Latin American and Caribbean leaders pledge to defend democracy and celebrate Brazil’s return to the international forum. “We are a peaceful region that repudiates extremism and political violence,” Lula said amid the various crises affecting the region.
The 7th entity summit, held this Tuesday (24/01) in Buenos Aires, had as its protagonist the Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who promoted the return of Brazil to CELAC after years of absence during the government of Jair Bolsonaro.
“Brazil is back in the region and is ready to work side by side with all of you,” Lula said on Tuesday (24/01) in Buenos Aires. According to the PT, the country “returns to looking to its future with the certainty that we will be associated with our neighbors bilaterally, in Mercosur, in [União de Nações Sul-Americanas] Unasur and Celac”.
In 2020, Bolsonaro suspended Brazilian participation in the forum, arguing that CELAC “gave prominence to undemocratic regimes, such as those of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.”
At the event, Lula thanked the support given to Brazilian institutions after the January 8 coup d’état, when Bolsonarist radicals invaded and destroyed the headquarters of the Three Powers in Brasilia.
“We are a peaceful region that rejects extremism, terrorism and political violence,” Lula said, vowing to strengthen multilateralism.
“Celac without Brazil is emptier”
In his opening speech at the summit, the President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, said that “a Celac without Brazil is a much more empty Celac”. The Argentine leader has a close relationship with Lula. Fernández even went to visit the petista in 2019 when he was in prison.
Fernández accused what he called the “recalcitrant and fascist right” of threatening democracy in the region, referring to the Brasilia bombings and the attempted assassination of Argentine vice president Cristina Kirchner last year.
Leaders such as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador were absent from the summit, who apologized saying he had a lot of work to do in his country.
The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, canceled his participation in extremis, arguing that there would have been an alleged “aggression plan” by the Argentine far right against his delegation.
His office said the Chavista had decided not to participate due to “a scenario of extravagant plans engineered by right-wing extremists”. Maduro has canceled a bilateral meeting with Lula scheduled for this Monday in the Argentine capital.
The multiple crises in Latin America
CELAC takes place at a time of multiple crises in many of the forum’s 33 participating nations.
Peru is going through a serious institutional crisis, with a succession of presidents in a few years, most of them deposed. The most recent case was that of Pedro Castillo, who was removed from Congress after an attempt to dissolve the Legislature and rule by decree.
The coup attempt did not have the support of the military and Castillo was arrested. Despite this, the country is still experiencing a series of protests against the government of her successor, Dina Boluarte, which have left 46 people dead. The Peruvian crisis still shows no sign of abating.
In Nicaragua, dozens of opponents of President Daniel Ortega’s regime – absent from the CELAC summit – are under arrest amid a series of accusations of human rights violations in the country.
Argentina, in the midst of an election year, is going through an inflationary crisis, while the Fernández government launches a series of measures to contain the rise in prices, while struggling to achieve the fiscal targets established in the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF ) with which the country has a debt of 44 billion dollars.
Chile will launch a new process to draft a constitution to replace the country’s Magna Carta, established during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Last year, a new text prepared by a Constituent Assembly was rejected in popular consultation.
Mercosur has also plunged into crisis, following Uruguay’s decision to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with China, without the consent of the other member countries of the bloc. President Luis Lacalle Pou’s decision was heavily criticized by Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.
At the CELAC summit, however, the Uruguayan president proposed the creation of a free trade area in Latin America and the Caribbean.
rc (AFP, EFE)
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