Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has described as “bold’, the announcement by the United States to normalize relations with Cuba.
The Grenada leader made the disclosure Thursday evening at the 42nd anniversary celebrations of the Cuba/Caricom Relations, at the Grenada Trade Center in Grand Anse St George.
“I honestly believe that the decision of President Obama is a bold one; and it think he needs to be given a lot of credit”, he said to a lusty round of applause.
“I expect and I think you have seen it already that there are elements who simply do not understand that when something isn’t working, it just isn’t working, never worked and will never work”, he added.
There was added jubilation and good will at the occasion, following the announcement on Wednesday by US President Barack Obama that the United States will be moving to normalize relations with Cuba.
It was indeed heartening news for Prime Minister Mitchell, who praised the work of former regional Prime Ministers including Guyana’s Forbes Burnham, Jamaica’s PJ Patterson and Grenada’s Maurice Bishop for the tremendous work they did in the 1970’s to bring Cuba back into the international fold.
“I honestly believe, sisters and brothers, that we have to give the founding fathers of the development of relationship between Cuba and Caricom a lot of credit, because I believe the unrelenting support of the entire Caricom Region’s leadership and people, must have been a major factor in the decision announced yesterday by the United States government.”
He indicated that he himself pleaded with former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr towards the end of the 1990s, to lift the economic embargo against Cuba.
The Grenada leader, who continued his calls for the lifting of the economic embargo against Cuba last week at the seventh Cuba/Caricom Summit in Havana, said that he was nonetheless stunned at the announcement coming at this time.
“I did not expect that such an announcement that was so long awaited for many years. I could not believe; so I had to take some time to digest what was happening”, he said as he followed the breaking news on television.
The news was also welcoming for Cuban Ambassador to Grenada Her Excellency Maria Caridad Belaguer Labrada, who commended Prime Minister Mitchell and the people of Grenada for the strong support rendered over the years.
She said that the Cuban people are delighted with the good news coming from the United States and looks forward to a quick lifting of the economic embargo. She also quoted excerpts of President Raul Castro’s response.
“Cuba reiterates its willingness to corporate with multilateral bodies such as the United Nations. While acknowledging our profound difference in interest related to national sovereignty, democracy, human rights and foreign policy, I pledge our willingness to dialogue on all these issues. I call upon the government of the United States to remove the obstacles hindering or restricting ties between peoples, families and citizens of both countries, particularly restrictions on travelling, direct post services and telecommunications.”
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