Mini-Me: Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC)

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The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Spanish: Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, CELAC, Portuguese: Comunidade de Estados Latino-Americanos e Caribenhos, French: Communauté des États Latino-Américains et Caribéens, Dutch: Gemeenschap van de Latijns-Amerikaanse en Caribische landen) is the tentative name[1] of a regional bloc of Latin American and Caribbean nations created on February 23, 2010, at the Rio GroupCaribbean Community Unity Summit held in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico.[2][3] It consists of all sovereign countries in the Americas, except for Canada, France, the Netherlands and the United States. British and Danish dependencies in the Americas are also not represented in CELAC.

CELAC is an example of a decade-long push for deeper integration within the Americas.[4] CELAC is being created to deepen Latin American integration and to reduce the once overwhelming influence of the United States on the politics and economics of Latin America, and is seen as an alternative to the Organization of American States (OAS), the regional body organized largely by Washington in 1948, ostensibly as a countermeasure to potential Soviet influence in the region.[4][5] [6]

CELAC will be the successor of the Rio Group and the Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (CALC).[7] In July 2010 CELAC selected President of Venezuela, socialist Hugo Chávez, and President of Chile, conservative Sebastián Piñera, as co-chairs of the forum that will draft statutes for the organization.[8]

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On February 23, 2010, Latin American leaders at the 23rd Rio Group summit in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, said they are forming an organization of the Latin American and Caribbean nations. Once its charter is developed, the group will be formally established in July 2011, at a summit in Caracas. The bloc will be the main forum for political dialogue for the area, without the United States or Canada.[9][10]

In an interview in February 2010, President Evo Morales of Bolivia said, “A union of Latin American countries is the weapon against imperialism. It is necessary to create a regional body that excludes the United States and Canada. …Where there are U.S. military bases that do not respect democracy, where there is a political empire with his blackmailers, with its constraints, there is no development for that country, and especially there is no social peace and, therefore, it is the best time for prime ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean to gestate this great new organization without the United States to free our peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean.”[6]

At the 23rd Rio Group summit, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela said, “Now here, in Mexico, a document, a commitment, the creation of a body of Latin America and the Caribbean, without the USA, without Canada (…) Now we can say from Latin America, from Mexico (…) we have revived the dream and project of Bolívar.”[11] Mexican President Felipe Calderón added, “We decided, for the first time, to form the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States as a regional space consisting of all states.”[12] Calderon said, “We cannot remain disunited; we cannot successfully take on the future based on our differences; now it's up to us to unite without discounting the things that make us different … to unite based on our similarities, which far outweigh our differences.” [13] Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said it is “A historic fact of great significance.” [14]

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador said that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States “can be much more effective than other instances to solve ourselves, with our own strengths, our own visions, our conflicts.”[15]

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CELAC's inaugural summit was due to be held in mid-2011, but was postponed because of the ill-health of Hugo Chavez, president of the host nation, Venezuela. The summit was instead held on 2 and 3 December 2011 in Caracas.[19] It primarily focused on the global economic crisis and its effects on the region. Several leaders, including presidents Cristina Fernandez, Dilma Rousseff and Juan Manuel Santos, encouraged an increase in regional trade, economic development, and further economic cooperation among members in order to defend their growing economies.[16][17]

Chavez, and other leaders such as Rafael Correa and Daniel Ortega, expressed hope that the bloc would work to further integration, end U.S. hegemony and consolidate control over regional affairs.[16] Chavez, citing the Monroe Doctrine as the original confirmation of U.S. interference in the region, openly called for CELAC to replace the OAS: “As the years go by, CELAC is going to leave behind the old and worn-out OAS.”[17] Correa called for a new human rights commission to replace the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Other leaders argued that the organisation should be used as a tool to resolve regional disagreements and uphold democratic values, but not as a replacement of the OAS.[16][17] Santos stated that he would like to see dialogue within the group over whether existing counter-drug regulations should be revised.[16] The president of the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) said he expects that Parlatino will become the main legislative institution of CELAC.[20]

The next two summits are scheduled to be held in Chile in 2012 and Cuba in 2013.[21]

Read full Wikipedia article.

Phi Beta Iota:  The Wikipedia contributors have neglected UNASUR (Unión de Naciones Suramericanas) that in 2008 integrated Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations.  In combination with the rumors of a 57-country alternative financial system under development, with the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) as the “corners,” a seismic shift in regional and international relations appears to be well underway–it is a shift that will include Africa and Southeast Asia (with Indonesia to the west and Turkey to the northeast) as logical additional “corners.”  This development, and its implications, are not in the Global Trends 2030 study being developed by the US secret intelligence community; that endeavor is already known to be dismissive of the South and largely clueless about what will emerge from the five billion poor.  The Russian effort appears to be more intelligent.

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