Havana, May 8 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has called Tuesday for regional integration when addressing the opening of the 37th session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Havana.
‘There is no other option but to advance regional integration and development with equity’, said the newly elected president during the opening day of the forum that will take place at Havana Convention Center until Friday. Cuba is taking over the pro-tempore presidency for two years of the UN agency founded in 1948.
In his speech, he highlighted that ECLAC has been for decades a benchmark of economic and social knowledge, contributing to placing equity at the center of development.
According to Diaz-Canel, the study made by the Commission of the structural causes that make Latin America the most unequal region of the planet is also worth taking into account.
It is inequality associated with the colonial past of our nations, which affects in particular the native peoples, people of African descent, girls and women, he warned.
He also pointed out that such an adverse scenario derives from the impact of imperialism, neoliberalism and the macroeconomic policies that for decades favored the transnationals, deepening class differences and discrimination.
The Cuban president reiterated Cuba’s commitment to push forward ECLAC’s efforts aimed at assisting the most vulnerable people and to continue fostering development from the prospects of social justice and equal opportunities.
Before Diaz-Canel’s speech, Mexican representative Francisco Guzman said Mexico that handed over ECLAC’s presidency to Cuba will support the island’s work during its term. The agency has 45 member States and 13 associated States. Cuba was a founding member of the Commission and hosted the forum’s 2nd session in 1949. Speakers so far at this new period of sessions have called on the region to address priorities such as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the fight against inequality and the promotion of South-South cooperation.
ECLAC is one of the five regional commissions of the UN with its headquarters in Santiago de Chile. Its objective is to contribute to the economic development of Latin America and the Caribbean, coordinate actions aimed at its promotion and strengthen relations between countries and with the rest of the world.