Castro to get CARICOM honour
HAVANA, Cuba, December 1, 2008 – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders will honour former Cuban President Fidel Castro, at the upcoming third CARICOM-Cuba Summit, for his contributions to the region and Africa.
CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington singled out Mr Castro's aiding South African nations, like Namibia and Angola, in their fight against apartheid and colonialism, and for providing medical training to Caribbean countries.
“Those, in my view, are two of the greatest contributions to the world - development of the human resources of the people of the Caribbean - the youths of the Caribbean - and the sacrifice that he made to help free the black people of southern Africa,” he said.
The 15-member grouping is yet to decide on a mechanism to honour the 82-year-old revolutionary leader who stepped down as Cuba’s Head of State in February, handing over leadership to his brother, Raul.
The CARICOM-Cuba, to be held in Santiago de Cuba exactly a week from today, will be the first time the regional leaders will meet with the younger Castro since he took over power, implementing gradual reforms including lifting some import restrictions and encouraging private-sector business initiatives.
CARICOM and Cuba are working on a 15-point agenda for the summit, which follows the first in Havana in 2002 and Barbados in 2005. They are expected to discuss greater solidarity and cooperation, as well as the relationship between Cuba and Washington.