Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, has welcomed a delegation of Cuban officials to discuss bilateral exchanges in the area of culture.
“It is my understanding that there have been fruitful bilateral exchanges with specific local ministries and agencies, and the engagement has successfully promoted greater levels of technical and economic cooperation between Jamaica and Cuba,” she said.
The Minister was speaking at a reception on January 18 at the residence of the Cuban Ambassador, in Kingston, to celebrate the 59th anniversary of the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution (National Day).
Members of the delegation, headed by the Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Cuba, Her Excellency Maria Elena Salgado, were at the function.
Senator Johnson Smith said the visit will bring the two countries “a step closer to fulfilling that unwavering Caribbean dream of unity, community and cultural synthesis”.
She praised Cuba’s contribution to disaster relief in the Caribbean, and the support Jamaica and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) received after two hurricanes last year.
The Minister recalled that Cuba sent more than 750 health workers to several islands ravaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, even though the country had been affected by the two storms.
“We, therefore, commend the Government and the people of Cuba on their solidarity with CARICOM and on their boundless resilience, notwithstanding the economic hardship encountered through the financial and trade embargo imposed on it since 1962,” she said.
In the spirit of solidarity, she said the Jamaican Parliament last year unanimously approved a Motion calling on the United States to lift the embargo.
“This Motion, which is tabled annually in the Houses of Parliament, is meant to support the Resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) entitled, ‘Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba’,” the Minister added.
In her remarks, newly appointed Ambassador of Cuba to Jamaica, Her Excellency Inés Fors Fernández, commended the Jamaican Government for its continued support for the lifting of the long-standing economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.
She expressed the hope that the relationship between the two countries will deepen over the coming years.
“We remain committed to the prevailing friendship and to work together to advance our bilateral trade, to strengthen cooperation, to address negative effects of climate change and to promote sustainable development of our two countries,” the Minister said.