SPOTLIGHT: The latest EU-CELAC ministerial meeting took place on 16./17. July 2018 in Brussels. The Foreign Ministers of the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) adopted a declaration entitled “Building bridges and strengthening our partnership to meet global challenges”.
According to GRADPHYSICS.COM, CELAC is a regional association of Latin American and Caribbean countries. The community has a total population of over 600 million people and a total area of more than 20 million square kilometers. CELAC was founded in Mexico in 2010.
Repression of “colonialism”, containment of the influence of the USA in the region, reduction of social inequalities, strengthening of South-South cooperation, greater say in international issues.
Members are all sovereign states of the American continent with the exception of the USA and Canada. For a list, see the table at the bottom of the page.
Annual summits of heads of state or government, a temporary presidency, conference of foreign ministers, conference of national coordinators, an “expanded” leadership troika. The structures are still being developed. A general secretariat and a CELAC parliament are planned.
Origin and development
CELAC was founded in 2010 as part of the summit of the “Rio Group” and the group “Latin America and the Caribbean on Integration and Development”. The desire for a new organization grew, among other things, from the events surrounding the coup in Honduras in 2009, as a result of which the USA was accused of influencing the OAS in its favor. The CELAC is thus seen as an alternative to the OAS.
The principles of the OAS have developed from a number of regional cooperation approaches in the “Americas” and go back to the beginning of the 19th century. As early as 1826, Simon Bolivar convened the “Congress of Panama” with the aim of founding a union of the states of the American hemisphere. In 1890 the “International Union of American Republics” was founded in Washington, DC, from which the “Pan-American Union” emerged. In 1948 the members of the Pan-American Union signed the “Charter of the OAS”, thereby completing the smooth transition from the Pan-American Union to the OAS.
CELAC could become an important political forum for multilateral dialogue and cooperation. The four official languages - Spanish, Portuguese, French and English (in that order!) – illustrate the diversity of people and cultures in Latin America and the Caribbean.
However: CELAC is still a very loose organization. The interests and potentials of the member states are too diverse – from the rising great power of Brazil to tiny states such as Grenada or Dominica in the Caribbean. In Latin America, almost 45 percent of the population still live in poverty. The lack of competitiveness in many Latin American countries, poor training, social deficits or problematic judicial and financial systems will not go away overnight with CELAC.
Even after the founding of the OAS, the rather gloomy history of many Central and South American states – characterized by dictatorships, revolutions, corrupt governments, oppression, drug trafficking – hardly suggests that the noble goals of CELAC will be implemented. A new self-image that is based solely on the old distrust of the overpowering USA. based will not be enough.
What the Latin American and Caribbean countries have not achieved in terms of integration and cooperation since Bolivar in almost 200 years will not be able to be achieved by founding a new community alone. It remains to be seen whether CELAC will or can supplement or replace the OAS.
members of CELAC (33)
|Antigua and Barbuda||Ecuador||Nicaragua|
|Belize||Guyana||St. Kitts and Nevis|
|Brazil||Honduras||St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Costa Rica||Colombia||Trinidad and Tobago|
(Reminder: Members are all sovereign states on the American continent with the exception of the USA and Canada)