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CELAC: New Latin America Community

 On 2-3 December 2011 in Caracas (Venezuela), 33 Heads of State of the American continent met to launch the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), under the Presidency pro tempore of Hugo Chávez (Venezuela) and Sebastián Piñera (Chile).

 

This new-born Community encompasses all the American States, excluding only Canada and the United States. The aim of this new regional Community is to create harmonisation and to establish an integration process throughout all the countries of the Continent, strengthening the political and diplomatic autonomy of Latin America. Moreover, CELAC's objective is that of playing a key role in the resolution of regional conflicts, strengthening democratic values and promoting economic development. In the future, CELAC hopes to gain increased importance for future generations by supporting freedom, progress, solidarity and respect.

One may say that CELAC is only the last Community to have joined the other numerous regional organisations for regional integration, such as MERCOSUR, the ANDEAN Community, the Caribbean Community, the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), NAFTA, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA), the Latin American's Pacific Alliance (one of the most recent), and many others. However, CELAC is the first and only one to include all the American countries-not only the Spanish speaking ones, but also Brazil, Haiti, the English speaking countries, the Dutch Caribbean states and Cuba, usually excluded from other regional organisations.

The creation of CELAC comes at a specific historical juncture, in which the Western countries are facing extreme economic and financial difficulties. Contrarily to this, Latin America is experiencing an economic boom and restored cultural and identity due to the 200th independence anniversary. As a result, it could be the economic and financial crises and the historical moment themselves to be speeding up and strengthening the process towards strong regional integration.

In fact, the CELAC economic agenda expects to consolidate integration and social inclusion as a way to maintain economic growth and protect the continent form the current financial crises. To put into practice this intention, improvements in the regional transport system have been proposed. Among other proposals, there are the establishment of a new Human Rights Commission and the creation of a reserve funds bank, collecting the reserve funds of national banks, to guarantee stable source of funding for the LA countries.

There is a palpable sense of enthusiasm among the Heads of States of Latin American countries, who support CELAC as a new forum in which discussions are meant to be effective and not merely bureaucratic. As the Dominican Prime Minister, President Skerrit pointed out: “Our organization cannot be like the OAS and the UN; there cannot be so many documents and projects, our actions must be practical so that our people can see the real benefits of integration”. Also the UNASUR Secretary General, María Emma Mejía, encourages the new-born Community as a tool, for Latin American States to create their own way: “If before we had a path that was imposed on us, such as the Washington Consensus, now we are creating our own paradigm for the South, and the rest of the world should hear it”, Mejía said.


Francesca Ghersenti (CSF). 20 January 2012.


For more information on this topic see:

http://venezuela-us.org/2011/12/05/new-regional-group-celac-born-amid-consensus/

http://www.celac.gob.ve/



 

 
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