Today, 8th December, CARICOM and Cuba commemorate CARICOM-Cuba Day. This annual celebration was first inaugurated on the same day in 2002 in Havana, Cuba –in recognition of 30 years since Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago established diplomatic ties with Cuba, which was at the time an international pariah. Along with Mexico, these countries were the only countries in the Western Hemisphere to maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba. The agreements signed by the four Caribbean countries were adopted in turn by the OECS countries after they became independent. These were historic acts. Cuba has never forgotten the acts of solidarity, and courage, which the countries displayed then.
Many years on, the bilateral relationship between Member States and Cuba as well as with CARICOM as a bloc has grown in depth and breadth, spanning cooperation in agriculture, education, energy, and health.
Last year, at the 8th CARICOM-Cuba Summit held in Barbados, CARICOM and Cuba celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Key decisions made then included an invitation to Cuba to join the Ministerial Task Force on Agriculture where in a mutually beneficial arrangement Cuba will share technological knowledge, while Cuba will have a steadier flow of food items through the establishment of a food terminal. Further, Cuba promised to increase its offer of scholarships and medical cooperation in the health sector to CARICOM States including emphasis on non-communicable diseases, particularly diabetes.
On November 2nd, 2023, CARICOM countries once again supported the UN General Assembly Resolution the “necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” and reiterated the call to end this practice which continues to prolong the hardships of Cubans both inside and outside of Cuba.
Saint Kitts and Nevis has enjoyed diplomatic relations since 1995. The makeup of personnel throughout our health institutions and the solidarity we continue to demonstrate for Cuba in the global sphere bear testimony to the strong fraternity and bond between both our countries.
For the 2024 academic year, Cuba offered twenty (20) scholarship to Saint Kitts and Nevis in the following categories: seven (7) in Medicine, seven (7) in Nursing, Four (4) for Postgraduate Medicine (only for graduates from Cuba), one (1) for Health Technology and one for non-medical careers.
Saint Kitts and Nevis joins its fellow CARICOM Member States and Cuba in celebrating CARICOM CUBA Day, but more importantly, the long-standing and thriving friendship between both sides.
Long live CARICOM and Cuba relations!