María Rollock Hernández, President of the Caribbean Association of Cuba, noted that “Our peoples are working for peace and unity, and we are offended by these disrespectful and arrogant remarks.” Photo: Nuria Barbosa

The Caribbean Association of Cuba (ACC) vehemently rejected in Havana U.S. President Donald Trump’s racist and xenophobic remarks.

During a meeting with U.S. Senators held in mid January, Trump asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” in reference to Haiti, El Salvador, and other African countries, provoking a wave of criticism from across the globe.

The ACC statement reads: “Our organization, responding to the sentiments of its members, descendents of the Greater Caribbean, expresses its most energetic condemnation and rejection of the recent xenophobic and racist remarks by current President of the United States Donald Trump, for his disrespect, erroneous and de-contextualized view of Caribbean, Latin American and African nations, all of which have equal rights before the United Nations.”

President of the ACC, María Rollock Hernández, speaking to Granma International, noted that “Our peoples are working for peace and unity, and we are offended by these disrespectful and arrogant remarks.”

The organization, founded on March 3, 1932, is composed of over 700 members from 26 nations and works to promote the traditions, culture, history of struggle and achievements of different countries of the Caribbean.

The ACC brings together citizens and descendents of nations such as Antigua, Jamaica, the Bermuda Islands, Montserrat, Haiti, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Venezuela, Saint Lucia, the Caiman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Aruba, Anguilla, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Grenada, Belize, and Cuba, who work to strengthen ties between members.

The Caribbean Association of Cuba is a non-governmental organization affiliated with the Association of Caribbean States and the University of Havana’s Norman Girvan Centre for Caribbean Studies.

It also forms part of Cuban civil society and maintains links with the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP); Casa de las Américas; Foreign Ministry; Cuban Movement for Peace; among other national institutions.

What is more, the organization works to promote popular participation in socio-economic, political and cultural integration processes designed to strengthen Caribbean identity, while also facilitating the creation of social tools to boost regional unity.

Daughter to a Barbadian father, Rollock Hernández noted that: “Since its creation, our organization has been permanently open to strengthening the ties of friendship and solidarity with the peoples. We offer a cultural program to educate the new generations in the traditions and representative elements of art from the region. In order to do so we maintain socio-cultural exchanges with many nations in the area.”

One such activity is the Caribbean Festival or Festival of Fire, which takes place every year in July, in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, with performances by dance and music groups, and expositions by popular artisans and visual artists. A theoretical event is held parallel to the festival, during which the results of research into Caribbean issues are presented.

Activities are also held to commemorate national celebrations and Independence Day in each country, as well as the ACC’s anniversary, including workshops, expositions, cultural events and others dedicated to historic themes, with the participation of neighbors, friends, members of the community and guests.

In this regard, Rollock Hernández noted that “In June we organize an international event focused on Cuban and Caribbean culinary arts, and in October we undertake activities in honor of Cuban Culture Day with a celebration of Latin American and Caribbean culture highlighting the friendship and solidarity of the peoples.”