Foto Ricardo Stuckert/PR

At a historic summit of the Caribbean Community, the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, reinforced his administration’s commitment to regional integration and international cooperation, highlighting the importance of the strategic partnership between Brazil and Caribbean countries. The event, which brought together leaders from across the region, served as a stage for strengthening ties and defining a common agenda to face shared challenges.

Lula landed, this Wednesday (28), in Georgetown, capital of Guyana, where he participated, as a special guest, in the closing of the 46th Summit of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom). This Thursday (29), Lula will also meet with the head of government of the neighboring country, Nicolás Maduro, when he must address the crisis between Guyana and Venezuela over the territory of Essequibo, disputed by both countries.

Caricom is made up of 15 countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. It is one of the oldest integration blocs in the developing world, with a combined GDP of $120 billion and a population of 19 million people.

In his speech, President Lula highlighted the paradigm shift in Brazilian foreign policy since taking office in 2003. He emphasized the commitment to prioritize relations with countries in South America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, breaking with a tradition of looking predominantly at colonizing countries and more economically developed nations.

“When I became president of Brazil in 2003, I discovered that we had a limited vision of our international policies. We lived with our backs to our neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean. We decided to change this and prioritize our relationships with our brothers and sisters in this region”, stated the president during his intervention.

Lula highlighted the efforts undertaken to strengthen diplomatic and commercial ties with Caricom countries, reopen embassies in Caribbean nations and expand the Brazilian presence in the region. He also announced technical cooperation and investment initiatives to boost the socioeconomic development of member countries.

“Paving” integration

Furthermore, the president highlighted the importance of expanding connections and integration routes between countries in the region, highlighting the Guyanese shield route as a priority for his government. He emphasized the need to strengthen trade and transport ties to boost economic development and food security in the Caribbean region.

“We want to literally pave our way to the Caribbean. We will open corridors capable of meeting supply demands and strengthening food security in the region. Our objective is to promote public policies and mobilize resources to face challenges such as food insecurity and climate change, which directly affect our Caribbean brothers and sisters”, stated the president.

Another point highlighted by the president was the need to strengthen integrated disaster risk management, especially in the face of extreme weather events affecting the Caribbean region. Brazil has committed to supporting the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency’s regional response mechanism, aiming to improve the capacity to respond to crises and natural disasters.

Discussions during the event involved topics such as sustainable development, food and nutritional security. In his speech, Lula addressed common themes on Brazil’s agenda, which this year presides over the G20 – a group of 19 richest countries in the world, in addition to the European Union and the African Union. Brazilian priorities in the mandate are social inclusion and the fight against inequality, hunger and poverty, tackling climate change, with a focus on energy transition, promoting sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions and reform of global governance institutions, which reflects the geopolitics of the present.

In addition to proposing the opening of corridors, the president invited Caricom countries to join the Global Alliance to Combat Hunger and Poverty, an initiative that will be launched during the Brazilian presidency of the G20. He highlighted the importance of promoting public policies and mobilizing resources to face these challenges, aiming to guarantee universal access to food and reduce poverty in the region.

“It is critical that we work together to overcome the challenges we face, such as food insecurity and climate change. These problems have the same root: inequality. Therefore, the fight against inequality in the world is also the fight of the Caribbean populations”, stated the president during his speech.

Peace and global governance

Furthermore, Lula highlighted the importance of joint action to promote world peace and combat the waste of resources on armaments. He emphasized the need for reforms in international financial institutions to make them more inclusive and effective in promoting sustainable development.

Furthermore, the president highlighted the importance of cooperation between Brazil and Caricom in international forums, such as the UN General Assembly and the G20, where both share convergent positions on key issues, such as the need to expand resources available to countries development and promote fairer global governance.

Lula highlighted the special bond between Brazil and Haiti, represented by the approximately 200,000 Haitians who live in Brazil. He also announced cooperation initiatives, such as training offered to the Haitian National Police and the opening of a professional training center for young Haitians, in the south of the country, with an investment of 17 million dollars.

“The security crisis will only be resolved with the advancement of the political process. We have a special connection with Haiti, and we are committed to supporting the development and strengthening the institutions of this sister country. Caricom is a fundamental partner for Brazil and an indispensable part of our vision of regional integration and international cooperation”, concluded the president.

President Lula’s participation in the Caricom summit was enthusiastically received by the region’s leaders, who highlighted the importance of closer cooperation with Brazil in a variety of areas, from trade to food security and combating climate change.

The historic meeting between Brazil and the Caribbean countries marks a new chapter in hemispheric relations, with a mutual commitment to strengthening ties of solidarity and cooperation to face the challenges of the 21st century.

Rational and stable voice

Before the speech given at Caricom, the Brazilian president had a work schedule scheduled with Irfaan Ali and the president of Suriname, Chan Santokhi, to discuss topics of trilateral interest, such as energy and integration of physical and digital infrastructure. He would also meet with the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley.

During the conference, the President of Guyana, Irfaan Ali, highlighted the role of the Brazilian president as a “voice of rationality and stability” in the region, especially in the midst of the territorial dispute between Guyana and Venezuela over the Essequibo territory.

Irfaan Ali highlighted the importance of the role played by Lula in the search for peace and stability in the region, highlighting his balanced approach in dealing with the conflicting interests of the two neighboring nations.

“President Lula has been fundamental in promoting dialogue and seeking peaceful solutions to the territorial dispute between Guyana and Venezuela. Your regional leadership is crucial to ensuring that all parties act within the bounds of international law,” said the President of Guyana during the event.

The dispute over Essequibo territory dates back to the 19th century and has been a source of tension between the two countries for decades. President Lula, in turn, has played an active role in the search for a diplomatic solution to the conflict, participating in negotiations and seeking to guarantee stability in the region. His intervention was seen as a diplomatic victory for Brazil.

The dispute over Essequibo involves complex historical and territorial issues, and the search for a peaceful resolution has been a priority for the region’s leaders. The recent ruling by the International Court of Justice that Venezuela should not act to change the situation in Essequibo represents an important step towards resolving the conflict.

Caribbean agenda

From Guyana, on Thursday (29), Lula travels to the small Caribbean island country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where he will participate, on March 1st, in the opening of the 8th summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac ), which will be held in Kingstown, the capital.

Despite being one of Celac’s founding countries, Brazil’s previous government left the community, made up of 33 countries. Reintegration into the bloc was one of President Lula’s first foreign policy measures at the beginning of 2023, upon assuming his third term.


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