Photo: Juvenal Balán

The Association of Caribbean States (ACS) marks a new era for the region, the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, noted in his speech at the 7th ACS Summit in Havana this Saturday, June 4.

Maduro thanked the Secretary General of the ACS, Alfonso Múnera, and praised his efforts in leading the organization and ensuring its growth.

He noted that the Havana Declaration to be adopted sets out the key development challenges for the Caribbean, including the economy, tourism, trade and transport.

Venezuela, he said, has participated in this Association outlining initiatives according to its principles and values, among which he highlighted Petrocaribe as the most significant. “Petrocaribe is perhaps the backbone of social development, stability and energy security in the region,” he stressed.

However, he argued that the region faces the challenge of diversifying its energy sources.

“We have agreed on a formula for peace, understanding based on brotherhood, and mutual benefits, this is the spirit that should prevail in our region,” Maduro noted, highlighting that this was adopted by the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Havana, on declaring Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace.

Building stability in the Caribbean is the will of the Bolivarian revolution, noted Maduro, who condemned the Middle East crisis as a product of terrorism and interference by foreign powers.

In this sense, he criticized the bias of the right-wing media in their attacks on Venezuela, while they provide limited coverage of major humanitarian issues such as the immigration crisis.

Maduro stressed that the purpose of the AEC is to create a solid foundation of relations of cooperation and respect.

He recalled the words of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, at the 1992 Earth Summit in Río, when he predicted the negative effects that climate change would bring.

Maduro welcomed the declaration adopted by the 7th AEC Summit reiterating the support for the Venezuelan government’s initiative of dialogue with the opposition.

However, he accused the Venezuelan opposition of repeatedly acting to destroy the country's democracy, going against constitutional law, carrying out violent acts and plotting coups.

In this regard, he highlighted the double standards that prevail in the international condemnation of the Venezuelan government, as it attempts to defend itself from violent political groups.

Maduro noted that he had convened a commission this year, calling on opposition forces to join in a peace initiative to compensate the victims of coups and violent events and address issues of the current economic crisis, but that they had refused to participate.

The plans of the Venezuelan opposition do not include domestic projects for the development of the nation, they only seek the end of the Bolivarian government, he stressed.

Venezuela has faced 17 years of U.S. government conspiracies, seeking to isolate the country and intervene in its internal affairs, Maduro stated.

He described the moves to invoke the Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States by its Secretary General against Venezuela as a disgrace.

This Charter, he noted, is anchored in events of the past and he recalled the coups against democracy in Latin America.

Venezuela demands the right to sovereignty, to choose its own political system, the region can not yield to pressure from Washington against Venezuela, Maduro highlighted.

He called on governments of the region to maintain solidarity and cooperation with his country.

“The pressures to isolate Venezuela are brutal, approving this instrument would be a disgrace for the continent. Venezuela will not be brought to her knees,” he said.

Venezuela will not accept interventionism, Maduro stressed.

He added that the creation of organizations such as Unasur and CELAC are evidence of how far the region has advanced in recent years, and that we must move forward with respect, unity and diversity.

Finally, the Venezuelan President noted that Chávez’s legacy is alive, in regional solidarity.

He thanked President Raúl Castro and Cuba for their support and solidarity. He concluded that with the support of Latin America and the Caribbean, Venezuela would overcome the adverse circumstances.