More than two hundred years after the beginning of the first independence processes in Latin America and the Caribbean The founding of Celac in December 2011 was a milestone in the region’s history. The rise of progressive and left-wing governments that took place in this part of the world in the early years of the 21st century was an essential element in moving forward in the final concretization of the organization of integration.
With its commitments made at the I Latin America and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (CALC), held in Salvador de Bahía, Brazil, in December 2008, Celac was born as the first mechanism that integrated the 33 nations of our Americawithout a supra-regional presence, nor with imperialist interests.
To honor the agreements of the 2008 Summit, the II CALC, known as the Unity Summit, was held in February 2010 in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. There it was decided to create a regional organization that would bring together the Rio group and CALC. It was the birth of a mechanism that wanted to realize the dreams of unity, justice and sovereignty of great heroes of the region such as Bolívar, Sucre and Martí.
Fidel, Chávez and Lula were the main promoters of this dream that would come true in December 2011 when Venezuela hosted the founding summit of Celac. On that occasion, Army General Raúl Castro defined Celac as “our most valuable work” and stated that its purpose was to consolidate a united and sovereign region committed to a common destiny.
The Celac, said Raúl, It would give us the political tool needed to unite wills, respect diversity, resolve differences, work together for the good of our peoples, and show solidarity with one another..
The army general then called for the creation of a new paradigm of regional and international cooperation, saying that within the framework of Celac we had the opportunity to build our own model, adapted to our realities and based on the principles of mutual benefit and solidarity.
And then he reiterated that the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean want and demand a better distribution of wealth and income, universal and free access to quality education, full employment, better wages, the eradication of illiteracy, the introduction of real food security, a health system for the entire population, the right to decent housing, drinking water and sanitation.
Celac was founded with the aim of deepening the political, economic, social and cultural integration of Latin America and the Caribbean. In the 11 years since it was founded, it has geared its actions precisely to this goal; focuses on maintaining unity in the great socio-economic, political and cultural diversity that characterizes our great fatherland.
Celac is a mechanism committed to a higher level of policy coordination given the challenges posed by the current deep economic crisis scenario. It promotes peace, stability and the right of every state to build its own political system free from threats, aggression and unilateral coercive measures from a coordinated perspective in concert with the United Nations.
Six Summits of Heads of State and Government took place: 1st Summit, Chile, January 2013; II Summit, Havana, January 2014; III. Summit, Costa Rica, January 2015; IV Summit, Ecuador, January 2016; V Summit, Dominican Republic, January 2017; and VI Summit, Mexico, September 2021.
As a result of several changes of government in the region, marked by internal conflicts in several countries, the increasingly unconventional plans and methods of Washington and its interventionist policies, as well as the complex economic, health and logistical scenario caused by the COVID pandemic – 19 Celac could not realize some projects.
However, the Mexican pro tempore presidency in 2021, with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the helm, gave the mechanism a new impetus that has manifested itself not only in projects but also in facts.
Argentina’s presidency in 2022 has given continuity to Celac’s rebirth, leaving a very positive record for the region, according to experts on the subject.
Today, Celac is strengthened by the inclusion in the progressive axis of the governments of Gustavo Petro in Colombia, Gabriel Boric in Chile, Xiomara Castro in Honduras and the return to the mechanism in Brazil and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
However, the VII Summit of Heads of State or Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), which will take place on January 24 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will take place in a regional context marked by the rise of new governments in recent months, internal conflicts and disputes between neighboring countries, and incessant attempts by right-wing sectors to boycott the progress of progressive and popular projects. Once again the urgent need to “walk in close quarters” is affirmed to maintain unity in diversity.
“It’s time for the recount and the march together and we have to walk in a confined space like silver in the roots of the Andes,” José Martí
- On December 14, 2004, the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, and the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, sign the joint declaration establishing ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of the Americas) and the first summit of this organization takes place in Havana instead; an integration mechanism based on the principles of sovereignty, respect and solidarity between countries.
- In November 2005, in the Argentine city of Mar del Plata, during the IV Summit of the Americas, the resolution establishing the Free Trade Area of America (FTAA), which was an initiative of the United States, was buried. Venezuela and the Southern Common Market member countries expressed through the final document that “negotiations to create a Free Trade Area of America (FTAA) must be immediately and definitively suspended,” which spelled a political defeat for US President George W. Bush.
- Beginning in 2006, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Ecuador, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and Honduras successively joined ALBA. In 2012 Saint Lucia and Suriname became full members of the organization.
- On May 15, 2008, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) was formed, a space for multilateral political discussion whose efforts aim to achieve the unity of the South American nations while recognizing their regional aspirations, social strengths, and energy resources.
- The Summit of the Heads of State of Mercosur and the Associated States, convened by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, will take place on 15 and 16 December 2008 in Costa do Sauípe, Bahia, Brazil. Cuba attended this summit as a host country, where it was decided to join the Rio Group. In the concluding press conference of the meeting, it was reported that without the presence of the United States, the participating countries would work to establish their own organization for Latin America and the Caribbean.
- In February 2010, the region’s 33 independent countries meet at the Summit of Unity, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Cancun, Mexico. The Heads of State and Government present coincided with the II Latin America and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development (Calc) and the XXI. Summits of the Rio Group, which produced a declaration that made it possible to set the timetable for the creation of the Celac. The final document of the meeting expressed the desire to “create a common space with the aim of deepening the political, economic, social and cultural integration of our region and making effective commitments to joint action to promote sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean “.
- On December 2nd and 3rd, 2011, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) will be constituted in Caracas, Venezuela, with President Hugo Chávez as host, consisting of the 33 independent countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. The meeting adopts 20 documents, including the Caracas Declaration and the Plan of Action. At its inception in Caracas in December 2011, Chávez said: “One of the great things that Celac has is that, despite the differences, we are here to discuss and map out the course of real integration and to solve our serious problems.”
- December 2012 the first Celac Summit will take place in Santiago de Chile. At the meeting, Cuba received the Pro Tempore Presidency of the Integration Mechanism from the hands of the hosts.
- On January 28th and 29th, 2014 the II Summit of Celac will take place in Havana. Latin America and the Caribbean are declared a zone of peace. Cuba’s pro tempore presidency was a period in which greater participation of Caribbean countries in Community initiatives was achieved. 30 documents were approved, including: Havana Political Declaration, Havana Action Plan and 28 Special Declarations on various subjects. In addition, the China CELAC Forum was established.
- III. 2015 Celac Summit in Beln, Costa Rica.
- IV. Celac Summit 2016 in Quito, Ecuador.
- 2017 V Celac Summit in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
- VI. Celac Summit 2021 in Mexico City, Mexico.
VI. Community of Latin American and Caribbean Summit begins (+ live broadcast)