CELAC final declaration calls for an end to embargo on

CELAC final declaration calls for an end to embargo on Cuba

Calling for greater regional integration and defense of far-right democracy, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) held its seventh summit in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, marked by Brazil’s re-entry into the forum and ideological differences war and crisis policy affecting several South American countries.

Argentine President and host Alberto Fernández celebrated Brazil’s return to the political forum of its three-time President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva after his predecessor, right-wing Jair Bolsonaro, pushed the country out of the country three years ago with accusations that he had turned around had in a scenario that gave importance to the left and “authoritarian” governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

“A CELAC without Brazil is a much emptier CELAC,” said Fernández.

The Forum for Political Unification was created in 2011 at the initiative of then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to dissociate himself from the Organization of American States (OAS), which he and other left-wing leaders have questioned for its “alignment” with the United States became states.

“Brazil is back in the world,” said Da Silva, a historic left leader who returned to power for a third time this month. The CELAC Summit in Buenos Aires was part of his first trip abroad since taking office in early January.

“It is important to emphasize that we are a peaceful region that rejects extremism, terrorism and political violence,” the Brazilian president said weeks after violent demonstrations by Bolsonaro supporters that took place at the seat of the legislative, executive and judiciary branches of Brazil.

In this regard, Fernández – a staunch Lula ally in the region – warned that democracy was in jeopardy after sections of the far right had “rebelled” in some countries and urged “not to allow the recalcitrant and fascist rights endangered by the institutional framework.

“We saw it a few days ago when madness hit the streets of Brasilia… and also here in Argentina when someone tried to kill our Vice President (Cristina Fernández de Kirchner),” Fernández said, referring to the frustrated attack on the Peronist leader on September 1, for which three young people are arrested and prosecuted.

The CELAC meeting comes at a turbulent time in South America, also as a result of protests by political dissidents in Peru and Bolivia.

Peru has suffered a wave of protests after Pedro Castillo was ousted and jailed in December following the dissolution of Congress. Demonstrations to demand the resignation of his successor, Dina Boluarte, left more than fifty dead.

Protests also erupted in Bolivia after the arrest of opposition leader and governor of Santa Cruz province, right-wing extremist Luis Fernando Camacho, at the end of December.

Although the summit’s final declaration made no direct reference to the crises in either country, Argentina’s Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero said in a subsequent press conference that during the conclave some delegations “pointed out the human rights abuses being committed in Peru in relation to institutional violence . It was a relevant topic for everyone.”

“For all countries that make up CELAC, respect for human rights is fundamental… It is necessary that the countries going through these situations return to the path of full respect for human rights,” said Cafiero.

Fernández urged “respecting us in diversity,” alluding to criticism provoked by the participation of the governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua – whose presidents were absent – and Cuba at the Argentine opposition meeting. “All who are here were chosen by their people”said the President.

He also urged “speaking up” against the economic blockades the United States is using against Cuba and Venezuela because they are “a perverse method” against the peoples.

On the other hand, his Uruguayan colleague Luis Lacalle Pou replied “There are countries here that do not respect democracy, human rights or institutions”. And he emphasized: “We have no paraplegic vision of ideological kinship.”

The Uruguayan President also called for putting aside ideological debates and moving forward with trade deals that improve the quality of life for countries in the region.

“Wouldn’t it be time to open up those ties and promote a free trade zone between our countries for CELAC? From Mexico to the south of South America. Can’t we move forward in that sense?” asked the center-right Uruguayan President .

“Many of our economies complement each other. I’m sure we could make progress in that direction.”

“Let’s put into practice what we say in our speeches. In order for this type of forum to be sustainable, they need to inspire hope, and hope comes along the way,” he said.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel attended the meeting, while his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolás Maduro withdrew and sent his chancellor following warrants issued by Argentine opponents over the warrant issued against him in the US for alleged drug trafficking.

The President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, also did not attend and sent representatives of his government.

In the final statement, CELAC members supported the “dialogue and negotiations” between the Venezuelan government and the opposition “that are being promoted by the governments of Mexico and Norway.” They also called for an end to the trade embargo on Cuba, but made no mention of Nicaragua.

While Colombian President Gustavo Petro called for strengthening the Inter-American system of human rights protection. “Why are popularly elected presidents sitting in jail today instead of sitting at this table?” he asked.

Petro stressed that he recently invited Maduro to re-enter that system and called for a “democratic pact in which the right and the left do not believe that if they come to power, they will physically eliminate their opponent… There shouldn’t be a single political prisoner in Latin America.”

For his part, the President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, called on his counterparts to “found shared responsibility in the face of migratory flows”.

“We cannot respond individually. We have to tackle it together, regionally,” he emphasized. And he proposed “to reactivate in the first half of this year the CELAC meetings on migration, which have been paralyzed for several years”.

Another key absentee was Mexican Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who was a strong promoter of CELAC early in his tenure but declined to travel to Buenos Aires due to internal commitments.

Executives in attendance included Luis Arce (Bolivia), Xiomara Castro (Honduras) and Mario Abdo Benítez (Paraguay).

Meanwhile, the United States government—invited to the meeting, although not a member of CELAC—sent the President’s special adviser to the Americas, Christopher J. Dodd.

At the conclusion of the meeting, St. Vincent and the Grenadines – one of the smallest countries on the continent – ​​assumed the pro-tempore presidency of CELAC.