The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, presided over the delegation of her government and was the keynote speaker at the reception organized by the Cuban Embassy, which was the culmination of a week of activities to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations. The Cuban Ambassador, Francisco Fernández, highlighted the presence of a delegation from Cuba headed by the Member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Party, Dr. José Ramón Balaguer, accompanied by Idalmis Brooks, from the Department of International Relations, due to the relevance accorded to the occasion, which also commemorates 45 years of relations with CARICOM.
In her speech, the Foreign Minister courageous exercise of sovereignty of the first four independent countries of CARICOM, who decided to break the policy of isolation prevailing in the region in the decade of the 70s of the last century. For Barbados that decision was consistent with one of the fundamental principles of its foreign policy of being a friend of all and satellite of no one, thought expressed by Prime Minister Errol Barrow, the father of independence. By highlighting several relevant actions of her government in various spheres, particularly sports and cultural cooperation, he said he was convinced of the positive direction that bilateral relations continue to have, ranging from solidarity and political agreement to economic-commercial ties. Finally, she highlighted Cuba's generosity with the Caribbean, which recently became evident again in the contribution to several islands affected by natural disasters, even though their territory was also seriously affected.
The Ambassador highlighted the historic decision taken by the visionary Caribbean leaders, who showed the world the new way of doing foreign policy of CARICOM, which was characterized by Fidel as brave, independent and concerted. He mentioned several events in various historical stages that demonstrate the Cuban connection with Barbados and the Caribbean through the common past of slavery and colonialism, through the independence struggles to the present and the challenges that the subregion faces and that require greater integration.
He also mentioned the excellent political agreement in bilateral, regional and multilateral matters, thanking the unwavering Barbadian support for the struggle for the unconditional lifting of the US blockade. He alluded to the results obtained by the Cuban sports mission in Barbados in recent years, with whose contribution numerous medals have been obtained in national, Caribbean and Commonwealth tournaments, mainly in boxing, volleyball and cycling.
Finally, highlighting that in the week of celebrations there was an excellent cultural gala and that the II Colloquium on Fidel's Legacy was held at the UWI Cave Hill Campus, the Ambassador acknowledged the presence of several cabinet ministers, members of Parliament, representatives of the diplomatic and consular corps accredited and of the regional agencies of CARICOM and the UN resident in the country, as well as businessmen, members of the UWI and of course the civil society organizations that make up the solidarity movement with Cuba and of the Association of Cuban Residents in Barbados as well.