The Bolivarian dream remains a dream



The leaders of the countries that make up the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), at the VIII summit in the capital of the island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Kingstown, failed to achieve what was expected of them in the collective West. Their agenda made only a passing reference to the conflict in Ukraine, but sparked a heated discussion of the Israeli genocide in Gaza.

A total of 24 countries out of 33 in CELAC signed a statement supporting a UN resolution for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, as well as an early determination by the International Court of Justice whether Israel’s actions violate international law and constitute genocide. The text also called for the «immediate and unconditional» release of all hostages and reaffirmed the importance of the creation and coexistence of two states, Israel and Palestine.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro accused leading Western countries of inaction in the face of the massacre, in contrast to the stance they have taken in other crises when they acted quickly, which he said makes those governments «complicit in genocide».

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva demanded an immediate end to Israel’s genocide in Gaza. «I want to take advantage of the presence of UN Secretary-General António Guterres to propose an immediate end to this genocide», Lula said. «The humanitarian tragedy in Gaza demands that we all say ‘enough’ to the collective punishment that the Israeli government is imposing on the Palestinian people. The indifference of the international community is shocking», said the Brazilian president.

It is this fully expected attitude of Latin American and Caribbean countries that has been the reason for the modest, if not silent, stance in the reporting of the CELAC summit in Kingstown. To downplay the level of representation, Western media pointed to the absence of the continent’s right-wing leaders: presidents Javier Milei (Argentina), Daniel Noboa (Ecuador), Santiago Peña (Paraguay) and Luis Lacalle Pou (Uruguay). The truth is that historically in CELAC, the right-wing has little or no weight and is only trying to impose the will of the Washington that sent them. The representatives of Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador and Uruguay did not dare to go against the majority this time either, but only abstained on the resolution on the Israeli massacre in Gaza.

«We are being taught democracy by those who are complicit in genocide», Colombian President Gustavo Petro told a group of journalists. Moreover, in Latin America, he referred to the failed war on drugs waged by the U.S. government as genocide.

«In the last half-century, we have experienced the genocide of a million Latin Americans», he said.

CELAC was created in 2010 to better integrate Latin American countries and reduce the influence of the United States on the politics and economy of the region. The Community includes 33 of the 35 states of the Western Hemisphere (the United States and Canada were not invited to this regional organization by universal approval), which is home to 600 million people.

«At the 8th Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, we demanded that the international community prohibit the use of sanctions, embargoes, blockades and unilateral coercive measures, because they, guided by political interests, undermine fundamental human rights and limit the development of peoples», said Bolivian President Luis Arce.

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves, who has led CELAC since last year, expressed satisfaction with the work of all 33 delegations, which «discussed the agenda at length and together made progress toward the adoption of the Kingstown Declaration».

The 30-page Kingstown Declaration and eight special statements contain initiatives to promote food security, combat climate change and maintain peace in the region. Peace and stability, the fight against illicit arms and drug trafficking, prospects for cooperation to promote sustainable development, the fight against poverty, hunger and the climate crisis are included in the text of the declaration.

According to Prime Minister Gonsalves, the document is comprehensive and includes special statements on the United States economic, financial and trade embargo against Cuba, the Israeli massacre in Gaza, instability in Haiti and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as well as reaffirmed its “strong support for the legitimate rights” of Buenos Aires to the Malvinas (Falkland Islands).

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel called for peace to be maintained in the region without outside interference. «The defense of peace also implies the strongest rejection of unilateral coercive measures and blockades imposed by powerful countries that seek to act as universal judges to isolate and subjugate sovereign nations. <…> To support peace is to defend the right of every people to freely choose its own political model and its own path to economic and social development», he said.

According to some experts, there is a «clear» lack of political will to promote Latin American integration, which is not in the priorities of certain regional leaders. Integration processes in Latin America «are in a period of many difficulties, if not stagnation», Professor Jose Briceño, an academic at the Latin American and Caribbean Research Center of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told Sputnik news agency. According to the professor, in contrast to what happened with the first wave of progressive governments, the region’s current mandates are more focused on internal political dynamics and countering the organized radical right, which is trying with all its might, with the financial and political support of the United States, to sabotage institutions and their national projects.

For these reasons, analysts believe, the 8th CELAC Summit was dominated by strong speeches and soft final declarations.

From now until 2025, the President of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, became the President of CELAC. She recalled that the proclamation at the II CELAC Summit in Havana of Latin America as a «zone of peace» will be 10 years old in 2024.

«Today we must reaffirm our commitment that no nation of Latin America and the Caribbean will ever use violence against a brother country, the problems and disagreements of the countries of this bloc must be resolved between us and ourselves, without interference or pressure from outside, with dialogue as an instrument and always with the intention of putting an end to violence, in the interest of regional well-being and self-determination of peoples», Xiomara Castro emphasized.

The icing on the cake was the «fraternization» of Presidents Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and Irfaan Ali of Guyana, who are engaged in a territorial dispute over the Essequibo region. On the first day of the summit, they shook hands, exchanged souvenirs — Guyanese rum and Venezuelan cigars — and said “peace and love” — to the applause of those present. I wish it could always be like that.