HAVANA TIMES — Cuban President Raul Castro, opened today in Havana the fifth summit of the Community of Caribbean States (CARICOM), in which 14 countries of the region participate, reported dpa news.
“The development and investment between our countries remain an unresolved issue,” said the Cuban leader, 83, in delivering the opening remarks of the event.
At the summit, the bloc’s member countries seek to expand cooperation mechanisms and trade in the region, notes the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina.
The 15 member countries of Caricom have a total gross domestic product (GDP) of 76.182 billion dollars, according to information gathered by the official Cuban Communist Party newspaper “Granma”.
Castro, who on December 14 will also chair the tenth summit of Latin American leftist bloc ALBA in Havana, said that his country remains committed to the Caribbean region.
The Cuban president said that Cuba has 1,806 aid workers in the neighboring Caribbean countries, including 1,461 in the field health care, the largest medical mission being in Haiti.
Cuba has focused attention in recent weeks by sending 256 physicians and health workers to combat Ebola in West Africa.
Raul Castro also expressed support for the claim filed by the Caribbean countries against the European powers for the consequences of colonialism in the region.
“I take this opportunity to reiterate our strong support for the just demand of Caricom for compensation from the colonial powers for the horrors of slavery,” Castro said during the opening of the meeting in the Palace of the Revolution in Havana.
Castro has also been invited to the Ibero-American Summit which starts this afternoon in the Mexican city of Veracruz. The Cuban leader has not yet confirmed his attendance but didn’t discard the possibility of a last minute trip.