By Zhao Kai
MEXICO, Jan. 27 (Xinhua). The VII Summit of Heads of State or Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) reflected the will of Latin American and Caribbean countries to strengthen regional solidarity, promote integration, oppose foreign interference and promote equal cooperation between countries, analysts considered.
In response to the invitation of Alberto Fernández, President of Argentina (CELAC “pro tempore” presidency), Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a video message to the summit, calling on CELAC to work hand in hand with China in building the China-Latin America and the Caribbean Community (LAC) with a common future.
Progress in the regional integration process
In his inaugural speech in the Argentine capital, Fernández reiterated that LAC is one of the most unequal regions in the world in terms of development, for which he urged CELAC member countries to move forward and set up a regional integration mechanism that protects and respects the common interests of peoples the diversity.
Coincidentally, in their respective speeches, the leaders of various countries such as Brazil and Chile reiterated that the mechanism’s member countries should strengthen coordination and cooperation; come together to address global challenges such as climate change; Promote multilateralism and work together to build a world at peace.
The Buenos Aires Declaration that concluded the conclave reaffirmed CELAC’s commitment to strengthen its unity based on respect for “political, economic, social and cultural diversity” in order to “move resolutely forward in the integration process”.
In this sense, Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero stressed that this declaration “is the result of dialogue and respect.
One of the most salient aspects of the meeting was Brazil’s return to CELAC, after Jair Bolsonaro’s government suspended the South American country’s membership in early 2020, arguing that member states were deeply divided over Venezuela, and neither did they have conditions to form a consensus.
Shortly after taking office as Brazil’s new president, on January 1, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced that he would return “completely and immediately” to this important regional cooperation mechanism, choosing Argentina for his first international trip.
rejection of foreign intervention
The staunch rejection of foreign intervention and hegemony, and any unilateral action affecting Latin American and Caribbean countries, again became a consensus among the CELAC states, who again called for an end to the United States’ economic, commercial, and financial blockade against Cuba.
They also called for “the exclusion of Cuba from the unilateral list of countries allegedly promoting international terrorism.”
Since 1962, the United States has imposed an economic, trade, and financial embargo on the Caribbean nation that has caused cumulative losses of more than $154.2 billion, according to official Cuban statistics.
Former Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni reiterated in the case that foreign interference and hegemony have never led and never will lead to economic and social stability, let alone a better future for the LAC countries, but instead to strengthening southern cooperation with the South is the “key to the democratization and integration process” of these countries.
In December 2011, the leaders and representatives of 33 independent countries in Latin America and the Caribbean founded CELAC during a meeting in Caracas, Venezuela.
In an interview with Xinhua, Argentine academic Marcelo Rodríguez opined that “CELAC has an advantage, which is that the United States does not participate in it, so our countries do not have pressure from Washington to additionally promote their regional and global integration with partners -regional” .
In a joint article, the presidents of Argentina and Brazil confirmed that both countries are exploring the possibility of a common South American currency to strengthen cooperation in areas such as finance and trade and improve their responsiveness to external shocks.
Earlier, Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad published a joint article with fellow Brazilian economist Gabriel Gariballo in the Folha de São Paulo newspaper, in which they stated that the creation of a common South American currency would help protect the sovereignty of Latin Americans Countries from external forces, particularly sanctions that could be imposed by the United States.
Bright future for China-CELAC cooperation
Since 2012, China has maintained its position as Latin America’s second most important trading partner, so much so that trade between China and the region has been resilient during the new coronavirus pandemic.
China-Latin America trade volume surpassed US$450 billion for the first time in 2021, hitting a new high of US$485.79 billion in 2022.
In his video message at this CELAC summit, President Xi stressed that China always supports the regional integration of the LAC, attaches great importance to the development of relations with the CELAC, and regards it as an important partner in consolidating unity among the developing countries and the southern countries to promote. Cooperation South. Keeping these original aspirations in mind, China has worked with LAK to constantly strengthen the construction of the China-CELAC Forum and promote the entry of China-LAK relations into a new era characterized by equality, mutual benefit, innovation, openness and prosperity -being for the nations.
With that in mind, Miguel Rodríguez MacKay, former Peruvian foreign minister and president of the Peruvian Institute of Law and International Relations, told Xinhua that President Xi’s message sends a strong signal to the LAC countries for common development and greater cooperation, and gives them an important one Opportunity to strengthen cooperation with China and promote development and prosperity.
As an important partner of Latin American countries, China has always respected the independent choice of development path of the Latin American peoples and has supported Latin America in accelerating the integration process.
China’s proposed community building with a common future is well received in Latin America, and more and more countries in the region are cooperating with the Asian country to promote joint and high-quality construction of the “Belt and Road”, supporting the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative.
According to Pamela Cristales, an academic at the Autonomous University of Yucatan in Mexico, China’s cooperation with CELAC contributes to the key development needs of Latin American countries, characterized by the need for infrastructure and unconditional economic support.
For his part, David Castrillón Kerrigan, professor at the School of Finance, Government and International Relations at the University Externado de Colombia, believes that as the world enters a new phase of tumultuous changes and the global economy slows, it will be developing countries that will be hardest hit therefore, cooperation with China is particularly important for Latin American countries at the moment.
(Web Editor: 周雨, Zhao Jian)