Nicolás Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, emphasized on Thursday the historic nature of the China – Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Summit. It is the first ever meeting focused on unity and cooperation projects between China and the countries of the Caribbean and Latin America.
During the summit’s opening in Beijing, President Maduro characterized it as “a historic meeting of paths, of efforts, of struggles of peoples who refused to conform to the slavery of the past, to neo-colonialism, and were capable of maintaining their dreams, dignity and lives.”
Maduro noted that in 2009, then-President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva “convened us in Salvador de Bahia for the first meeting to study the idea of Latin America and the Caribbean building a shared path.”
“Later we met in Mexico, in 2010, and there we decided after a long debate to take on the concept of building a community, a union of peoples, and we set 2011 as the year for a foundational summit, which took place under the presidency of Hugo Chávez, in Caracas, where we set the first guidelines and principles of [CELAC],” the President explained.
CELAC was formally created two years later in 2013. Member countries met in Chile and the next year they met in Cuba, “in a historic summit in which the Caribbean island took on the presidency of all Latin America and the Caribbean,” Maduro continued, before noting that the idea to include China in building a common space for the new world in the 21st century was first raised in 2012.
“Times have changed and the great strength our regions possess has been shown; we have managed to join our paths,” he added.
The Venezuelan President also emphasized China’s achievements as an emerging power. He quoted former President Hugo Chávez in saying that “China has demonstrated that it is possible to be a power without imperialist or hegemonic pretentions, and that is a great virtue. The times we are living in are a unique opportunity in humanity’s history.”
“To find a shared path of justice, of humanity, that is why we are here. We place the utmost value on this opportunity to act on the principles of peace, of cooperation, so nobody can attempt to control our natural resources, or use our finances or currencies to submit entire peoples and dominate them. We reject economic sanctions as mechanisms of this domination, which are from an outdated world. We affirm this joint path; this is the time of our people,” Maduro declared.
The China-CELAC summit is being presided by the foreign ministers of China and Costa Rica, Wang Yi and Manuel González Sanz, respectively. Also attending the summit are the heads of government of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis, Ecuador, Rafael Correa, China, Xi Jinpging, and the Bahamas, Perry Christi. President Xi Jinpging gave the summit’s opening address.
President Maduro was invited to the summit given his state visit to China, where he has been since Monday, January 5. During his stay he has meet with Chinese business representatives as well as with President Xi, with whom he has signed cooperation accords and secured $20 billion in financing for energy, industrialization and economic development projects.
AVN / Press – Venezuelan Embassy in the US / January 8, 2015