Cuba joins hand with Latin America for regional integration

December 17th, 2008 - 2:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Sauipe Coast (Brazil), Dec 17 (Prensa Latina) Cuba has officially joined as a full-fledged member of the Rio Group, a consultative mechanism for Latin American integration, ending 50 years of isolation after it was driven out by the US from the Organisation of American States (OAS).In an extraordinary meeting held on the sideline of first summit of the Latin American and Caribbean countries Tuesday at this seaside resort, the group announced the entry of the island country into Latin America’s only consultative body aiming at regional integration, EFE reported Wednesday.

Cuban President Raul Castro, who was attending the summit, said it was necessary for Latin America and the Caribbean to gradually move from words to deeds to undo “global colonization” and achieve solidarity.

“Latin America has the resources, the technological advances and a so far little-used scientific potential which it can turn to the process of integration,” he said.

The president said that one of the priorities of the current integration process must be the search for a regional response to the world economic situation.

In his welcome note Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said all Latin American integration schemes, such as the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), the Andean Community, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the Central American Integration System “are welcoming Cuba, with open arms”.

Cuba was expelled from the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1962, on US insistence on the grounds that its political system was “incompatible” with the inter-American system.

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