Thursday, February 25, 2010

Creation of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States: a historically significant event

• States Raúl, addressing the Summit of Latin American and Caribbean Unity, which ended on Tuesday • Two declarations and eight special documents adopted, including a condemnation of the U.S. blockade of Cuba

Lazaro Barredo Medina

RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico.— The creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States is a historically significant event, and we believe it appropriate to strive to promptly define its statutes and mode of functioning, so that they cover the collective interest in the greater integration and unity of our region, Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz said on Tuesday, Feb. 24, in addressing the Unity Summit’s final session.

Raúl’s speech was closely followed by those present in the large auditorium, and he made a number of points that were later referred to by other speakers.

The Summit ended on Tuesday after two declarations were approved: the Declaration of Cancun, and the Declaration of the Unity Summit, which establish the main programmatic commitments to political and economic coordination and cooperation. In addition, eight special documents were passed on: migratory cooperation; solidarity with Haiti; a declaration on the Malvinas issue, backing Argentina’s legitimate rights in its dispute with the UK; and a special communiqué, supporting Argentina’s demands regarding hydrocarbon exploration on the continental platform, in terms of the persistent unilateral British actions.

The summit also passed a declaration on Guatemala, congratulating that country for the outcome of investigations by the International Commission against Impunity, which cleared President Alvaro Colom of any responsibility for the death of lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg in 2009.

Likewise, the meeting passed a resolution supporting the Ecuadorian initiative known as Yusuní-ITT, a voluntary gesture on the part of Ecuador not to exploit 846 million barrels of oil that lie under the subsoil of the Yasuní National Park, to benefit the environment and ensure the conservation "of one of the places of most biodiversity in the world." Another document expresses solidarity with Ecuador after the Financial Action Task Force included it, in a manipulative move, on the list of countries that have failed to adequately address money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Other resolutions include a condemnation of the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.

In listing the underlying principles of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Mexican President Felipe Calderón said the new organization "should prioritize the advancement of regional integration with a view to promoting our sustainable development, advancing our regional agenda in global forums, and having a better position in response to relevant world events."

Likewise, he announced that in July 2011, in Caracas, Venezuela, the various government representatives are to define the guidelines of the new bloc, which is to comprise the Rio Group and the Latin American and Caribbean Summit. In 2012, they will meet again in Chile, the country that assumed the rotating presidency of the Rio Group for the next two years in a ceremony in which President Michelle Bachellet bid farewell to the other presidents and introduced her successor, Sebastián Piñera, who spoke briefly, reaffirming his commitment to take forward the summit’s agreements.

Outgoing Costa Rican President Oscar Arias also bid farewell to those present, with a speech whose tone was somewhat pessimistic regarding the new Latin American and Caribbean coordination organization. He also made contradictory statements which, using certain sophisms in defense of democracy, expressed potentially divisive opinions which focused conflicts evidently on nations that have put up the greatest ideological and political resistance in recent years.

On that, shortly afterward, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called upon his colleagues to always take an optimistic attitude: "There is no reason at all for us to be pessimists," he said.

The Brazilian president addressed a number of issues, and questioned the United Nations for its lack of decisiveness in relation Argentina’s sovereignty in its conflict with Britain over the Malvinas Islands, and he asked for a discussion of the role and composition of the Security Council, which, he said, represents the geopolitical interests of World War II, "and fails to take into account the changes that have happened in the world."

Another issue extensively addressed by Lula was the recent Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, where, Brazil, China and India stated their belief that "it is possible to find a new formula to reach an agreement."

"The rich countries like the United States and the European Union have to take into account the interests of Africa and Latin America in making decisions to mitigate global warming," he affirmed.

At the end of the session, the Cuban delegation remained for some time in the auditorium to attend to various heads of state and government, as well as other important figures, officials and delegation members who approached the Cubans to greet them, exchange opinions and take photos with Raúl. Almost the last to leave, Raúl and President Hugo Chávez walked away chatting like brothers, greeted by many people, including security personnel, journalists and hotel workers.

Translated by Granma International

February 24, 2010