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PM Briceno Tells President Joe Biden to Lift Blockade on Cuba

Prime Minister John Briceno told US President Joe Biden today that it is inexcusable and incomprehensible that not ALL countries in the Americas were invited to the Ninth Summit of the Americas. Cuba is one of those countries and PM Briceno told President Biden that the time has come to lift the blockade and strengthen international cooperation. This is what Briceno said during his presentation this evening in the “City of Angels”, Los Angeles. The Prime Minister went on to say that Venezuela’s absence is unforgivable. He told regional leaders that the Americas is defined by geography, not politics. 

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “The power of the Summit of the Americas is the space it provides for all the countries of the Americas to dialogue and agree on joint actions. The summit belongs to all of the Americas. It is therefore inexcusable that all countries of the Americas are not here and the power of the summit diminished by their absence. It is incomprehensible that we would isolate countries of the Americas which have provided strong leadership and contributed to the hemisphere on the critical issues of our times. Cuba has provided consistent, unmatched cooperation in health to almost two thirds of the countries in this hemisphere including Belize. The illegal blockade against Cuba is an affront to humanity in fact it is unAmerican. The time has come Mr.President to lift the blockade and to build bonds of friendship with the people of Cuba. Similarly Venezuela has done so much towards energy security for the Caribbean region through it’s innovative financing programs. Venezuela’s absence is unforgivable. Excellencies, at this most critical juncture when the future of our hemisphere is at stake we stand divided and that is why the Summit of the Americas should have been inclusive. Geography not politics defines the Americas. The Belizean people, like people across Latin America and the Caribbean are weathering successive and simultaneous crises. Caribbean economies are in a precarious place because of our inherent vulnerabilities to external shocks including exposure to climate change and devastating storms. But the pandemic and now the effects because of the war in Ukraine have further battered our economies.”

During his eleven-minute speech, PM Briceno urged regional leaders to implement practical innovative measures to deal with the several crisis that the region is facing. 

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “We will continue to postpone the urgent action needed to reduce emissions, finance adaptation and migration and protect the most vulnerable countries and populations from the impact climate change ?  We cannot. Will we implement practical and innovative measures to alleviate the crushing debt crisis ? We must. Will we ensure that the socio economic devastation including the sharp rise in poverty, hunger and education loss caused by the pandemic do not result in a lost decade for the Americas with more irregular migration and insecurity ? We can. Will we allow ourselves to be divided by failed cold war paradigms or will we meet the profound challenge sunited and with a common purpose ? We will. These are the question which underpin the theme of this 9th Summit of the Americas. Building a sustainable, resilient and equitable future. How we respond to these questions will design our destiny. As we seek solutions we know that money is not the problem. For example in less than three months two countries in this hemisphere committed over $55 billion dollars to Ukraine. The question is how much will be pledged to finance the ambitious agendas we agree at this summit ? The future of the western hemisphere is a responsibility for all the countries of this hemisphere. Irrespective of our size, our GDP, our system of governance we all have a shared interest in a sustainable, resilient and equitable future.”