A European Union-Style Bloc is Proposed for Latin AmericaBy Paloma Duran | Mon, 09/20/2021 - 15:44
Political Leaders of Latin American and Caribbean nations met on Saturday for the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), where it was proposed to create a bloc like the European Union and move away from the Organization of American States (OAS) accused of being under the control of the US.
The CELAC summit was hosted by President López Obrador, who proposed a European Union-style bloc for Latin America and the Caribbean in order to better address the most pressing challenges affecting the region such as inequality and its multiple crises. "During these times, CELAC can become the main instrument to consolidate relations between our nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, to improve the situation in the region." However, López Obrador stressed the importance of continuing to respect national sovereignty and not intervene in the internal affairs of member states.
The president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, called for a global agreement to eliminate the debts of poor countries, while the president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, called for a regional body to fight together climate change. In addition, a new CELAC fund was also announced to respond to natural disasters such as the recent earthquake that affected Haiti.
Among the leaders who also attended the CELAC meeting were the recently elected president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, the president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. Due to the difference in ideologies, during the meeting there was a discrepancy between leaders when the president of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle, emphasized that his assistance should not be interpreted as a rejection to the OAS or an acceptance of authoritative regimes in the region. "We are concerned and we look gravely at what is happening in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, especially the repressive actions against their population such as the imprisonment of political opponents."
Díaz-Canel responded by saying that neoliberal policies have slowed the social and economic growth of the entire region. In addition, he criticized the Lacalle’s administration, noting the broad response to the Referendum Petition Against Neoliberal Bill proposed by his opposition that seeks to modify at least 135 articles of the Urgent Consideration Law, which is unfair and harms workers.
Moreover, Maduro proposed creating a new institutionalism for CELAC to reinforce action on social, economic and political issues. In addition, he also proposed the establishment of new CELAC headquarters in Mexico City. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that the idea is premature, however, it will be discussed further.