US Black Group Lauds Caricom's Stance on Venezuela

The IBW urged Caricom nations to resist pressure from Washington and the OAS, and continue to stand firm in their principled position concerning Venezuela.

On Saturday, New York-based Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) said it was “very concerned about reports of racist violence by right-wing, anti-Government forces targeting members of the Afro-Venezuelan community.”

RELATED: Morales Slams Supporters of Venezuela's Opposition Plebiscite

IBW called on the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus to investigate these reports and to support the Caribbean Community's (Caricom) position by demanding that U.S. President Donald Trump's Administration “cease and desist interfering in Venezuela's domestic affairs, and in undermining its national sovereignty.”

The group also condemned recent efforts by the Organization of American States' (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro and a “small group of powerful states in the OAS who are relentlessly attacking the Venezuelan Government, openly supporting the Opposition forces, and are attempting to divide and weaken the solidarity of the 15 Caricom member states of the OAS on their stance towards the crisis in Venezuela.”

IBW lauded the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, for upholding “Article 15 of the OAS Charter, which says that 'no state, or group of states, has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other state.'”

The OAS Charter says “this principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements.”

The Institute of the Black World 21st Century urged all Caricom countries to “resist pressure from Washington and from the OAS, and continue to stand firm in their united and principled position concerning the crisis in Venezuela.”

In a statement from the conclusion of recently concluded 38th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of Caricom, held in Grenada earlier this month, Caricom leaders “reaffirmed their guiding principles of adherence to the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy, as well as for the fundamental principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of states.”

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CARICOM Leaders Urged to Send Fact Finding Mission to Venezuela

The objective of the fact-finding mission would be present accurate and objective analysis of the situation.

Leaders from the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, have been called on to send a fact-finding mission to neighboring Venezuela in order to make an informed analysis of the ongoing situation in the country.

RELATED: Socialist Venezuelan Student Leader Killed After Backing Maduro

David Comissiong, the interim Chairperson of the Caribbean chapter of the International Network In Defense of Humanity, said in a letter Sunday that it was vital for CARICOM governments to get a clearer picture of the events unfolding in Venezuela. He stated the objective of the fact-finding mission would be present accurate and objective analysis of the situation.

Comissiong accused Luis Almagro, the General Secretary of the Organization of American States, of leading a "wicked campaign against Venezuela," with the OAS head championing the application of the organization's 'Democratic Charter' against the country.

"Luis Almagro, the current Secretary General of the OAS, is a virulent right-wing former Foreign Minister of Uruguay who possesses a deep hatred of President Maduro and his PSUV administration," he said in the statement.

The Clement Payne Movement founder also said the opposition-led National Assembly was refusing to carry out their lawful duties, rendering the government dysfunctional.

"They (opposition parties) were publicly declaring that they had no interest in carrying out any law-making functions other than to use their time and energy to somehow get rid of President Maduro before his lawful, constitutional term of office comes to an end in 2018."

He said violence and vandalism of during opposition-backed protests were "consciously designed manifestations orchestrated by the wealthy elitist opposition politicians."

Comissiong also urged media houses in the English-speaking Caribbean to send an investigative team to Venezuela, saying western media's reports on Venezuela are skewed and distorted.

Despite repeated calls by the Venezuelan government for peaceful dialogue and negotiations with the opposition, protests have continued in the streets, with more radical elements employing violence in efforts to force an ouster of President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro has looked to ease tensions by calling for a National Constituent Assembly that would open up discussions with civil society on a broad restructuring of the state, but opposition leader have also rejected the call and set off a fresh wave of protests which have led to the deaths of some three dozen people in just over a month.

The United States government, a long-time opponent of the left-wing government, has recently set its sights on the Caribbean as part of a strategy to isolate the country.

RELATED: US Senate Bill Allots $20M Toward Regime Change in Venezuela

The bipartisan Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act presented in the U.S. Senate not only seeks to pump millions to opposition efforts to undermine the Maduro government, but also looks to woo the Caribbean through a 'strengthening' of strengthen the U.S.-backed Caribbean Energy Security Initiative, as well as financially support regional investment energy diversification across the Caribbean and Central America.

As part of a wider international effort, the U.S. would leverage the Caribbean to respond to the crisis, where many Caribbean countries “which depend largely on high cost imported fuel for electricity generation, and many of which have benefited from preferential treatment by Venezuela,” the bill states.

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Caricom and Cuba To Discuss Energy Co-op

A delegation of the Caribbean Community will travel to Cuba soon to assess opportunities to carry out renewable energy projects in the area, an official source confirmed.

Devon Gardner, Caricom Manager of Energy Development Projects, told Cuban Ambassador in Guyana, Julio Cesar Gonzalez, that the idea is to make come true plans to produce biogas and generate electricity from agricultural waste like bagasse, among other initiatives.

According to Gardner, the delegation would be led by Assistant Secretary General for Trade and Economic Integration, Joseph Cox.

Gardner also praised Cuba's controbution to the integration process in the area, the formation of human resources and the assistance to Caribbean nations, despite being a victim of the US economic, financial and commercial blockade for over half a century.

Caricom and Cuba established diplomatic relations over 40 years ago based on friendship and collaboration.

The parties hold bilateral summits every three years to review and expand cooperation projects and integration in the fields of education, health, energy and trade, among others.

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CARICOM and Cuba to meet in Havana

The ninth meeting of the Joint Commission under the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Cuba will take place in Havana, Cuba on 6 – 7 October 2015.

The meeting will primarily focus on the conclusion of market access negotiations which gathered momentum in 2014. CARICOM and Cuba have been seeking to expand preferential access to their respective goods markets beyond what is currently provided under the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (TECA), which was signed in 2000.

While CARICOM Least Developed Countries, namely the members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Belize, enjoy preferential access to the Cuban market, the TECA does not require these countries to reciprocate preferential access to Cuban exports. Therefore, while all CARICOM countries will become beneficiaries of additional access that is successfully negotiated, expanded preferential access for Cuban exports will be limited to the markets of CARICOM More Developed Countries.

CARICOM member states, supported by the CARICOM Secretariat, have been working diligently on developing negotiation proposals that would engender a positive outcome at the upcoming meeting. This is in keeping with the mandate from the heads of state and government of CARICOM and of Cuba at the fifth CARICOM-Cuba Summit in December 2014, and would be an important milestone in the improvement of CARICOM-Cuba trade and economic cooperation.

It is also anticipated that CARICOM and Cuba will finalize product specific rules of origin (PSRO). Such rules are for determining the criteria for specific goods to be considered as “originating” from either CARICOM or Cuba in order to qualify for preferential access to their respective markets. The agreements reached by the parties during the meeting will be detailed under a new protocol which the parties are expected to initial at the conclusion of the meeting of the Joint Commission.

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CARICOM Team Travels to Cuba for Scientific Cooperation

Members of the Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) will travel to Cuba today, in search of opportunities for cooperation projects in those areas.

The delegation will be in the Caribbean island until Sept. 17, and is led by Professor Harold Ramkissoon, who is the director of the regional scientists network, CARISCIENCE.

According to the agenda, experts will meet with officials of the Cuban Ministries of Science and Agriculture, as well as visit the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, and the Center of Molecular Immunology.

The purpose of those contacts is to seek ways to cooperate with those institutions, which are internationally recognized for producing products that benefit human health, agriculture and environment.

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Adopted in Havana, Cuba, on 8 December 2014.

We, the Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community and of the Republic of 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;

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;

Aware of the importance of working together for the sustainable development of our countries, that allows us to build more inclusive societies and to address our vulnerabilities as small developing States, in particular Small Island Developing States, especially in the environmental and economic spheres;

Reiterating the need to pool our efforts in order to improve the productivity, infrastructure, air and sea connectivity of our countries, as well as to broaden our economic and trade relations through the implementation of the revised Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between CARICOM and Cuba;

Recalling the importance of the consolidation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a mechanism of political coordination and promotion of the unity and integration of our region, as well as the significance of its direct efforts in the eradication 2

of poverty, hunger and inequality within and amongst its Member States.

Agree as follows:

1. Reiterate that the unity and integration of our Caribbean region is based on respect for the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and in International Law. Therefore, we commit our wholehearted support to sovereignty, self-determination, territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs of each country and the protection and promotion of all human rights for all;

2. Welcome the outcomes of the regular meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CARICOM and the Republic of Cuba to date, which continue to serve as a platform for political engagement. These meetings reinforce the commitment of our political leaders to strengthening the bonds among our countries;

3. Reaffirm our will to strengthen South-South cooperation as an expression of solidarity among our countries, for the promotion of bilateral and regional programmes as well as triangular cooperation for development, taking into account the development priorities of our countries;

4. Recognize the cooperation between Cuba and the countries of the Caribbean Community in areas such as health, the development of human resources, construction and sports, has effectively contributed to the growth of wellbeing of our peoples. In this regard, we express our sincere appreciation to the government of Cuba for its continued support and for the extension of this goodwill for the financing of the Caribbean Regional School of Arts in Jamaica, and the Centre for Treatment of Physical Disabilities to assist physically challenged children and youth, to be based in Guyana, during the upcoming triennial period. We express further appreciation for the increase in under-graduate scholarships as well as post-graduate scholarships for specialization in Medicine, the increase in patient intake from CARICOM States for free medical care, as well as training in disaster risk reduction and response to natural disasters.

5. Reiterate our commitment to continue promoting social initiatives as well as the implementation of projects to improve the air and sea infrastructure and connectivity between our countries and broaden our economic and trade relations through the implementation of the revised Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between CARICOM and Cuba;

6. Welcome the progress in the negotiations to expand market access and improve economic cooperation under our Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement and encourage our officials to continue to work in the spirit of solidarity and goodwill that has characterized their efforts to date, in order to conclude the negotiations by the end of the second quarter of 2015;

7. Emphasize that the updating of Cuban economic model, its Foreign Investment Law and the Special Mariel Development Economic Zone, provide additional opportunities, on a much broader scale, to accelerate and strengthen CARICOM-Cuba economic ties;

8. Recognize the importance to the Caribbean countries to take advantage of the potential offered by the regional and sub-regional mechanisms such as CELAC, ACS, ALBA-TCP, PETROCARIBE, as well as international mechanisms such as BRICS;

9. Reaffirm our solidarity with the Republic of Haiti and reiterate our strong commitment to the recovery efforts after the earthquake of 12 January 2010, in accordance with the priorities defined by its government and fully respecting for its sovereignty;

10. Affirm the commitments made at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States that took place in Apia, Samoa, 1st - 4th September 2014, as well as the commitments outlined in the Outcome Document.


11. Affirm also our readiness to work together on a Regional Strategic Agenda to address Disaster Risk Management in a comprehensive manner, taking into account disaster risk estimates and reduction, human assistance and reconstruction, in accordance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/182, in order to address the serious consequences of climate change in our countries;

12. Decide to strengthen our cooperation to address the negative effects of climate change. In this regard, we reiterate our call for a binding agreement that will stabilize the rise of world temperatures below the 2º C taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and to address the needs of our countries to the challenges of adapting to impacts of climate change, in accordance with the Framework Convention and the decisions of the Conferences of the Parties;

13. Commit to strengthen cooperation for the protection of the environment and the sustainable use of our resources, in particular those in the Caribbean Sea. In this regard, we support the efforts made by the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) to declare the Caribbean Sea a Special Area in the Context of Sustainable Development within the UN Framework;

14. Reaffirm that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and we express profound alarm that emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise globally. We are deeply concerned that all countries, particularly developing countries, are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and are already experiencing an increase in such impacts, including persistent drought and extreme weather events, sea-level rise, coastal erosion and ocean acidification, further threatening food security and efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. In this regard, we emphasize that adaptation to climate change represents an immediate and urgent global priority;


15. Emphasize our commitment to combat trafficking in persons, illicit drugs trafficking and illicit trafficking of small arms, bearing in mind the characteristics, scope and magnitude of these problems in each individual State.

16. Develop cooperation in the area of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in full conformity with the principles of international law, with the aim of promoting their contributions to the sustainable development of the member states of CARICOM and Cuba, particularly in the fields of education, health care, science and technology, innovation, agriculture and any other sector where it may be required.

17. To continue moving forward on cooperation in matters of food security, as a decisive contribution towards the elimination of hunger, poverty and margination, not only in the area of the Caribbean but also on a world level, by the intensification of our coordinated efforts and interchanges in matters of agricultural technology, nutrition and other sectors that contribute towards that goal;

18. Welcome the immediate unified actions of ALBA-TCP, Cuba and CARICOM, accompanied by the other member countries of CELAC to prevent the spread of the Ebola epidemic in our region and to deal with it if necessary. We commit ourselves to promoting and broadening said cooperation by adopting preventive measures, training of qualified personnel, creating institutions to carry out research on that disease;

19. Recognize the support and solidarity of the Republic of Cuba in sending doctors and medical personnel to the countries of West Africa affected by the epidemic, and in training qualified personnel in other African countries to prevent it from spreading and be prepared to confront it;

20. Support efforts in preventing the entry, spread and facilitating the treatment of non-communicable diseases, HIV-AIDS and other diseases such as Dengue and Chikungunya in our countries. We also support projects aimed at assisting differently-abled persons in the Region;

21. Demand an immediate end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the government of the United States of America against Cuba and, especially, to its extraterritorial nature and the financial persecution of Cuban transactions, whose severity increases daily; the inclusion of Cuba on the List of States Sponsoring Terrorism, prepared and published unilaterally by the US State Department, and all undercover actions that the US government is carrying out to subvert domestic law and order in the Republic of Cuba, including those that involve the illegal use of information and communications technologies, that constitute violations of Cuban sovereignty and its people’s right to self-determination;

22. Reaffirm the unequivocal position of the Caribbean Community in favour of Cuba attending the Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama, in April 2015, on an equal footing of sovereignty, and without any conditions, which coincides with the position of solidarity expressed in different fora throughout the region;

23. Emphasize that the elaboration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda must be a universal process, open, transparent and inclusive, on the basis of unrestricted respect for the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and focused on the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. In this context, we stress that said Agenda must respond to the special needs of small developing States, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS), in accordance with their respective national laws and development priorities in respect to attaining sustainable development. The Agenda should also incorporate all elements conducive to Sustainable Development, in particular culture, which must be a cross-cutting issue of the Agenda and with respect to which specific goals in the relevant objectives must be included;


24. Affirm that even though middle-income countries in the Caribbean region, have achieved significant advances in fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, we still face enormous challenges in our path to development, including those derived from the nature of being small islands and those related with climate change. In this context, we reiterate our call to adopt indicators that suitably reflect the realities of middle-income countries and, in particular, the specific problems of the Caribbean States, considering that the current criteria referring to average incomes, especially the criteria of per capita income indicators, do not reflect the multidimensional effects of poverty, inequality and vulnerability;

25. Celebrate with great pleasure the successful outcome of the Second CELAC Summit in Havana, held on the 28th and 29th of January of 2014, in particular the Declaration of Havana, the historical Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed by the Heads of State and Government and the Special Declarations regarding Small Island Developing States, the matter of reparations for the slavery and native genocide and the establishing of the China-CELAC Forum;

26. Reaffirm that the strengthening of CELAC as a forum for dialogue and international political actor is one of our priorities. In that context, we consider it to be fundamental to continue strengthening regional integration through political dialogue, cooperation and increased trade among the countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. In that regard, we reaffirm the importance of CARICOM’s active participation within CELAC and we emphasize the inclusion of the CARICOM Presidency within the CELAC Quartet;

27. Note the importance placed by the Caribbean Community on the issue of reparation for native genocide and Caribbean slavery and their desire to engage with the European countries intimately involved in native genocide and slave-owning in a reparatory dialogue to address the legacy of this crime against humanity;


28. Express gratitude to the Government and People of the Republic of Cuba for the warm welcome and hospitality afforded to us during the Fifth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community and the Republic of Cuba;

29. Decide to hold the Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Summit on 8 December of 2017, in Antigua and Barbuda and the Fifth Ministerial Meeting in Havana in the month of June of 2016;

Adopted in Havana, Cuba, on the 8th day of the month of December of 2014.

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Barbados' PM to visit Cuba

PRIME MINISTER Freundel Stuart will pay an official visit to the Republic of Cuba on Sunday, December 7, and will also attend the Fifth CARICOM-Cuba Summit the following day.

Stuart’s delegation will include Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Charles Burnett; the Ambassador to CARICOM, Robert Morris and Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Sonja Welch.

During the visit, the Prime Minister will participate in a bilateral meeting with the President of Cuba, Raul Castro, and attend a function for Barbadian descendants in Cuba, among other engagements.

Underscoring the importance of the official visit, Stuart said it would provide both countries with an opportunity to review their 42 years of diplomatic relations.  “We will examine past cooperation, explore potential new areas of support and reaffirm the principles sustaining the relationship,” he stated. The late Prime Minister, David Thompson, paid an official visit to Cuba in May 2009.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations on December 8, 1972, Barbados and Cuba have signed 11 bilateral agreements, including a Bilateral Investment Treaty, a Visa Abolition Agreement, a Double Taxation Agreement, and a Sports Cooperation Agreement.  Barbados has benefited significantly from Cuba’s technical assistance, particularly in the areas of health care, sports, education, culture and youth development.

The CARICOM Heads of State and Government will meet with President Raul Castro for their Summit on Monday, December 8. Some of the issues they will discuss are the CARICOM-Cuba Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, technical cooperation, renewable energy, tourism, Small Island Developing States and Climate Change.

The First CARICOM-Cuba Summit for Heads of State and Government was held in Cuba from December 7 to 8, 2002, on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. At that time, the Heads agreed that December 8th each year would be celebrated as CARICOM-Cuba Day, and that a summit would be held every three years. The Second CARICOM-Cuba Summit was held in Barbados in 2005; the third in Havana in 2008; and the fourth was in Port of Spain in 2011. (BGIS)

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