GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Sunday marked the 41st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the first four independent member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), namely Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, in 1972.
December 8 was established as CARICOM-Cuba Day in December 2002 by heads of government of the Caribbean Community and the president of Cuba in the Havana Declaration, officially recognising that historic act of Caribbean diplomacy.
Member states of CARICOM use this day to express appreciation to the government and people of Cuba for the solidarity that has characterised bilateral relations between the countries and for the various forms of assistance that Cuba has consistently provided to CARICOM nationals, particularly the young people of the region as they seek to develop their professional skills and contribute to the building of their nations and region.
There are more than 2,000 CARICOM nationals studying in Cuba and a large number of these students are beneficiaries of scholarships from the Cuban government. Their studies in the disciplines of medicine, engineering, telecommunications, architecture, computer science, geology, among others, will have a tremendous positive impact in their home territories and ultimately the CARICOM region as a whole.
In the words of officials from the CARICOM Secretariat, “The strong technical cooperation enjoyed by our countries is a paragon of the South-South Cooperation Model of which both Cuba and CARICOM are strong proponents.”
Cuba's assistance to the region, particularly in the field of health, in which that country excels, has been most generous. Cuba has built hospitals, provided medicines and the people of the region have benefited from the provision of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. This is especially true for rural areas of many member states.