Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2022. 5:32 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister of Belize John Briceño, addressing the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, this afternoon, reminded his colleagues that the region and the world are at a “tipping point” and they are called on to make the “consequential choices” that will shape the collective regional future.
Briceño said that action on climate change, adaptation and migration cannot be postponed; that measures to address the debt crisis must be implemented; that we cannot be divided but must stay united.
In Los Angeles, the “City of Angels,” where so many with so much live next to so many with so little, the will of doing good is the call. Ukraine got $55 billion in aid from two countries in the hemisphere, he said; how much will the region pour into initiatives agreed here, he asked?
The Summit’s power is diminished by the absence of countries like Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua which have been regional leaders, said Briceño, citing Cuba’s assistance to Belize in the area of health during COVID-19 and calling for the blockade against it by the U.S. to be lifted. Venezuela’s absence is “unforgivable,” he contended, considering its assistance in energy security. The decision to exclude their leaders from attendance leaves us unnecessarily more divided.
The acceleration of economic growth coming out of the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic in the rest of the world has not been felt in the Caribbean, Briceno noted, citing a downgrade by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after sluggish growth was recorded, affected by supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine.
Briceno called for the Paris 2030 Climate Agenda, including commitments from developed countries, to be adopted, as well as action on debt relief, COVID-19 assistance and other issues. Quoting South American liberator Simon Bolivar, he concluded: “In the unity of our nations rest the glorious future of our people.”
The Summit continues through Friday.
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