Saturday, December 8, will mark 40 years of unbroken diplomatic relations between Barbados and Cuba, and on that day, Barbados will join other countries in the region in observing CARICOM-Cuba Day.

A release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade stated: "The Government and people of Barbados are proud to commemorate the establishment of diplomatic relations between CARICOM and Cuba in 1972.?? We join the people of the Community in celebrating 40 years of relations with Cuba on CARICOM-Cuba Day."

Further outlining that Barbados, along with Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, had signed the Agreement to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba on December 12, 1972, the release noted that in 2002, the Heads of State and Government of CARICOM and the Republic of Cuba declared December 8 as CARICOM-Cuba Day.

According to the release, the signing of the agreement by Barbados symbolised "a very bold display of foreign policy by a newly independent state".

It said that the nations were "thrust together by geopolitical realities and common regional and global challenges [which are maintained] by mutual respect for the right to self-determination and to the development of a model of their choosing."

Describing the relationship between CARICOM and Cuba as "mature", it added that structured political dialogue facilitated collaboration on matters of regional and global significance, and technical cooperation for development.

Moreover, the release stated: "CARICOM and Cuba are committed to working together to achieve agreed goals of development, such as the protection and conservation of the Caribbean Sea, and common patrimony of the wider Caribbean region.??

They are also advocates on issues such as climate change, the fight against HIV and AIDS in the region, illicit drug trafficking, transnational crime and international terrorism.

Barbados benefits from technical cooperation from Cuba in health, sports, education, culture and agriculture.?? Cuba continues to provide assistance despite a longstanding economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed on the Spanish-speaking island by the United States of America.??

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