Latin American and Caribbean nations gather in Cuba

CELAC condemns US embargo, seeks deeper ties between nations
By Jacqueline Villagomez

CELAC participants march in Cuba’s annual Torchlight march Jan. 28, commemorating national hero José Martí’s birthdate anniversary.
The second summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) took place in Havana, Cuba on January 28 and 29.
The organization was thought up at the Rio Summit, in Mexico in 2010 and founded in Caracas, Venezuela in 2011. It is comprised of 33 countries of the region, representing about 600 million people. The United States and Canada are excluded from this organization.
CELAC’s main goal is to become an alternative to the Organization of American States, which was set up in 1948 under the direction of the U.S. government to combat communist and popular struggles taking place in the region. After the 1959 Cuban Revolution’s triumph, the OAS, under U.S. prompting, excluded Cuba in 1962 for being “Marxist-Leninist.”
Wasting no time and continuing with its old lies, the United States government accused the Latin American and Caribbean nations of betraying “democratic principles” by supporting Cuba during this summit. Some 30 heads of states of the region and international leaders attended and not only condemned the blockade that the U.S. maintain against the Cuban people, but as Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua stated in his speech, they acknowledged the Cuban people and Fidel Castro for making the dream of CELAC possible and holding the Summit in socialist Cuba.
In the last decade, under the guidance of Cuba and Venezuela, the Latin American and Caribbean nations have being seeking deeper integration within the region, purposely excluding the U.S. and Canada because as President Evo Morales said, “Where  there are U.S. military bases that do not respect democracy, where there is a political  empire with his blackmailers, with its constraints, there is no development for that county, and especially there is no social peace”.
CELAC has two main purposes: to increase regional trade, independence, economic, social, and cultural development and cooperation, and solidarity among its members to allow them to defend their economies and natural and human resources; and, to end U.S. and Canadian imperialist interference in the region, so that the Latin American and Caribbean nations become the legitimate representatives of their interests and affairs and assert their sovereignty and self-determination.
Understanding that there can not be peace without social justice and that social and economic development cannot be achieved without peace, the second CELAC Summit adopted at its conclusion the determination to declare the region as a Zone of Peace in order to eradicate war, or the use of threat of force in the region and to negotiate in peaceful ways any disputes between the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. The declaration of Havana also highlights the commitment of the members of CELAC to fully respect the inalienable right of every state to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system.

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