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Alberto Fernández inaugurates CELAC in search of integration and defense of democracy

In the midst of criticism for the invitation to the governments of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua and with the return of Brazil to the Summit of Latin American and Caribbean States, Argentine President Alberto Fernández inaugurated the VII of CELAC. The president asked to respect “diversity” to “grow together” and called attention to a democracy “definitely at risk” in the region.

With a blow of the mace and after confusion between the Summit of the Americas and CELAC, Alberto Fernández declared the opening of the VII Summit of Latin American and Caribbean States on Tuesday, January 24. A blow to the table that also occurs symbolically with the return of Brazil, the co-founding country of the Rio Group, the forerunner of CELAC.

In the opening speech of this summit, held in Buenos Aires under the pro tempore presidency of Argentina, Fernández called for respecting “diversity” in order to “grow together.”

“The only thing we have to do is deepen our dialogue and respect each other in diversity. All those who are here have been chosen by their peoples and in diversity we must respect each other and grow together,” he asserted.

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In the midst of the new progressive wave in Latin America, established after the victories of Gustavo Petro in Colombia and the return to power of Luiz Inazio ‘Lula’ da Silva in Brazil, Fernández highlighted the need to fight for equality and Justice community in the region. He also called attention to a democracy “definitely at risk” and asked to “guarantee institutionality.”

An allegation against the ultra sectors of the Latin American right

“The ultra-right sectors have stood up and are threatening each one of our peoples, and we cannot allow that recalcitrant and fascist right wing to put institutionality at risk,” the Argentine leader asserted, citing what he called “the coup that Bolivia lived”, after having assured yesterday that Argentina will not allow attacks on democracy in Brazil in reference to the assault on the headquarters of the three branches of the Brazilian State on January 8.

For the Argentine president, this democratic defense is something “that Latin America owes itself to and cannot ignore.” In between, he wanted to emphasize the defense that his government has made of the sovereignty of Cuba and Venezuela and once again called for an end to the blockades.

“They are very perverse methods of sanctioning, not the governments, but the peoples. Cuba has been blockaded for more than six decades and that is unforgivable. Venezuela suffers the same and we have to raise our voices,” the president pointed out.

The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez (d), receives the president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, at the start of the CELAC summit, today in Buenos Aires (Argentina).
The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez (d), receives the president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, at the start of the CELAC summit, today in Buenos Aires (Argentina). EFE – Matias Martin Campaya

The form and substance of what CELAC should be did not go unnoticed in the speech of a Fernández who insisted that the organization “was not born to oppose someone”, “to confront any of the existing institutions” or “to meddle in the political and economic life of any country.

“CELAC was born as a forum in favor of ourselves, which has always promoted consensus and plurality in a framework of democratic coexistence without any kind of instructions,” said the Argentine president.

‘Lula’ da Silva and the return of Brazil

The greatest expectation of this summit revolves around the return of Brazil after former President Jair Bolsonaro withdrew his country in 2020 on the grounds that the forum “gave prominence to non-democratic regimes, such as those of Venezuela, Cuba or Nicaragua”. .

‘Lula’ was the last to arrive at the meeting on Tuesday and was received with unanimous applause from the rest of the countries present. After the warm welcome, the Brazilian president stressed that it was under his previous mandates that the creation of this summit was promoted and that the Bolsonaro years were an “unfortunate exception.”

In line with his Argentine counterpart, ‘Lula’ called for a commitment to regional integration in the face of an “unacceptable reality” of “inequalities, poverty and hunger”, a sign of the direction that Brazilian foreign policy is expected to take, which after several years of regional isolation, once again tries to be an international vanguard.

‘Lula’ insisted that “with a pragmatic sense”, CELAC can “contribute a lot” to provide answers to the world to the issues that afflict it and to build “a peaceful world order” by promoting “dialogue and reinforcing multilateralism”. .

Clean energies are also, according to the Brazilian leader, a potential for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Controversies and absences

If Brazil was the positive surprise, the invitation to the leaders of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela has been the center of the controversy of the summit, making it clear that Bolsonaro’s argument in 2020 is still present in the region.

While the Cuban Miguel-Díaz Canel is present in Buenos Aires, the Venezuelan government confirmed on Monday the absence of Nicolás Maduro, alleging a series of attack plans against the Venezuelan delegation, which is finally headed by Foreign Minister Yván Gil.


Despite this, Maduro spoke on Tuesday regarding the summit on his Twitter account. “There will be no threat or aggression that can stop the progressive wave that has risen in Latin America and the Caribbean to build the definitive union of our peoples. Venezuela raises its Bolivarian voice in defense of regional integration,” said the president.

Nor will the presidents of Nicaragua be present, the increasingly isolated Daniel Ortega, nor the Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The latter claimed important internal commitments to be absent from the meeting, although he assured that he was “in agreement with what is going to be proposed.”

“There are many coincidences, there are more coincidences than the differences that we may have,” said an AMLO who also defended Maduro’s non-attendance to “avoid provocations” from the “conservative” media in Argentina.

“What good is it for us to have a state outside and just point a finger at it?”

Consulted on Monday in France 24 about the best way to deal with the political situation in Venezuela or Nicaragua by the countries of the region, the professor and researcher at the University of Monterrey, Magdalena Bas, considered that “dialogue and negotiation are important”.

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“This does not imply that human rights violations are not being condemned or in some cases that it is possible to question whether or not a democracy exists. But that questioning will be legal, but the negotiation will be political. What good is it for us to have a state outside and just point a finger at it?” Bas said.

For the teacher, “the best thing is to talk and be able to contribute to those processes that can be controversial or criticize”, Bas pointed out. For the moment, Caracas and Managua have avoided the controversy, but the region will still have to find a way so that the dispute between progressivism and conservatism does not prevent real integration in the long term.

With EFE and local media



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