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(15 February 2013) The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, met on Wednesday 13th February with the President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba, Raúl Castro, as part of an official visit to the island that began on Monday 11 February and ends today.
The Cuban President, who was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez, and the Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, thanked the willingness of ECLAC to support the work of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in 2013, as its pre tempore presidency is held by Cuba.
During her visit to the island, the Executive Secretary highlighted how CELAC had matured since it was set up in 2011 and the role it can play in regional integration by building bridges of communication among Latin American and Caribbean countries and helping the region to act as a bloc in its dealings with other world nations and regions.
As well as discussing many items on the international agenda, such as the economic and environmental crisis and high food prices, Alicia Bárcena and Raúl Castro analysed ways that ECLAC and the Government of Cuba can cooperate in areas such as the fiscal policy being implemented by the country.
During her week in the Cuban capital, the senior United Nations official held meetings with Government authorities and took part in several academic activities, including a lecture at the University of Havana, where she was presented with the University’s 280th anniversary plaque, as well as a seminar on 50 years of planning on the island.
Ms. Bárcena met with authorities including the Vice-President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, Marino Murillo, Vice-President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel Yzquierdo, Minister of Finance and Prices, Lina Pedraza, President of the Central Bank of Cuba, Ernesto Medina Villaveirán, interim Director of the Centre for World Economy Studies (CIEM), Ramón Pichs Madruga, and the Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Ileana Núñez.
She also met with the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Abelardo Moreno, the President of the Environment Agency (AMA), Gisela Alonso, and the Head of the National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI), Alexander Rodríguez.
The delegation accompanying the most senior representative of ECLAC consisted in Raúl García-Buchaca, Director of the Programme Planning and Operations Division, Hugo Beteta, Director of the ECLAC subregional headquarters in Mexico, and Luis F. Yáñez, Officer-in-Charge of the Secretariat of the Commission.
As part of the mission to Cuba, on Monday Ms. Bárcena and her delegation placed a floral tribute on the José Martí Memorial in the Plaza de la Revolución.