As the Donald Trump presidency enters its second month in power in the United States, the Association of Caribbean States, ACS, warned of a wave of exclusionary politics and rising nationalism at the 22nd Ordinary Meeting of the ACS Ministerial Council Friday, held this year in Havana, Cuba.
Her Excellency Ambassador Dr. June Soomer, who made history last year by becoming the first female secretary general of the bloc, began her address by expressing condolence to the nation of Haiti over the death of former president Rene Preval, whom she described as a "great son of the Caribbean."
Soomer then directed her speech at what she called "seismic geopolitical shifts" that threaten to negatively affect the region, which she emphasized "must be prepared for the re-positioning that these shifts will necessarily imply."
"As soundings from around the world challenge our principles, and north and south confront common challenges ranging from climate change to transnational terror; as multilateralism retreats... and a myopic nationalism tinged with mercantilism asserts itself; as trade and economic stagnation continue to threaten small and large economies alike, the varied membership of the Association of Caribbean States must regroup, strategize and advance," she told the ACS summit.
"The excluding and repressive migration policies announced by countries of destination, ... as well as the implementation of extremely protectionist trade measures, are real challenges." - Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez | Source: Reuters
"We are not going to resign ourselves to what others in the world dictate. We are not a mediocre region, we are one of excellence and peace." she added.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez also aimed strong remarks at the U.S. president, calling for "unity, solidarity and cooperation" in "the face of the walls intended to be built."
"The excluding and repressive migration policies announced by countries of destination, ... as well as the implementation of extremely protectionist trade measures, are real challenges for our sub-region," he added.
The comments come days after U.S. President Donald Trump signed a revised executive order that bans the entry of citizens from six Muslim-majority nations — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — into the United States for 90 days. Iraq has been removed from the original list issued in January.
The 22nd Ordinary Meeting brought together representatives from over 100 member countries and observers including Cuba, Venezuela, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti and Colombia, with the aim of improving tourism, trade, economic relations, and political cooperation on a range of issues, including security across the region.