The Community of Latin American States (CELAC) consists of 33 states that are working together for the well-being of their peoples and to increase the region’s influence in the world. This organization was launched in December 2011 to be a strong voice both within and beyond the continent, one which calls for peace, self-determination and sovereignty, and against interference, greed, the immorality of the embargo against Cuba, and the indifference shown to the world’s poor and marginalized people. Proud of its achievements, CELAC is holding its third summit in Costa Rica on January 28 and 29 under the slogan “Building Together”.
This community has managed to put aside the political differences and territorial conflicts between its members in order to create spaces for dialogue and decision-making. That is how it as managed to become a productive bloc and represent the changes that have occurred in the Caribbean and Latin America over the past fifteen years, according to Guatemalan historian Rafael Cuevas.
CELAC is already perceived as one of the most important intergovernmental organizations given its credibility and efficiency. Using this forum, the Caribbean and Latin America can project their importance and achievements throughout a world in need of solutions and alternatives for its complex challenges.
China, an emerging superpower with a huge economy, has found the regional bloc to be a key player in politics and economics. China and CELAC have common geopolitical interests of stability, peace and inclusive growth to forge a pluripolar world, and the two have been working together to deepen their political and economic ties through a model of cooperation that strives for equality and mutual benefit. This can be seen in large scale Chinese backed or supported infrastructure, energy, tourism, agriculture, industry, science, technology and natural resource projects throughout the region.
CELAC also has a strategic discussion partner in the European Union. Faced with the impact the global economic crisis had on the EU’s 28 member states, today the bloc is working with CELAC on equal terms. The two organizations work together on a diverse set of issues, including sustainable development, migration, employment and drug trafficking. Positive results on these issues have led the two to announce they will widen their cooperation to include citizen security, food security and higher education at their next joint summit in Brussels in 2015.
CELAC’s broad and multifaceted reach is made possible in part by one of its unique characteristic: its independent and sovereign setting of its own agenda. Thanks to this capability, the 33 member countries can establish priorities and propose initiatives and resolutions without outside interference. It also allows the bloc to avoid the risk of losing members or to stop functioning as intended, two problems which plague other regional blocs.
CELAC Debates Fundamental Issues for the Region and World
CELAC has created a space for the region to debate fundamental issues of global importance. It has declared that Latin America and the Caribbean is a region of peace that will maintain itself free of nuclear weapons. It has supported the peace process in Colombia, backed Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands and urged respect for Venezuela’s institutions given the aggressions and media war directed by the radical right.
True to its humanist nature, CELAC rejects the US embargo against the Cuban people and support the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In the face of the global financial and economic crisis, it has approved resolutions in defense of the constitutional order of member nations so they can face these questions.
Conscious of the importance of protecting life and spurring development, the bloc has called attention to the devastating risks that climate change poses for the world and it has adopted public policies to protect its people. It has also stressed that migration has to be addressed in a comprehensive manner, and has continually affirmed its commitment to the reconstruction of Haiti. In accordance with its forward-looking, pacifist vision, CELAC has made a commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms, as this global scourge has affected the lives of millions in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The bloc’s initiatives and projects were recognized by Alicia Bárcenas, Secretary General of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), during the 2nd CELAC Summit in Havana.
The 3rd CELAC Summit will be held on January 28 and 29, when representatives from the 33 Caribbean and Latin American states will meet in Costa Rica to once again demonstrate to the world their commitment to eliminate poverty and spur social inclusion, as well as to transparency and accountability.
Telesur/ Press – Venezuelan Embassy in the US / January 23, 2015