The People’s Power Minister for Foreign Relations, Jorge Arreaza, urged this Thursday to review the work plan and recalibrate the cooperation of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) to adapt its characteristics to the new realities, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequences of climate change.
“This (work) plan must be reformatted in some way and, in some cases, we will have to re-found the cooperation modalities that we have traditionally developed, because world circumstances require it”, said the Venezuelan Foreign Minister during his telematic participation in the XXVI Ordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the ACS, in which the Dominican Republic handed over the pro tempore presidency to Mexico.
Minister Arreaza justified his recommendation on the fact that the Greater Caribbean region has been clearly vulnerable due to the pandemic crisis, the economic recession exacerbated by it, the pressure on tourism activity on which many island states depend and the natural disasters generated by volcanoes and hurricanes, in addition to climate change and the risks it represents for the entire Caribbean region.
Likewise, he observed that the vaccination process of the Caribbean people against COVID-19 has been uneven and considered that the ACS must undertake a great effort to make it equitable, especially for those who need it most.
“Fortunately, we have Cuba, with its scientific capabilities, with its vaccine candidates, some of which are already approved as vaccines. In Venezuela we are also going to produce Cuban vaccines and they will be at the service of the people of the Caribbean”.
In addition, he reiterated that like Cuba, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been, even in times of pandemic, attacked with unilateral coercive measures, with an economic and financial blockade, with resources withheld abroad, which has made it difficult for the State to import supplies and vaccines to attend the new coronavirus pandemic, but nevertheless it has given the battle to keep the situation under control, when compared to other nations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Foreign Minister emphasized that the coercive measures and the blockade have also affected Venezuela’s cooperation with the Caribbean, as is the case with Petrocaribe, which was a great Venezuelan initiative that “had effects on education, infrastructure, tourism, and in the production of many of the States in the region, especially the eastern Caribbean”.
He affirmed that the Venezuelan State makes every effort to recover the production of oil and derived products, and to put Petrocaribe back at the command of the Caribbean countries, so that they can invest in social projects in sensitive and vulnerable areas.
As a founding member country of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) and as its Executive Secretary Sacha Llorenti did in a recent meeting with the Secretary General of the ACS, the Head of the Venezuelan diplomacy made the health care and disaster policy initiatives, as well as the vaccine bank of the regional bloc, available to the Association in order to cooperate and coordinate joint actions, as 8 of the 9 countries of the ALBA-TCP, also belong to the ACS.