Caribbean states renew call for end to US embargo
Caricom member states and Cuba have criticised the US decision to deny an application for their summit to be hosted at the Hilton Trinidad.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Friday December 9, 2011 - The Caricom-Cuba summit ended here yesterday with participating states accusing the US of intruding on the sovereignty of the host country by preventing the meeting from being staged at the Hilton Trinidad.
Caribbean leaders also renewed their call for the US to lift its decades-old embargo against Cuba.
The one-day summit was shifted to the National Academy for the Performing Arts after the hotel management said a license was denied because the Hilton is subject to US law.
The Caricom leaders said this was a “unilateral and unwarranted extraterritorial application” of the Helms-Burton law, which strengthens and continues the US embargo against Cuba.
The leaders said the decision “flies in the face of the annual overwhelming rejection of this policy by the United Nations General Assembly”.
Outgoing Caricom Chairman St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas said he did not believe this statement would harm US-Caricom relations.
During the summit, Cuban President Raul Castro identified climate change as a major concern.
He pointed to studies that indicate that a portion of Cuba’s land mass will be permanently submerged by 2050.
“We need to focus on the viability of Small Island Developing States and we see the developed nations selfishness and lack of political will has not even given a decisive decision so that we can stop the growing deterioration of the environment and grant our nations the preferable treatment that these island nations require,” he said.
In her address, host Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said “new life” needed to be breathed into the Caricom-Cuba Joint Commission, which has not met since 2005.
“We must put arrangements in place for the convening of a meeting of this vital institution in order to examine whether any of the agreements between CARICOM and Cuba needs to be streamlined in order to meet the challenges posed by a rapidly changing and volatile global economic and financial order,” she urged.