Cuba, ECLAC Discuss Preparations for Sustainable Development Forum

United Nations, Jul 18 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, presided today a working meeting of the member States of the Latin American and Caribbean Forum for Sustainable Development.

The permanent mission of Cuba to the UN hosted the meeting, which was also attended by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America of the United Nations (ECLAC), Alicia Barcena, and ambassadors of the area.

By welcoming the participants, the Cuban Minister reiterated the interest of his country to continue promoting the work of ECLAC and its subsidiary entities, as well as to support the work of that Commission in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Meanwhile, Barcenas presented the results of the organization's session period and reviewed the new preparations for the ECLAC forum that examines the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Cuba currently holds the pro-tempore presidency of ECLAC in the period 2018-2020, from which it boosts regional cooperation and sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During the 36th session of ECLAC, held in Mexico from May 23 to 27, 2016, the member states approved a resolution through which the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development was created as a regional mechanism for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of these goals.

Subsequently, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations endorsed the creation of the forum.

The Third Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development will be held at the ECLAC headquarters in Santiago de Chile, from April 22 to 26, 2019.

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Ralph Gonsalves Asks for Defense for Latin Countries

Havana, Jul 15 (Prensa Latina) The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, called today in this capital to defend the governments of Nicaragua and Venezuela, and to support the people of Brazil.

'We have to support these sister nations with their successes and failures, that is the meaning of our struggle,' said Gonsalves, speaking on the opening day of the 24th Annual Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum that takes place at the Convention Center until Tuesday.

'One day is Venezuela, anotherday, it is Brazil and then Nicaragua, we always remember the coup against the government of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras in June 2009,' Gonsalves explained.

'Now Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is in prison but the people support him because people continue to see him as their leader,' he said.

The Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lamented the impact of the economic, financial and commercial blockade that Cuba suffers, as this policy of the United States affects in other latitudes.

He denounced how external agents conspire against governments and systematically practice interference in the internal affairs of countries.

To date Cuba has hosted two editions of the meeting, the one in 1993 and the one in 2001.

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More Than 430 Delegates Attend the 24 th Sao Paulo Forum in Cuba

Havana, Jul 15 (Prensa Latina) More than 430 delegates from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe are participating in the 24th Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum, a three-day meeting inaugurated today in this capital with the Left's unity as its central theme.

The inauguration of the meeting was held in the Convention Palace, presided over by the second secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, and gathered more than a hundred left-wing and progressive parties and organizations from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The opening ceremony was also led by the executive secretary of the Sao Paulo Forum, Monica Valente, with the participation of personalities such as the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, and the Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar Lopez Rivera.

On its first day, the annual forum - which returns to Havana after the 1993 and 2001 editions - includes a debate to establish a position against colonialism and in favor of anti-imperialist solidarity and peace.

It will also host the meeting of the regional secretariats, the 3rd Seminar between the Left Party and the Sao Paulo Forum, and a meeting of the Network of Intellectuals in Defense of Humanity.

This regional left-wing initiative was created in 1990 by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro (1926-2016), and the former president and founder of the Brazilian Workers' Party, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

According to the participants, the new edition of the Sao Paulo Forum should promote the momentum of the revolutionary and progressive forces of Latin America, in response to the onslaught of the right and the hostility of the United States towards governments and peoples who oppose its hegemony and interference.

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Sao Paulo Forum: Space for Criticism and Construction of Perspectives

Port-au-Prince, Jul 14 (Prensa Latina) The Sao Paulo Forum, to be in session this Sunday in Havana, will be a space for criticism and the construction of new perspectives, said Haitian economist and political activist Camille Chalmers.

The teacher is also a delegate to the 24th Annual Meeting of political agreement of the regional left-wing forces, which aims to discuss and set guidelines on the struggles that unite us, he said.

'We are going to have a really important presence of all the left-wing forces, a wide range of options and trends, and innovation this year is that there will be a meeting with social movements,' Chalmers told Prensa Latina.

Camille, who is a great friend of Cuba and a follower of progressive social projects, remarked that the exchange with these movements will allow a rapprochement between concrete social struggles and policies, which can lead to 'the creation of a front to resist the pressure and the permanent threat of imperialism.'

He warned that an enormous violence against democracy, peoples and workers has been unleashed at present, with the intention of dismantling the conquests of the left in recent years.

'It is very important to create a front that can oppose this and that can overcome and relaunch the process of progressive accumulation in Latin America,' he said.

The Sao Paulo Forum, created by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, groups 112 left-wing political parties from Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Cuba's President Will Be Special Guest at CARICOM Conference

Kingston, Jul 1 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel will be one of the special guests of the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the regional entity reports today.

The event will take place in this capital from July 4 to 6 and will bring together some 200 foreign officials, since the 15 member states and the associated governments confirmed their attendance.

In a press conference, Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kamina Johnson Smith, said that the other president honored will be Chilean President Sebastian Piñera.

'We welcome both leaders with open arms and we hope to receive them here,' said the Minister.

'They will have the opportunity to get involved with other Heads of State in the context of the forum, and we look forward to strengthening our partnerships with the two countries,' he said.

Among the key issues of the event's agenda are crime and violence, disaster management and climate change, and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The Conference of Heads of Government is the supreme organ of the Caribbean Community and determines and provides its political orientation.

The celebration of the conference in Jamaica this year is consistent with the regular system of rotation within CARICOM.

This conclave will be the first event organized by Prime Minister Andrew Holness after assuming the presidency of the Conference on July 1.

The Jamaican mandate in the regional entity will last until December 31, 2018.

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ACS Secretary General to Attend Cuba-Caribbean Business Fair

The Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), June Soomer, will officially visit Cuba to attend the Cuba-Caribbean Business Fair.

Scheduled for June 28 and 29 in Santiago de Cuba, the event will bring together Caribbean and Cuban businessmen with the aim of strengthening and diversifying trade relations, cooperation to benefit development and greater integration of the region's economies, official sources of the host country reported.

During an interview with the Cuban ambassador at the headquarters of the ACS, before his departure to Cuba, Soomer talked of the importance of participating in the event and the fact of visiting Santiago de Cuba.

The general secretary will complete a program of meetings with the government's main leaders in the province and will visit places of historical interest, among other activities to develop during his visit.

It is also expected that Soomer will participate in the official launch of the Call for 'ExpoCaribe 2019', after 11-year interruption, an event that will include the participation of the ACS member countries, to create a forum to promote trade, investment and the exchange of knowledge among the Caribbean entrepreneurs.

Another of the objectives of this business fair is to facilitate institutional management in the area, achieve exportable funds, products replacing imports and strengthen the development plans of the Cuban eastern provinces.

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Cuba Seized over 5.5 Tons of Drugs in 2017

Havana, Jun 26 (Prensa Latina) Cuba seized more than 5.5 tons of narcotics in 2017, most of them occupied at sea during landfalls, today reported the Secretary of the National Drug Commission (CND), Antonio Israel Ybarra.

In a press conference, Ybarra explained that 95 percent of the drugs were confiscated by sea, in marijuana and cocaine packages that landed on the shores of the island after being launched into the Caribbean Sea by drug traffickers, sometimes to avoid controls and others to be collected later by consumer countries.

According to the official, Cuba is neither a transit country nor a destination for drugs and consumption is very low.

According to a prevalence survey conducted two years ago, the use of narcotics is 0.038 percent.

Ybarra specified that last year, 48 Cubans and foreigners were prosecuted for the crime of drug trafficking, while in airports the national authorities seized 57.4 kilograms of narcotics in 94 incidents.

Also, in the same period, 67,000 marijuana plants were occupied as part of Cuba's political will to fight drugs, the expert added.

Our backbone to face this scourge is prevention, which is closely related to people's education in order to foster a culture of rejection of these substances, Ybarra said.

It also ratified Cuba's policy of zero tolerance for drugs and the prevalence in the country of comprehensive strategies aimed at achieving a balance between preventive and confrontational actions.

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Caribbean Businesses Invited to Explore Opportunities in Cuba

Businesses in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean are being encouraged to explore opportunities for trade and investment with Cuba.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Cuba, Rogelio Sierra Diaz, said his Government is seeking to widen cooperation with countries in the region under its foreign investment law.

“We are now promoting trade cooperation between the Caribbean Community and Cuba. This is strengthened by the approval of a new foreign investment law in Cuba that was approved a few years ago,” he said at a press briefing at the Embassy of Cuba in Jamaica.

The Deputy Minister was on a three-day visit to Jamaica as part of a tour of several Caribbean nations, including Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, aimed at strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation within the region.

Diaz met with senior Government officials to discuss and identify areas to increase relations between the countries. He said the trade and foreign investment promotion policies in Cuba will encourage the participation of Caribbean nations.

“The Cuban authorities are highly interested in receiving investments from the Caribbean companies. The Caribbean business persons will have the same facilities that any other business person may receive and will be warmly welcomed,” he pointed out.

Diaz pointed specifically to Jamaica, saying that it has a lot to offer Cuba.

“Jamaica has significantly large businesses, which can become investors at some point in Cuba and from that could derive business benefits but could also provide services and products for the Cuban market,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Cuban minister said his country values its longstanding ties within the region and is committed to strengthening the bonds of friendship and understanding.

“We (want) to express to our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean that the Cuban foreign policy will remain the same and that within this policy the relationship between Cuba and the Caribbean hold for us a priority,” he said.

The Deputy Minister added that the existing bilateral relationship between Jamaica and Cuba “provides the appropriate framework” to further develop the bond between the two countries.

“We believe that it is not necessary to establish new agreements but to strengthen and update the ones we already have,” he noted.

He indicated that priority will be given to cooperation in the areas of disaster management and climate change and teaching of the Spanish language.

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