“Don’t worry, it will only be one year,” Cuban President Raul Castro said Monday as his country assumed the rotating presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or Celac, at the group’s summit in Santiago.
“Welcome, Don Raul Castro, I congratulate you and I deliver to you the mandate,” Chilean President Sebastian Piñera said during the handover.
Cuba is part of a leadership troika whose other elements are Chile and Costa Rica, scheduled to assume the presidency of the 33-member organization in 2014.
“For Cuba and for me it is a great honor to receive the presidency pro tem of Celac. I feel it is a recognition of the Cuban people’s selfless struggle,” Castro said.
Cuba will play its role in Celac with “total adherence to international law and to the United Nations Charter,” rejecting “interference, aggression, the threat and the use of force,” Castro said.
The summit wrapped up with approval of one resolution supporting Argentina’s claim to sovereignty over the British-held Falkland Islands and another on “the necessity of putting an end” to the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.
The gathering also issued a statement of solidarity with Brazil after the nightclub blaze that left 231 people dead.