The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and social movements reiterated their solidarity with Venezuela this week calling for the repeal of former US President Barack Obama’s executive order branding the South American nation an “unusual and extraordinary threat” . The V Presidential CELAC Summit began Tuesday in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Member states’ foreign ministers stressed the 33-nation bloc’s firm rejection of the decree – which was renewed for a second time on January 13 – in a declaration to be signed by all heads of state at the close of the summit.
Speaking at the meeting, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez addressed ongoing challenges with the US, urging Washington to normalize relations with her country.
“Our countries should establish relationships based on cooperation and respect, following Venezuela’s diplomatic leadership,” she stated.
Rodriguez also defended the achievements of her country’s Bolivarian Revolution, denouncing those who “put out fables against Venezuela”.
“We will debate publicly the Venezuelan economic and social development model,” the top diplomat asserted.
Social movements also gathered in the Dominican Republic to participate in CELAC grassroots driven activities. They likewise placed calls for an end to US destabilization efforts against the democratically elected Bolivarian government.
Additionally, movements voiced their support for the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in El Salvador. Movements advocated for the withdrawal of NATO’s presence in Latin America, denounced paramilitarism in Colombia and called for an end to the United Nation’s military occupation of Haiti.
The CELAC also confirmed its support for the Vatican-facilitated talks between the Venezuelan government and right-wing opposition. The CELAC pressed both parties to respect all the dialogue’s mutually established agreements.
The summit continues Wednesday with leaders discussing regional cooperation and the impacts of US foreign policy under the Trump administration. Topics on the agenda include: the US blockade against Cuba, nuclear disarmament, the return of Guantánamo to Cuba, Las Malvinas conflict, indigenous languages, sustainable health systems, regional integration, economic, social and cultural policy, migration and development, technical cooperation, and setting the regional body’s agenda for 2020-2030.
The CELAC was created under former President Hugo Chávez as a means to promote regional integration without the direct interference of the United States and Canada.
Chávez founded the regional bloc based on principles of unity, cooperation, and solidarity between member states that hail back to the 19th century independence movements and Simón Bolívar’s call for Latin American and Caribbean integration.
The only nation from Latin America and the Caribbean that does not have full member status is Puerto Rico given its US colonial status. However, member-states have previously expressed their full support for Puerto Rican sovereignty and acknowledged the island nation’s significance to the region.