(RTTNews) - Communist Cuba has become a full-fledged member of the Rio Group--the only political grouping for the region of Latin American and Caribbean countries--media reports said.
A Mexican Foreign Ministry official announced Thursday at a meeting of the body's foreign ministers in Zacatecas, central Mexico, attended by Cuba's Vice Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno, that Cuba has joined the Rio Group as a member with full rights.
Moreno confirmed that Cuba would join the 22 member-states of the Rio Group, created in 1986, and said that his government would shortly release a statement.
At the group's 27th meeting in Mexico, the members took into account "expressions of interest from Cuba" and a positive evaluation of dialogue, consultations and political agreement. The group's current president sought ways to reduce the impact of the world financial crisis on the bloc.
Samuel Lewis, Panama's foreign minister, said Cuba's entry reinforces the Rio Group at a time when the international dynamic requires regional approaches that can count on the support of everyone.
11-14-2008 10:00 a.m.
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba is celebrating its entry into the Rio Group of Latin American nations as an example of futile U.S. efforts to isolate the island nation.
Cuba became a full Rio Group member at a foreign ministers meeting this week in Zacatecas, Mexico. Now it says it will work to get other Caribbean nations to join.
Cuba thanked the member countries for their support in an editorial published Friday in the Communist Party daily Granma.
The United States has tried to isolate and undermine Cuba's communist government since the early 1960s and maintains strict trade and travel restrictions against the island. But this policy also isolates the United States, which was one of only three countries to vote against a U.N. General Assembly resolution condeming the embargo last month.
Cuba joins Rio Group
• Foreign ministers meeting in Zacatecas agree to consider Cuba as a full member
THE 27th Ministerial Meeting of the Permanent Mechanism for Consultation and Political Coordination (Río Group) has taken place in Zacatecas, Mexico, during which the foreign ministers agreed in a communiqué that they will consider Cuba a full member of the group from today.
According to that document, the members are convinced that the inclusion of Cuba "…will be a central element in strengthening the Río Group and will enrich its diverse and plural nature and project its pronouncements with renewed authority."
That refers to the natural inclusion of Cuba in a mechanism that genuinely belongs to Latin America and the Caribbean, with no extra-regional presence, and constitutes another symbol of changes taking place on the continent and the failure of the U.S. policy – now a solitary one – of isolating Cuba.
Over the last few years and at diverse events, numerous member countries of the Río Group have reiterated their willingness for Cuba to join the group.
They insisted on the idea that Cuba’s membership was required and necessary in order to compensate for its absence during earlier times, and thus completing the Group – as a Latin American and Caribbean organization – in its inclusive and representative projection throughout the region.
The Río Group was founded in December 1986, derived from the Accountancy Group and Support Group, related to the search for peace in Central America. It has held 20 summits and has opened up it membership on four occasions to all of the Latin American and the majority of the Caribbean nations, with the exception of Cuba.
Translated by Granma International