CARICOM welcomes Cuba moves

GEORGETOWN, Guyana_Caribbean trade bloc governments which had as far back as 1972 defied the United States and had established diplomatic relations with Cuba Wednesday openly welcomed moves by the U.S. to improve relations with the communist-ruled island saying such is long overdue.

“Today’s announcement signals the beginning of a new era in our hemisphere and demonstrates the value of dialogue as a means of settling differences. The community commends Presidents Obama and Castro for their bold initiative,” the bloc said in a statement issued by its Guyana-based headquarters.

CARICOM’s reaction came exactly nine days after regional leaders had flown to Cuba to participate in the triennial summit between the two sides in Havana where they had again called on the U.S. to normalize relations and lift the decades-old economic embargo.

“Both Cuba and the United States have played major roles in assisting the development efforts of our member states and we look forward to working together with them as they move forward in building their relationship.

The bloc said that while CARICOM welcomes this positive development, the community said it looks forward to further steps being taken with despatch towards the lifting of the economic, trade and financial embargo.

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