Dominica’s PM Skerrit on official visit to Cuba

Roseau – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit leaves here on Monday at the head of a five-member delegation for an official visit to Cuba.

Skerrit will receive the Order of Jose Marti named after the Cuban national hero, who became the symbol of Cuba’s struggle for independence, during his two-day visit and will hold talks with President Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez.

“I have been invited by the President of Cuba to pay an official visit to Cuba from the 26th to the 27th of April. As you know, we have very strong bilateral relations with Cuba,” Skerrit said, noting that the Caribbean country has been a “steadfast friend and supporters of our efforts in Dominica”.

He said Havana had provided significant assistance to the island’s health and education sectors, noting that the majority of doctors here are Cuban trained.

“Had it not been for that kind of opportunity . . . many of them would not have been able to go to medical school . . . and of course with the medical professionals from Cuba . . . without them the health care system would not have been able to sustain itself, especially during the challenging times . . . of the COVID pandemic.

“Our friendship with Cuba is not based on what we receive from Cuba. This is not how we conduct our foreign policy. It is a mutually beneficial relationship, we respect the sovereignty of Cuba, we respect their right to self-determination and we will always continue as a matter of principle to call on the United States to remove the economic blockade on Cuba,” Skerrit said.

The United States embargo against Cuba prevents American businesses, and businesses organized under US law or majority-owned by American citizens, from conducting trade with Cuban interests. It is the most enduring trade embargo in modern history.

Washington maintains the comprehensive economic embargo on the Cuba in place since 1962, when President John F. Kennedy proclaimed an embargo on trade between the two countries in response to certain actions taken by the Cuban government, and directed the Departments of Commerce and the Treasury to implement the embargo, which still remains in place. (CMC)

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