Raul Castro Says Sovereignty, Solidarity Key to Development

Havana, Jan 28 (Prensa Latina) – President of Cuba Raul Castro pointed out today that sovereignty over natural resources and new forms of cooperation as key to development of the countries belonging to the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC). Opening the Second CELAC Summit, Raul Castro considered that the periods of high prices for natural resources have not translated into long-term processes of economic development, in order to reduce poverty and raise the per capita income of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“To achieve that we must have full sovereignty over natural resources and implement adequate policies in relations with foreign investment and transnationals, operating in the CELAC member countries,” he pointed out.

Regarding education, the region faces significant gaps, he asserted, highlighting that illiteracy still prevails in terms of access and quality.

He emphasized that regional progress has been made in the primary education sector, although the situation is more serious in secondary education and complex at the university level.

“We have the possibilities, resources and methodologies to banish illiteracy from Latin America and the Caribbean,” he assured.

He reaffirmed that political will is necessary and that Latin American and Caribbean peoples must have access to education without exceptions or inequalities.

“Anything we want to do will be impossible if we do not have educated and cultured people,” he added.

He commented that there is the possibility of building an appropriate economic model adapted to our realities, based on common benefit and solidarity, that take into account the best practices developed by the countries of the region and other integration organizations.

“It is a moral obligation of the international community and our countries to contribute to the full development of Haiti,” he remarked affirming that the Caribbean islands’ States merit special attention due to the devastating impact of the economic crisis and natural disasters.

Another important aspect for CELAC is to work on the preparation of an agenda for development after 2015, noted the Cuban President.

CELAC representatives will meet today and tomorrow during the Second Summit, where they are expected to approve about thirty documents, a 2014 Action Plan and the Declaration of Havana, tackling issues related to the struggle against poverty, starvation and inequality.