GEORGETOWN, GUYANA MARCH 12 (AP) - Cuba will open embassies in four more Caribbean
countries, a move that will give it a presence in most of the Caricom nations, a Cuban official said Friday. Embassies in
Antigua, St Vincent, Dominica and Suriname will open in about a month, said Alejandro Merchante Castellanos, Cuban Ambassador
to the 15-member Caricom.
"We will be completing all the countries of Caricom. This is a decision of our country to
develop relations with all of them. The integration of the Caribbean is very important to us," he said while presenting his
credentials to Caricom secretary general Edwin Carrington.
Although Cuba's relations soured with Grenada and Suriname in the 1980s, the communist nation
has earned praise from its neighbors due to its work in the region, with more than 1,000 Cuban doctors providing care in the
Caribbean and more than 1,200 Caribbean residents studying for free at Cuban schools.
Caricom has also consistently voted in the United Nations to end the 46-year American economic
blockade of Cuba.
Cuba established diplomatic relations with Caricom in 1972. Since then, bilateral agreements have helped
people throughout the Caribbean, Carrington said.
Cuban doctors also have provided free eye care to more than 10,000 Caricom nationals at Cuban
hospitals since June under a programme funded by Venezuelan oil revenues.