Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, speaking at the opening of a summit of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), which consists of 14 member states, declared that the time is ripe for an agreement with Mercosur, the Southern Cone Common Market, which consists of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Lula said he saw such an agreement as part of his efforts to strengthen regional alliances so as to bring about a more just international order. Lula pointed out that in the G-20 group of developing nations, he has always sought to ensure that the needs of Latin America and the Caribbean were heard.
“What we have done is to promote initiatives that engage multilateral institutions in funding social programs and infrastructure building in developing nations,” said Lula.
“We need to reverse the distortions that characterize world trade in farm produce, something that has a terrible consequence: it destroys food security for millions, putting them at the mercy of charity,” Lula declared, as he once again called for progress in the Doha Round of trade talks.
The Caricom-Brazil summit held broad-ranging discussions on bilateral and regional cooperation in health, agriculture, education, professional training, tourism and environment, among other issues. One subject that got special attention was Haiti and its reconstruction.
Caricom was founded in 1973 and its members are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Granada, Guiana, Haiti, Jamaica, Santa Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Brazil has been an observing member since 2006.