region of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, on the occasion of the II Summit of Celac, held in Havana in January 2014, which constitutes the basis for the development of relations of mutual respect between the States and the commitment of these with the strict fulfillment of their obligation not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other State and to observe the principles of national sovereignty, equality of rights and self-determination of peoples.

Venezuela

That is why we must not allow the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, one of our Latin American and Caribbean nations, to suffer continuous actions that pursue the destruction of its constitutional order. Cuba reiterates its permanent solidarity and support for the heroic Venezuelan people, its civic-military union and the Bolivarian and Chavez government led by President Nicolás Maduro Moros.

Haiti

I underline the historical and ethical responsibility of our nations with the sister Republic of Haiti and the need to contribute to its development, with strict adherence to the will of its government and the legitimate needs of its people.

The blockade of Cuba

We Cubans deeply thank our Caribbean brothers for their unalterable position of respect and solidarity towards our country. We will never forget the permanent support for resolutions against the blockade of Cuba, as well as the numerous expressions of solidarity in the general debates of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization and in other international forums.

This support is even more relevant in the face of the setbacks caused by the actions of the new government of the United States against Cuba. The blockade is the biggest obstacle to the economic and social development of our country, and to Cuba’s economic, commercial and financial relations with the world.

Caribbean brothers:

“In the faithful of America are the Antilles,” José Martí wrote in 1894, the most universal of Cubans. His ideas, widely shared today, give us the conviction that an increasingly prosperous, equitable, safe, sustainable and united Caribbean is possible; you can always count on the eternal friendship, gratitude and support of Cuba.

Thank you very much (Applause).

 

Raúl arrives in Antigua and Barbuda to attend 6th CARICOM-Cuba Summit

Source: Xinhuanet and  Granma  
December 7 2017

raul arrives in antigua dec 2017 1.jpgArmy General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers arrived in Antigua and Barbuda, December 7, on an official visit to the country to attend the 6th CARICOM-Cuba Summit, to take place December 8.

President Raúl will also attend the Third Sitting of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Assembly.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, received the Cuban President and accompanying delegation at Antigua’s Saint John’s International Airport.
The summit in Antigua will serve to structure a common agenda that advocates for a new fair international order, solidarity, integration and trade.

Integration, cooperation and development

Sources from the Cuban foreign ministry recently affirmed that Havana will make clear its will to promote integration, cooperation and development in the meeting with the other 14 Caribbean states.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Caribbean Emergency Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Cuban Civil Defense Agency is expected to provide the opportunity for closer collaboration, especially after the devastating impact in the region of major hurricanes in September.

Commercial relations between the two sides were strengthened last November with the signing of the Second Protocol of the CARICOM-Cuba Trade Agreement.

The protocol expands reciprocal access to a duty-free market for more than 320 items, including meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, beer, rum, cement, soap and clothing.

45th anniversary

The 45th anniversary of relations between CARICOM and Cuba was celebrated in Havana on Wednesday with a political event.

On December 8, 1972, the leaders of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago made the decision to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and create a formal cooperation mechanism with Cuba that would focus on common concerns of developing nations.

VI Caricom-Cuba Summit Celebrates 15 Years of Good Relations

Source:  TeleSUR
4 December 2017

6th cuba caricomThe summit will be held in Antigua and Barbuda. | Photo: Cuban Foreign Ministry

Ministers say they hope Friday’s meetings will create a “space for exchange and coordination in a frank, friendly and fraternal environment.”

The Caribbean Community is preparing to meet with Cuban officials for the sixth round of talks aimed at restructuring international trade beginning Dec. 8.

RELATED:  Caribbean Countries Unite to Digitize Judicial Processes

The VI Caricom-Cuba Summit will be held in Antigua and Barbuda as it celebrates the 15th anniversary of its tri-annual summits and the 45th year of continued diplomacy and solidarity in the Caribbean.

Cuba’s Foreign Ministry expressed its gratitude to the Caribbean’s continued support amid the U.S. blockade, saying it will never forget the kindness and attitude of its leaders, namely Errol Barrow, Forbes Burnham, Michael Manley and Eric Williams, Prensa Latina reported.

These leaders were monumental in opening the door to mutual respect, friendship and cooperation between the Caribbean nations, the ministry said.

92 percent increase

Due to the 45 years of good relations as well as the gradual integration of Cuba’s health, education and sports, the nation has seen a rise in trade output and finances. In 2016 alone, trade was US$126 million a 92 percent increase from the year before.

According to the Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca, over 5,000 Caribbean students have studied in Cuba and as a result of the regional organization’s strong relations with Cuba, the island has been able to assist neighboring nations such as Haiti with desperately needed disaster relief more quickly.

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“It continues to be a challenge to all our governments and commercial enterprises to streamline the foundation we have already set up. What is significant is that there is a definite will and a firm determination for all to carry out that task,” he said of the Caricom-Cuba relations.

The delegations signed the Second Protocol of the Agreement of Trade and Economic Cooperation with Caricom in November in order to expand business and trade endeavors throughout the Caribbean.

Ministers say they hope Friday’s meetings will create a “space for exchange and coordination in a frank, friendly and fraternal environment.”

The summit has been held since 2002, stemming from a convention which established the diplomatic relations between Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago on Dec. 8, 1972.