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Cuba urges integration in Latin America free of US

 
 
 
 
 
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A large screen shows Cuba’s President Raul Castro speaking at the opening ceremony of the CELAC Summit in Havana, Cuba on January 28, 2014.

Cuban President Raul Castro has urged cooperation between Latin American and Caribbean nations without the involvement of the United States.

“We should establish a new regional and international cooperation paradigm,” Castro said in Havana on Tuesday in his keynote speech as the head of the host nation for the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC.

CELAC was created on December 3, 2011 in Venezuela’s capital Caracas by the country’s late leader Hugo Chavez to fight US influence in the region.

CELAC consists of 33 countries in the Americas and represents nearly 600 million people. It was believed to be an alternative to the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS), founded in 1948, which had allegedly served Washington’s interests rather than those of the region.

The summit is centered on fighting poverty, inequality and hunger. According to the data released by the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, 28.2 percent of the region’s residents live in poverty and 11.3 percent in extreme poverty.

“In the context of CELAC, we have the possibility to create a model of our own making, adapted to our realities, based on the principles of mutual benefit,” Castro said.

He also censured US economic policies in the region.

“The so-called centers of power do not resign themselves to having lost control over this rich region, nor will they ever renounce attempts to change the course of history in our countries in order to recover the influence they have lost and benefit from their resources,” Castro stated.

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