The 22nd annual meeting of Celac opens without competing with regional organizations


▲ The diplomatic representatives of the 33 member countries of the Summit of Latin American and Caribbean States supported the inaugural proposal to seek greater regional integration.

Sputnik, Ap, and Prensa Latina

La Jornada newspaper
Saturday, January 8, 2022, p. twenty

Buenos Aires. Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero inaugurated the 22nd Summit of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), with a call to advance integration and strengthen dialogue to continue building a peaceful region.

The search for coincidences will be our main mandate, respect for diversity our guiding guide, said Cafiero when assuming the pro tempore presidency of the block of 33 countries.

He considered that Celac is a forum tailored to the region, it was not born to compete with anything, it emerged from the very entrails of our peoples in response to the need to unite without exclusions.

Argentina replaces Mexico in the presidency, in which it was in charge for almost two years, due to the situation of the pandemic. The meeting was attended by the Foreign Ministers of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard; from Colombia, Lucía Ramírez, and from Venezuela, Félix Plasencia, among others.

Celac’s member countries are 33: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras , Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela

Regional Unity Agenda

Topics such as the post-pandemic stage, health, the fight against climate change, US sanctions against Venezuela and Cuba, cooperation in education, regional connectivity and technology, among other points, were addressed at the meeting.

The Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, closed the summit by declaring that Celac does not emerge to oppose someone, to confront any of the existing institutions; it is not constituted to interfere in the political and economic life of any country; It was born as a forum in favor of ourselves that always promoted consensus and plurality.

Fernández thanked the support in his dispute with Great Britain over the Falkland Islands, as well as in the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund to refinance a loan of 44 billion dollars.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, Félix Plasencia, asked during his speech that the bloc unite to denounce the sanctions against some of the countries that comprise it.

Our call once again is for the Celac membership to join forces in denouncing the unilateral coercive measures, said the Venezuelan minister.

The minister described as incomprehensible that in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a resurgence of sanctions and the blockade against countries that make up that bloc, such as Venezuela and Cuba.

Similarly, he stressed the importance of members building a common space for the development of the economy and to face the challenges once the pandemic is over.

In addition, he asked that the proposal to create a general secretariat of Celac, made by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro during his participation in the summit of heads of state and government, held in September in Mexico, be studied.

Bogotá: in defense of democracy and the OAS

Meanwhile, the vice president and foreign minister of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, reproached yesterday in her speech read before Celac, the silence of this international forum in the face of the democratic breakdown, in which, as she said, there are three countries in the region, because according to the Declaration for the Defense of Democracy, signed by the member countries of Celac in 2011, it determined that the State should be suspended where there is a breakdown of the democratic order, violation of human rights, ignorance of fundamental rights and freedoms, submission to torture, denial of freedom of opinion or arbitrary detentions.

However, these actions take place in at least three of the countries here.