Celac launches criticism against the OAS and requests to the US to change relations

Leaders of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) perform on Saturday a summit in Mexico, which started with critics to OAS and requests that USA change your relationship with the region.


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The VI Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) takes place for a few hours in Mexico and began with the surprise arrival of the Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, the absence of Argentine President Alberto Fernández and the absence of Brazil.

Opening the meeting, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador demanded that the United States end the embargo policies and a “new and vigorous relationship between the peoples of America.”

“It seems to me that it is time to replace the policy of blockades and mistreatment with the option of respecting each other, walking together and associating ourselves for the good of America without violating sovereignty,” said López Obrador, and said, addressing his counterpart Joe Biden, that he would win the support of the United States Congress if he allocates resources for the benefit of the peoples of the region to reduce inequality and violence that he said are the causes of migratory flows.

Plans to combat the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and face economic difficulties have dominated the summit’s debate agenda as well as criticism against the Organization of American States.

The first to raise his voice against the OAS It was the President of Bolivia, Luis Arce, who affirmed that the organization “instead of acting under the mandates of the Democratic Charter, acts against the principles of democracy”, and maintained that “its growing interference in the affairs of the states do not contribute to the peaceful settlement of disputes ”. Arce urged the members of the bloc to strengthen CELAC to face the deficiencies of the OAS.

The Mexican Undersecretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, Maximiliano Reyes, ruled out that the reform of the OAS is on the agenda, but in statements to the local station On the radio He assured the day before that if any member suggests it, Mexico – in its capacity as president for the time of the block– will propose the formation of a working group to “reflect” on the case.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has expressed himself in favor of a transformation of the OAS, while his Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has been stronger and has even stated that it is time to say “goodbye to the OAS in its interventionist, interventionist and hegemonist sense and that come another organization that we build politically in agreement with the United States ”.

Since its creation in 2010, CELAC has promoted initiatives to try to reform the OAS, but none have been successful due to the lack of consensus among the 32 members of the bloc.

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro.  Photo: AP

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The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro. Photo: AP

Regarding the issues to be addressed at the summit, Reyes announced that the formalization of the Latin American and Caribbean Space Agency will be discussed to cover the region’s lag and advance in the proposal to put in space a satellite that attends to meteorological phenomena and serves to make mobile communication cheaper and more efficient.

Likewise, the creation of a coordination between the four countries that carry out vaccine tests against COVID-19 will be considered to have a vaccine in the region next year and reduce dependence on large laboratories and donations from other countries.

The meeting will also discuss the activation of a climate change care fund to deal with natural disasters, said the Undersecretary.

Eighteen heads of state, a vice president, and more than a dozen foreign ministers participate in the summit. Brazil, which was one of the founders of the bloc, will be one of the great absentees from the meeting. Since last year, President Jair Bolsonaro announced the withdrawal of the Latin American giant from Celac, considering that it “gave prominence to non-democratic regimes.”

Fernández, who was expected to receive the pro tempore presidency of the bloc, canceled his trip to Mexico at the last minute after the crisis that broke out in Argentina after his party lost the parliamentary primary elections last weekend, which caused the resignation of members of his cabinet related to Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and led him to modify a large part of his team.

The surprise of the event was given by Maduro when he arrived in the Mexican capital on Friday night accompanied by his wife Cilia Flores and his son Nicolás Maduro Guerra after it had been announced that he would not come to the summit and that he would be represented by Vice President Delcy Rodríguez.

“Mexico is beautiful and dear,” said the Venezuelan leader when he celebrated his arrival from his plane, and said, in a video that was broadcast on his Twitter account, that “we bring the truth about Venezuela. The union of Latin America and the Caribbean is above any problem, any difference ”.

After his re-election in 2018, which was questioned by most of the countries in the region and Europe, Maduro reduced his tours abroad and only traveled to Russia in 2019.

Since the United States presented charges against Maduro and 13 other senior officials for drug trafficking and terrorism in March last year, and it was announced that cash would be offered in exchange for information that would lead to the arrest or conviction of the president and his relatives, including rewards of up to 15 million dollars, it is not known of any official exit.

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