FINAL DECLARATION OF THE 7TH CARICOM-CUBA SUMMIT MEETING
Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Republic of Cuba, gathered via video-conference on 8 December, 2020, on the occasion of the 7th CARICOM-Cuba Summit held in commemoration of the 48th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the four CARICOM independent States and Cuba and the 18th anniversary of CARICOM-Cuba Day;
Proud of our shared Caribbean identity and the progress of our political and cooperative relations that have been strengthened by our arrangements, exchanges and coordination at international forums to the benefit of our peoples, and guided by the principles of solidarity and complementarity;
Recalling the Declarations of our Summits of Havana in 2002, Bridgetown in 2005, Santiago de Cuba in 2008, Port of Spain in 2011, Havana in 2014, and Saint Mary’s in 2017;
Aware of our need to work together, particularly in the economic and environmental areas, for the sustainable development of our nations in a manner that helps us build more inclusive, just and equitable societies, and address our shared vulnerabilities as Small Island Developing States and countries with low-lying coastal areas;
Deeply grieved by the loss of lives and concerned by the extensive socioeconomic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating weather events that have worsened the multiple crises faced by mankind today;
Welcoming the medical assistance provided to the Member States of CARICOM by the Government of Cuba in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Highlighting the importance of pooling our efforts in order to improve the productivity, infrastructure, and air and sea connectivity in our countries, and expand our economic and trade ties, through the implementation of the Revised CARICOM-Cuba Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement;
Underlining the significance of consolidating the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a mechanism for political consultation, the promotion of our regional unity and integration, and the defence of our regional interests in international affairs and our relations with third-parties; and
Reaffirming the effectiveness of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed in Havana in January 2014.
HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:
- Reiterate that our regional unity and integration are based on our absolute respect for the Purposes and Principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and International Law; in particular, the principles of sovereignty, self-determination, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, peaceful settlement of disputes, the prohibition on the use or threat of force; as well as the promotion and protection of human rights for all.
- Underscore the importance of defending our regional unity for the preservation of the peace and stability of our countries.
- Welcome the outcomes of the 6th CARICOM-Cuba Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs held in Georgetown, Guyana, on 14 June, 2019, which agreed on the need for more cooperation, as well as increased trade and investment.
- Reaffirm our will to strengthen South-South cooperation as an expression of solidarity, for the promotion of bilateral and regional programs, as well as triangular cooperation for development, with regard paid to national priorities.
- Express our will to continue to receive Cuban medical cooperation in recognition of its contribution to the well-being of the Caribbean people; in particular, its valuable human resources which were added to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We reject any attempt to discredit, distort or disrupt Cuban medical assistance, an important aid to the region and to Caribbean healthcare system.
- Share our best experiences in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and other epidemiological conditions that are common to the Caribbean, and assess the possible application of innovative Cuban biotech medicines in the prevention and treatment of this pandemic.
- Recognize that the cooperation maintained between Cuba and the CARICOM Member States in the areas of health, human-resource training, construction, sports, education, environmental protection, and natural disaster risk reduction and mitigation, has effectively contributed to the development and wellbeing of our peoples.
- Continue the implementation of the Center for Stimulating the Development of Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs in Guyana.
- Maintain the exchanges so that the Regional School of Arts in Jamaica can start to operate.
- Acknowledge our commitment to finding avenues that promote our economic and commercial relations by identifying our strengths and possible complementarities, and by implementing and relying more on the Second Protocol to the CARICOM-Cuba Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement.
- Note that the Cuban economic model update, the Cuban foreign investment law and the Mariel Special Development Zone offer broad and additional opportunities for the intensification and reinforcement of the economic ties between CARICOM and Cuba.
- Recognize the promotion of sustainable tourism as one of the keys to economic development in the Caribbean region, and agree to strengthen our cooperation in this sector, including the implementation of multi-destination tourism in accordance with the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Cuba and CARICOM States signed at the 6th CARICOM-Cuba Summit.
- Emphasize that, given the scope of its impact, climate change represents one of the greatest challenges faced by our nations, the repercussions of which are particularly serious in developing countries; especially in Small Island Developing States. For this reason, we commit to expanding our exchanges in the context of CARICOM and at relevant international agencies, in order to mitigate its adverse effects.
- Underline that adaptation to the impact of climate change constitutes an immediate and urgent global priority.
- Strengthen our cooperation in the protection of the environment and the sustainable use of our resources; in particular, those of the Caribbean Sea. In this regard, we support the efforts made by the Association of Caribbean States to designate the Caribbean Sea as a “Special Area in the Context of Sustainable Development,” within the UN framework.
- Welcome the actions jointly implemented by our countries in order to reduce the risks of natural disasters and note the agreement signed between the Cuban Civil Defense Authority and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency for the purpose of expanding and integrating our regional early warning systems. We recognize the joint efforts made to train a number of Caribbean first-response bodies, as well as Cuban and Caribbean specialists in the management of responses to natural disasters.
- Renew our call for a review and modification of the current “graduation” criteria for the receipt of Official Development Assistance to properly reflect the realities and specific needs of the highly indebted middle-income countries; in particular, the Caribbean States, and to integrate the different dimensions of sustainable development included in the 2030 agenda, considering that the current criteria fail to reflect our actual levels of economic and social development or the multidimensional effects of poverty, inequality and vulnerability.
- Express deep concern over the inclusion of certain CARICOM Member States in lists of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and call for a change in this approach which serves to negatively impact the economies of those countries that have shown their readiness to cooperate and engage in dialogue in order to find mutually advantageous solutions for the parties.
- Express deep concern over and rejection of the progressive decline in correspondent banking relations being experienced by developing nations; in particular, CARICOM Member States, due to the de-risking actions by some of the major international banking corporations, which threatens the financial stability of the affected countries and limits their efforts to achieve development and socioeconomic growth.
- Highlight the importance of reparation and compensation, as an act of justice, for the damages caused by slavery, indentured servitude and native genocide in the Caribbean.
- Reject the imposition of unilateral coercive measures and, in that context, call for an immediate and unconditional end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade implemented by the Government of the United States of America against Cuba, and the termination of the US persecution of Cuban financial transactions, the relentlessness of which has increased. Reiterate our firm rejection of the enforcement of extraterritorial laws and measures, such as the Helms-Burton Act, which grossly violate International Law and undermine the sovereignty and interests of third parties.
- Express our gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Cuba for its arrangements for this 7th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of CARICOM and Cuba held via videoconference.
- Hold the 8th CARICOM-Cuba Summit in 2023, and the 7th CARICOM-Cuba Ministerial Meeting in the Republic of Cuba in June 2022.
- Adopted on this 8th day of December 2020.