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Embassy of Cuba in New Zealand Newsletter No.4 -1st Feb 2014

Embassy of Cuba in New Zealand

Newsletter No.4

1st February 2014

Declaration of Havana Reaffirms CELAC as a Regional Coordination Mechanism January 30th The Declaration of Havana, adopted on Thursday, by the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, reaffirmed the role of the bloc as a regional space for dialog and political coordination.

The document stresses the determination to jointly work for the wellbeing of the people of regional countries and expresses the need to advance regional integration.

The 83-paragraph document also includes the main tasks to undertake the bloc and the problems facing the region in all areas.

The declaration reiterates the CELAC member states position that unity and integration must progressively be achieved, with flexibility, respect to diversity and to the right of each state to choose its own political and economic system. Comprehensive and inclusive development is a priority expressed in the document, in order to guarantee sustainable and productive progress, in harmony with the environment.

The heads of state also expressed in the declaration their determination to jointly work in order to face the challenges posed by the current world situation and to boost economic growth that favor social inclusion and equality.

Emphasis is put on the need to work for food security, literacy, education the development of agriculture and the achievement of universal public health services.

The Latin American and Caribbean nature of Puerto Rico was reiterated in the document as well as the commitment to work so that Latin America and the Caribbean be a territory free of colonialism.

The document rejects unilateral certification of states related to terrorism, drug trafficking, and other categories, including the US blacklisting of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. The text also backs the Argentinean claim over the Malvinas islands.

Also included is the rejection of the over-50-year US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.

The summit was attended by 29 presidents, President-elect of Chile, Michelle Bachelet and other representatives. During two days, the sessions addressed a large array of issues relevant to the problems facing our region, particularly the fight on hunger, poverty and inequalities.

CELAC supports Geneva II negotiations for peace in Syria

January 30th

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) has issued a statement at its second summit, just concluded here, that it strongly encourages direct negotiations between the Syrian combatants’.

‘We praise the Syrian sides for having accepted direct negotiations at the international conference on the situation in Syria’ was included in the Declaration of Havana, signed by the representatives of the 33 member countries.

CELAC also expressed its concern about the serious humanitarian and security situation in the Arab Syrian Republic and the threat it represents to Middle East and international peace and security.

CELAC congratulates UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, who attended the meeting in the Cuban capital, for organizing Geneva II, where negotiations for an end to the armed conflict in Syria are being held.

It also said that dialogue and negotiation are urgent and essential to make progress in the efforts for national reconciliation and to guarantee full implementation of the Geneva Agreements in Syria.

It stated that only a politically inclusive process led by Syrians will lead to peace and result in the realization of legitimate aspirations.

This process should be based on strict application of the principles of sovereignty, independence, self determination, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs.

Costa Rica takes the chair for the next year of CELAC

January 30th

Laura Chinchilla, the first woman to win the top post in Costa Rica, has taken the chair of the Community of Latin-American and Caribbean States (CELAC) from Cuban president Raul Castro.

During the final session of the meeting, Chinchilla emphasised that her country has the responsibility of working in favour of the interests of member nations, taking action to generate cooperation, solidarity, understanding and confidence.

She underlined that CELAC does not exist to make enemies, but to promote sustainable development, peace, equality and social justice, with the help of other established organizations that have the authority to take decisions, organise projects and assess results.

‘We will strive to reach the level of achievements of the presidents that preceded us’, she said, ‘always maintaining open dialogue’.

Chinchilla is in the final stage of her term of office in Costa Rica, so she symbolically said good-bye to the forum, and emphasized that her successor will carry on with what has been achieved in CELAC, in line with the founding philosophy of integration.

Before closing the meeting after two days of intense exchanges, the heads of state and governmental authorities of the 33 CELAC member nations approved the final documents.

The texts include the Declaration of Havana, among other special documents, and the Plan of Action for 2014, which will now be facilitated by Costa Rica until the end of its administration in 2015, when Ecuador takes over the chair.

Cuban president Raul Castro highlighted the region’s declaration as a Peace Zone, with absolute adherence to the precepts of the UN Charter, as among the achievements of the summit.

Cuba would continue working to contribute to CELAC as a member of the four country grouping that guides the direction of the regional organization.

Latin America and the Caribbean — dialogue and cooperation

January 30th

Dialogue and cooperation were the key themes in America Latina and the Caribbean with the proclamation of the region as a peace zone, reaffirmed in the Declaration of Havana.

Members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) — the second annual summit — signed off two documents which ratify the banishment of the use of force and aggression for the solution of conflicts.

‘Being aware that peace is the most precious wish of all people and that its preservation is a key element for the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean is a principle and common value of CELAC’, the text stated.

The Declaration of Havana indicates that CELAC is underpinned by its unconditional respect for the Charter of the United Nations and international law, the peaceful solution of controversies, the respect for self-determination, sovereignty and an undertaking not to interfere in any country's internal affairs.

The CELAC document stressed the relevance of the Treaty of Tlatelolco for the prohibition of nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean which established the first free zone of nuclear weapons in a densely populated area, and is seen as a major contribution to peace, and regional and international security.

It reiterated the urgent need for general and complete nuclear disarmament, in line with the commitment of the strategic programme of the the Tiatelolco treaty for the prohibition of nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, now adopted by CELAC members.

The Declaration of Havana also expresses its support for the dialogue continuing between the Colombian government and the revolutionary armed forces, celebrating the achievements accomplished in two important aspects of the programme.

‘We urge the sides involved to continue trying to end an internal conflict that for more than 50 years has affected the political, social, and economical development of this sister nation’.

The second summit of CELAC was concluded yesterday after exchanges and talks for two days. 29 countries participated under the direction of Chile’s Michelle Bachelet.

Russia celebrates full relations with CELAC, says Melnikov

January 28th

The first vice-president of the Russia’s State Duma (Lower House), Ivan Malnikov, has announced to media that fuller and complementary relations between Russia and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the BRICS grouping were possible.

Speaking with news agency Prensa Latina, Melnikov stressed that the establishment of more effective liaison with these organizations would contribute to the construction of a multipolar and harmonious order.

6 CELAC, he said, was the largest regional group in the Western Hemisphere, with 33 member states while the BRICS grouping, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, brought together otherwise disparate but influential countries with high economic potential, said Melnikov.

Melnikov, also vice president of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the country's second largest political force, told Prensa Latina that the eventual creation of a channel for ongoing dialogue between CELAC and Russia is a natural result of Moscow’s efforts to develop friendly relations with all member nations.

Russia had expressed its willingness to contribute to a greater interaction with the CELAC and the BRICS, he said, but also stressed his approval for developing other ideas — like the large-scale implementation of an agreement on visa exemption for Russian citizens for implementation throughout the Latin American and Caribbean area.

So far 11 countries of the region have established such agreements with the Russian Federation.

Questioned about the future of the inter-parliamentary links to groups like the CELAC, Melnikov assured Prensa Latina that the expansion of relations at the parliamentary level would develop.

Recently, in statements to this agency, Russian foreign minister Serguei Lavrov had stressed the importance of CELAC as a unifying factor as the first organization in the region to bring together all Latin American nations, said Lavrov.

FAO backs CELAC commitment to fight hunger

January 30th

The commitment of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Status (CELAC) to step up efforts to wipe out hunger and poverty was backed today by the director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Jose Graciano da Silva.

The leaders of CELAC had shown their willingness to tackle these major problems, and in backing the sustainable development of their nations, noted Da Silva, who welcomed the final declaration of the Second Summit of CELAC, held on Jan. 28-29 in Havana, Cuba.

Da Silva also praised its intention to reinforce food and nutritional security, education, the holding of land, agricultural development, including family and rural agriculture, as well as to productive development, which is crucial to eradicate hunger, poverty and social exclusion.

In particular, Da Silva welcomed the recognition by CELAC of the role of indigenous peoples and local communities in their nation’s economic, social and environmental development.

He also welcomed the presence in the text of the importance granted to traditional and sustainable agricultural practices linked to biodiversity and the best use of natural resources.

He said that on the occasion of the International Year of Family Agriculture, in 2014, FAO welcomes the expressions of support to the role of family growers worldwide, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the struggle for food security and nutrition.

France stresses importance of CELAC for Europe

January 29th

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC ) is a very important partner for the European Union and will help maintain close and timely dialogue, also marked by a biennial summit in Paris, a spokesman of the French foreign ministry said today.

The foreign ministry spokesman, Romain Nadal, was quoted as saying that France is very interested in the work of this new political forum — ‘an important aspiration of the unity of the region, which claims its emergence in the stability and democracy’.

He recalled that France had welcomed the birth of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States at its inception in 2011.

CELAC and the European Union (EU) held their first summit in Santiago, Chile in January 2013, which was attended by French prime minister Jean Marc Ayrault .

France has made its relations with Latin America one of the priorities of its foreign policy, said Nadal.

Colombia’s Santos optimistic, highlights FARC-EP willingness for peace

January 29th

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said at this year’s CELAC summit he was feeling more optimistic now than a year ago about the outcome of the peace talks with the FARC-EP guerrillas, and thanked Cuba and other countries of the region for their support.

Santos welcomed the declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a peace zone, adopted by the heads of state and government attending CELAC, linking it to the ongoing negotiations in Colombia.

‘We already reached agreement on two of the five points we are discussing in the talks’, an optimistic Santos said in the plenary meeting of the conference.

He admitted that a rough route lay ahead, but said ‘If some one asked today if I feel more optimistic than a year ago at the CELAC held in Santiago de Chile, then I have to say yes — I am more optimistic because I see more willingness from the two parties’.

Santos defined peace as the most important, supreme value in any society, and vowed to continue trying to achieve the objective of ending a conflict that has drained his country and affected the whole region for over 50 years.

He thanked ‘very especially’ all governments and countries for their support to the peace process in Colombia, particularly Cuba, ‘which has been helping us and is now hosting the process’.

He also praised Venezuela and Chile for their contributions saying ‘If we continue like this, I hope in the next summit of CELAC, in Costa Rica, in 2015, we can say that the armed conflict in Colombia is over’.

Cuba calls at UN for obstacles to world peace to be overcome

January 29th

Cuba called today at the United Nations for the obstacles to lasting world peace, — domination, colonialism and social problems — to be overcome It was not enough to desire peace or create agencies and mechanisms trying to implement it; is necessary to eradicate the causes that conspire against it, said Cuba’s deputy permanent representative Oscar Leon, speaking at an open debate of the UN Security Council on peacekeeping.

Leon called for higher priority for the coordination of the efforts of the international community to overcome the dangers posed by the hegemonic and imperialist domination, acts of aggression, plunder of natural resources and colonial and neo-colonial strategies.

‘We must also replace the current unjust and exclusive international order, and find ways to leave behind unequal exchange, discrimination, xenophobia, interventionism and violations of the right to self-determination’, he said.

Regarding social issues, Leon stated that conflict prevention must also involve the elimination of poverty, unemployment, hunger and inequality.

During the debate entitled Maintaining International Peace and Security, Cuba reiterated the importance of respecting the principles of the UN Charter and international law, which stipulate the sovereign equality of states, peaceful settlement of disputes and no use of force.

Peña Nieto reaffirms Mexico-Cuba friendship to Fidel Castro

January 30th

President Enrique Peña Nieto publicly reaffirmed the good state of friendly relations between his country and Cuba after returning from Havana and a meeting with Fidel Castro, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution He had expressed to Fidel Castro his wish to achieve unity among the Latin American and Caribbean countries.

In the conversation, both parties discussed past experiences of the Cuba revolutionary leader in Mexico and the first state visit by Peña Nieto to the Caribbean island.

‘It was my first time in Havana and the opportunity to meet a major historic figure in Latin-American history’, said Nieto, who had travelled to Cuba to participate in the CELAC which, he said had a lot to offer in the bringing together of its member countries and in which Mexico would play its part.

Speaking with Fidel Castro ‘a privilege’ — Correa

January 30th

Speaking with a living legend such as Fidel Castro is always a privilege, said Ecuador's president Rafael Correa, after meeting him in Havana this week.

At a press conference in Quito, just a few hours after returning from CELAC, Correa said that he found Fidel Castro very lucid.

‘We spoke of the attacks that Cuba has suffered all these years, and he told us how the United States had 10 been trying to annex Cuba ever since the days of US president John Quincy Adams, who held that under the "ripe fruit" principle, Cuba ought to fall readily into US hands’, said the Ecuadorian leader.

Correa, who has been leading a ‘citizens revolution’ in Ecuador since 2007, to build what he called 21st century socialism, added that in his meeting with the historical Cuban leader, 87, the two also spoke about history, and about CELAC.

‘When you speak with Fidel, you get the sense that you are speaking with a wise man and it makes me think of those elderly Jesuits, retired after a life filled with service’, said Correa.

More than 50 countries import Cuban pharmaceutical products

January 30th

Cuba has exported its medical-pharmaceutical and biotechnological products to more than 50 countries.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment have released news — published in the Granma state daily newspaper — that in 2013, of 880 items of the country's basic medicines, the sector has produced 580, including eight of the 13 vaccines of the immunization program.

The number of Videocolposcopy produced in the country for early detection of cervical cancer amounted to 121. It displays real-time enlarged images of the uterine tube to detect any malignant or pre-malignant lesion in its initial phases, Granma states.

The application of this technology ensures mass screening programs for the disease, which is the most frequent kind of cancer in Cuba in women from 20 to 59 years old.

Mexican businesspeople head to Cuba on trade mission

February 1st

A delegation of Mexican business representatives from various industries will travel to Cuba in February, along with Economic Secretary Idelfonso Guajardo, to extend trade relations with the island.

The representatives will seek new opportunities to invest in Cuban oil, tourism, metal mechanics, food and agriculture, medical and pharmacological sectors, said Jaime Torres, president of the Mexico-Cuba Business Committee of the Mexican Business Council of Foreign Trade in an interview with the newspaper La Jornada.

According to the executive, the intention was that five owners of large companies would travel with President Enrique Peña Nieto, in the official visit he paid this week to the Caribbean nation, but that plan was cancelled due to his short stay.

He announced that the plan now is to shape a larger, more representative business delegation, to gain a new economic position in Cuba for Mexico.

The date of the Mexican businesspeople's trip has not been decided yet, but Torres considered that it should be immediately, because they are at their peak with Cuba, with which 120 Mexican companies are doing business, some of them for more than 30 years.

Three days ago, during a meeting in Havana, Peña Nieto and Cuban President Raul Castro reiterated their mutual willingness to continue developing trade, especially in the economic-trade and cooperation spheres.


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