The Fifth Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) began on January 24 with a minute of silence in honor of Fidel Castro, “who was a pioneer and firm believer throughout his life of a united Latin America on the path toward progress.”
This, according to the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, during the inauguration ceremony of the Summit’s High Level Segment of Heads of State and Government, which saw the participation of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba.
“CELAC has a great duty, to always look out for the interests of our people,” stated Medina. It is not the time to isolate ourselves and go backwards, but to strengthen our ties in order to advance. We must find Latin American and Caribbean solutions to Latin American and Caribbean problems, he noted.
Medina also recalled José Martí, an essential figure when speaking about Our America. Quoting Martí, the Caribbean leader stated that “Nations that do not know one another should quickly become acquainted, as men who are to fight a common enemy.”
We are going to get to know one another, to unite, to struggle together, with the pride of our Founding Fathers; we are going to fight for this Great Homeland that our ancestors dreamed of, and our children deserve, stated Danilo Medina.
Army General Raúl Castro Ruz was the first leader to arrive to the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana International Airport on January 24, there to participate in the 5th CELAC Summit taking place today January 25, in the Barceló Bávaro Convention Center.
Speaking before the press gathered there, Raúl greeted the Dominican people, after being received by Hugo Rivera Fernández, the country’s deputy minister of Foreign Relations, who noted that it was an honor to have the Cuban President in the country, whose presence will no doubt strengthen the historic ties of friendship among all Latin American and Caribbean countries.
“Cuba’s participation in this CELAC meeting, where all the peoples of Latin American and the Caribbean are united, is of the utmost importance. CELAC is an body for dialogue between our peoples,” stated Rivera Fernández speaking to the Cuban press.
The Cuban delegation also features the island’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, deputy ministers Abelardo Moreno and Rogelio Sierra, as well as Cuban Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Carlos de la Nuez.
Cuba is attending the Summit with the certainty that the event represents a new opportunity to continue working to solidify policies, unity and Latin American and Caribbean integration for the benefit of our peoples.
Also held on January 24, was the Foreign Ministers Meeting, inaugurated by Dominican Foreign Minister, Miguel Vargas, who thanked member states for the valuable support offered his country during its time as President Pro Tempore.
“We have taken a step forward in consolidating CELAC as the voice of our region, as the interlocutor par excellence of Latin America and the Caribbean before the most important actors of the international community,” stated the Dominican Minister.
According to the official Summit program, today, Wednesday 25, will see speeches by heads of delegations attending the important event; the adoption of the Punta Cana Political Declaration; the 2017 CELAC Action Plan; and special declarations regarding issues of common interest to our peoples. Finally, El Salvador will assume the bloc’s Presidency Pro Tempore, in a ceremony that will also take place today.