The Summit of Heads of State of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), took place this Tuesday at the Sheraton Hotel, in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Retiro. The meeting of Latin American presidents counted absences of several figures, mobilizations in the vicinity of the headquarters and strong questions among the participants.
After the meeting, the 15 leaders issued a document of 11 points and 28 pages, called “Declaration of Buenos Aires”, to highlight -among other issues- the post-pandemic regional economic recovery and joint work to reduce poverty.
The keys to the first day of Celac in Argentina
Rejection of the invitation of Nicolás Maduro
President Alberto Fernández was showered with criticism after declaring that the president of Venezuela was “more than invited”. Upon learning of his probable arrival in the country, hundreds of Venezuelan emigrants took to the streets of Buenos Aires to repudiate his arrival. Former Cuban and Nicaraguan citizens did the same with the leaders of their countries of origin.
Faced with the opposition’s complaint – led by Patricia Bullrich – and his request for the arrest of the DEA, Maduro decided to cancel his trip to Argentina “to prevent provocations that stain this special occasion.” In addition, his management accused the elaboration of a “neofascist plan” against him.
One of the few who supported Maduro’s decision was Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who called the measure of his Venezuelan counterpart “prudent” and he did not attend the summit either because of “his commitments”.
“Buenos Aires Declaration”
The Foreign Minister of Argentina, Santiago Cafiero, highlighted the existence of a “solidary multilateralism” that made it possible to agree on the Declaration of Buenos Aires, with which the VII Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) will close. It is a document of 11 points and 28 pages, which addresses issues and problems such as the “gender gap”, “food security”, “environmental cooperation”, “commitment to democracy” and “financial conditions”.
The criticisms of Lacalle Pou and Boric
The President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou raised the need to look at CELAC “inwards” and warned that the regional bloc cannot have “the character of a club of ideological friends” (a clear -indirect- criticism of the participation of the governments of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua).
“There is talk of respect for democracy, institutions and human rights, but There are countries here that do not respect democracy, institutions, or human rights“, he warned. And he added: “I insist, let’s practice with action what we say in our speeches because for this type of forum to subsist over time it has to generate hope.” Finally, he insisted on working comprehensively in the region’s economy .
The president of Chile, for his part, gabriel boricused his intervention to demand the release of “opponents who are still detained in an unworthy manner” in Nicaragua, and spoke out against the blockades on the economies of Cuba and Venezuela. “The policy of exclusion does not offer authentic or lasting results. This is demonstrated by the history of our Latin America and the Caribbean, with the ignominious blockade by the United States of Cuba and more recently of Venezuela,” he maintained.
“We cannot be indifferent when today in our sister nation of Peru, people who go out to march and demand what they consider fair end up being shot by those who should defend them,” added Boric.
Requests by Pedro Castillo
President Alberto Fernandez alerted after fifty deaths, balance of the protests that take place in the neighboring country, and proposed to work on the recovery of the institutionality and the cessation of street and institutional violence. “As a man who has dedicated his life to university teaching, I see with great concern that tanks advance on the University of Lima with the costs that this means in social terms“, he explained at the end of the session.
During the exchange, Gustavo Petro (Colombia) also devoted part of his speech to questioning Castillo’s imprisonment: “Why do we have to continue maintaining violations of the inter-American system despite the fact that our governments signed the treaty in the past?”.
Lacalle Pou assured that in Latin America “there are countries that do not respect democracy.”
“Why do there have to be parliamentary and violent coups, why popularly elected presidents today are in prison when they should be at this table?”, he criticized and considered that the inter-American system must allow the existence of a “democratic pact where the leftists do not believe that when they come to power it is to eliminate their opponent physically”.
In the same line, AMLO He asked “not to leave the people of Peru alone”, and described as “infamy” the removal and imprisonment of Pedro Castillo after the self-coup he led, and “the way in which they are repressing the people.” “A communiqué must be jointly signed to demand that the repression cease, dialogue be opened and it is the people who decide in fair and free elections,” he said in the presence of the chancellor, Ana Gervasi Diaz.
“No to authoritarianism and freedom to Castillo! He is unjustly imprisoned”AMLO closed through a recorded message.
Cristina Kirchner, with an alternative agenda
While the CELAC summit was taking place at the Sheraton -as well as before the meeting-, Vice President Cristina Kirchner received several heads of state in her Senate office. Xiomara Castro (Nicaragua), Evo Morales (former president of Bolivia), Luis Arce (current president of Bolivia) and other Latin American leaders visited her to give her some gifts and discuss bilateral issues.
Authorities present at Celac 2023
- President of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez
- President of Bolivia, Luis Arce
- President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
- President of Chile, Gabriel Boric Font
- President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro
- President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz Canel
- Honduran President Xiomara Castro
- President of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez
- President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader
- President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou
- Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis
- Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley
- Guyanese Prime Minister Mark Philips
- Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry
- Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves
- First Vice President of Costa Rica, Stephan Brunner Neibig
- Vice President of El Salvador, Felix Ulloa
- Foreign Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Paul Chet Greene
- Belize Foreign Minister Eamon Courtenay
- Dominica Foreign Minister Vince Henderson
- Foreign Minister of Ecuador, Juan Carlos Holguín
- Foreign Minister of Grenada, Joseph Andall
- Foreign Minister of Guatemala, Mario Búcaro Flores
- Jamaican Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson Smith
- Foreign Minister of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard
- 2Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada
- Chancellor of Panama, Janaina Tewaney
- Foreign Minister of Peru, Ana Gervasi
- Foreign Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Denzil Douglas
- Chancellor of Saint Lucia, Alva Romanus Baptiste
- Foreign Minister of Suriname, Albert Ramdin
- Foreign Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Amery Browne
- Foreign Minister of Venezuela: Yvan Gil Pinto
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