BELIZE CITY–Cuba-CARICOM Day, observed annually on December 8, was instituted back in 2002, to solidify relations which Cuba began to cultivate with the region decades earlier, starting with the establishment of diplomatic relations with Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago back in 1972.
On Monday, December 8, 2014, Cuba will host delegations from CARICOM member countries, including Belize, as talks focus on matters of economic importance, in the context of the 5-year strategic plan (2014-2019) for the region, formalized at the last regional summit.
Prime Minister Barrow left Belize on Tuesday, December 2, to first travel to Atlanta, Georgia, USA, after which he plans to travel to Cuba for the regional summit.
Cuba has said that it sees the regional encounter as one that provides a unique space at a time when the region is moving towards more fundamental integration within the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
The summit will provide a forum for the parties to discuss ways of strengthening bilateral cooperation.
Over the last 12 years, the parties have held summits every three years, the first in 2002, the second in 2005, the third in 2008, the fourth in 2011 and the fifth in 2014.
Cuba is not a member of CARICOM, the regional integration mechanism which includes countries such as Belize, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago – the country where the last CARICOM-Cuba summit was held three years ago.