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– Raul Castro pushes for greater integrationCuba’s Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque talks with Cuban President Raul Castro at the opening of the third CARICOM-Cuba Summit. With the world facing financial and energy crises, which are to be blamed on “failed neoliberal policies” of wealthy countries, Cuban President Raul Castro says, commitments between the regional integration bloc CARICOM and Cuba now take on additional relevance.He was speaking at the opening of the third Cuba-CARICOM Summit in Santiago de Cuba on Monday. President Bharrat Jagdeo attended the summit, which ended yesterday.Caribbean leaders,Cheap Jerseys Wholesale, for their part, are backing calls for an end to the U.S. trade embargo.“The Caribbean Community hopes that the transformational change that is underway in the United States finally relegates that measure to history,” Baldwin Spencer, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, said. Spencer is the current Chairman of CARICOM.“The projects (CARICOM and Cuba) have fostered, and that we intend to continue strengthening, are not based on the rules of neoliberalism, which is collapsing today like a house of cards.“They are not aimed at taking a comparative advantage or maximising profits, but rather at promoting development, justice, equity and the welfare of human beings,” the Cuban leader declared.Leaders of the 15-nation CARICOM discussed the global financial,Wholesale NBA Jerseys, food, energy and environmental crises and their impacts on the region.“As we proceed with every project and programme – with the exchange of skilled personnel and the transfer of technology, with the training of health professionals or the offering of health services – we are closer to the integrated region it is our intention to build,” Castro said.He said that the way was open for greater integration between the Caribbean and the whole of South America “without relinquishing our national or Caribbean features.”For Raul Castro, who was handed the presidency by his brother,NFL Jerseys Supply, Fidel, early this year, the Caribbean leaders were in Cuba at a complex time. Of recent, Cuba has battled the “genocidal” economic blockade imposed by the U.S.,Wholesale Jerseys, together with the world economic crisis and the devastating consequences of three hurricanes which hit the Communist-run island two months ago.However, he said, these difficulties were not enough to make Cuba renounce its commitment “to our sister nations.”But he, nevertheless, warned that, “The reckless disaster caused by speculation, individualism and greed will hurt the Caribbean economies.”The energy sector raises other challenges for Caribbean countries, said Mr Castro, who called on countries to “save as much oil as possible while simultaneously looking for clean and renewable sources”.He blamed the energy crisis on the “unsustainable consumerist and squandering model imposed by the rich countries.”“Despite the present conditions,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale, these elements enable us to have confidence in the continuity and the strength of our bonds,Wholesale Jerseys, and in the possibility to continue developing our cooperation as an essential component of Caribbean integration.”President-elect, Barack Obama of the United States, will be sworn into office on January 20. He has said he would ease travel restrictions on Americans wishing to visit their relatives in Cuba, or to send money back home.CARICOM leaders were  expected to bestow an honorary leadership post on 82-year-old Fidel Castro, making Cuba’s ailing ex-President the first official of a nonmember country to receive such a designation.“Today we pay tribute to a man who was a source of great inspiration,” said Secretary General Edwin Carrington. “He has been a true Caribbean citizen.”
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