At a Celac summit, Mexico defends a ‘similar bloc

The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, defended today (18) that Latin America, the United States and Canada should open an “economic integration process” similar to the European Union, to boost the region’s economies, reduce inequalities and face crises , health and other natures. The proposal was made at the opening of the 6th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), this Saturday (18), in Mexico City.

“We should build on the American continent something similar to the Economic Community that gave rise to the current European Union”, said López Obrador. The host of the meeting also said that CELAC can be the “main instrument to consolidate relations between our Latin American and Caribbean countries and achieve the ideal of economic integration with the United States and Canada.”

The meeting brought together at least 12 presidents from the region and marks an effort by Mexican diplomacy to build alternatives to the Organization of American States (OAS), a bloc led by the United States.

In January 2020, Brazil left Celac. The then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Araújo, justified the decision by claiming that “CELAC has not been having results in the defense of democracy or in any other area”.

The Celac summit takes place in the same week as the celebrations for the anniversary of Mexico’s independence. The president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, was a guest of the Mexican state and attended a military parade alongside Obrador. The Mexican president took advantage of the Cuban leader’s presence and called for “political sensitivity” to his US counterpart, Joe Biden, so that sanctions against Havana are lifted.

Read more: BdF Explains | What are the impacts of the US economic blockade against Cuba

In a statement in July this year, Obrador had said that the replacement of the OAS “with a truly autonomous body” should not be ruled out. The President of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, however, said before leaving for Mexico City that he is in favor of maintaining the OAS.

During the CELAC summit, Benítez and Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou exchanged barbs with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

“I say to the president of Paraguay: you decide the date, place and time for a debate on democracy in Paraguay, Venezuela and Latin America!”, reacted Maduro.

China’s President Xi Jinping sent a video message to the summit. Xi said the relationship between Beijing and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean has entered a “new era” and praised “CELAC’s efforts to coordinate countries in the region.”

At the end of the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, announced the collection of US$ 15 million, about R$ 79 million, for the creation of a fund against natural disasters and the effects of climate change in Latin America and Caribbean.

Edition: Sarah Fernandes

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