Last Updated on Sunday, 22 May 2022, 14:35 by Denis Chabrol
President Irfaan Ali on Sunday said Guyana would be attending next month’s United States-organised Summit of the Americas, even as the the 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) would continue to press for fair treatment of its longtime ally, Cuba.
“We will continue to represent the decision of Heads (of Government of CARICOM) that is we must forge a stronger relationship and lay the framework through which there will be enhanced cooperation and advancement of the dialogue with Cuba and the US,” he said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, speaking at the Piarco International Airport on his return from Guyana, said that “most if not all” CARICOM leaders would be attending the Summit of the Americas.
The President said Guyana has decided to attend the Summit of the Americas to be held in Los Angeles from June 6 to 10, 2022 because it would afford his country to address several issues including climate change, energy security and food security. “We want to be part of those conversations and in that light and in that light, we’ll be attending the Summit of the Americas,” he said. Guyana is emerging as a major oil producer in the Western Hemisphere but at the same time sees itself as a key player in the absorption of greenhouse gases through its tropical forests. Guyana is also the lead CARICOM member which is pushing for a 25 percent reduction of the region’s more than US$6 billion food import bill by producing more food.
He said the decision was taken after CARICOM raised a number of issues about Cuba with the US government. “In raising those issues, we have seen some movement in the positive direction. What we want is to see this continue and to see an aggressive move,” he said. The United States at the weekend reportedly said it was considering a Cuban government representative to the Summit of the Americas.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne and Belize’s Prime Minister Antonio Briceño had said they would boycott the event if Cuba and Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, rather than Opposition Leader Juan Guaido, were not invited. Cuba
The United States has in recent days announced that it has eased some restrictions on Cuba, including curbs on family remittances and travel to the Caribbean island nation . The Joe Biden administration also said it would increase support for Cuban entrepreneurs. Washington has reinstated the Cuban Family Reunification Parole and increase the range of consular services that would be offered at the American Embassy in Havana.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, in a Twitter post, called the US announcement “a limited step in the right direction”. “The decision does not change the embargo, the fraudulent inclusion (of Cuba) on a list of state sponsors of terrorism nor most of the coercive maximum pressure measures by Trump that still affect the Cuban people,” he said.